FalconStor Offers Software Version Of IPStor

Along with changes to the software, FalconStor is also helping two relatively new hardware vendors build their market, including the first storage hardware appliance to enter the U.S. market from 3Com, of Marlborough, Mass.

The Melville, N.Y.-based software vendor also made its continuous data protection software into a stand-alone appliance for small and midsize businesses and remote offices, and made it available for bundling with servers that come with the embedded version of the ESX server virtualization software from VMware, Palo Alto, Calif.

IPStor is a software suite of storage services, including virtual tape library capability for backup and recovery, continuous data protection for business continuity and disaster recovery, and FalconStor NSS (network storage server) for storage virtualization, provisioning, and management.

Virtual tape libraries, or VTLs, are disk arrays configured to look to the host server and the backup software as if they are physical tape libraries. Data is streamed to and recovered from the VTL as if it were tape, so no changes are needed to the backup process. However, because they use hard drives, the backup and recover speed is much higher than when using tape drives. Data backed up to a VTL can also be backed up to a physical tape for archiving or off-site storage.

Sponsored post

With continuous data protection, or CDP, changes to data are backed up immediately or at certain pre-defined intervals to allow users to be able to instantly recover a deleted, corrupted, or modified file. While many applications allow data changes to be captured on-the-fly, others back up the changes at set intervals.

Diamond Lauffin, an outside consultant who also serves as product strategist for FalconStor, said IPStor, which previously either was sold as a hardware appliance to the channel or as a software-only product to OEMs, is now available as a software-only product to solution providers.

The key to making it available to solution providers to integrate in their customers' own hardware device is its ease of use and its scalability, Lauffin said.

"FalconStor spent a lot on its intuitive GUI and installation," he said. "Customers can download it off the Website, it's that easy to install. It may take only 10 to 20 minutes to install for someone who doesn't know much about CDP, for instance."

The software-only version of IPStor 6 provides the same functionality as the full hardware appliance version, with the only differences being related to capacity, Lauffin said. For instance, while the full version supports CDP for hundreds of virtual machines, the software-only version supports a maximum of 16 virtual machines, he said.

The ability to sell the FalconStor software without the hardware is a welcome change, said Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Chi Corp., a Cleveland, Ohio-based solution provider.

"We've been kinda doing it with very specific, select accounts already," Knieriemen said. "We get a lot of customers who are Hewlett-Packard shops or Dell shops who want to maintain their hardware brand. This opens the FalconStor market up to them."

Knieriemen said that other vendors could learn from FalconStor in terms of opening their software. "With it, customers aren't locked into any specific vendor for their storage hardware," he said. "When you buy [Dell] EqualLogic, or Data Domain or Compellent [Technologies], you are committing to their hardware. FalconStor gives you a lot of options."

Also new is a CDP appliance with virtual server capabilities for small and midsize businesses and remote offices, said Peter Eicher, product marketing manager for FalconStor.

The new All-in-One appliance is aimed at the typical small office environments which might have four to five servers, Eicher said. It also supports remote bootable mirrors of data sets, and has a built-in virtual server capability.

That virtual server capability is used to provide a quick replacement of a downed server, Eicher said. "If a server goes down, the appliance brings up a virtual server and maps it to the downed server image," he said. "Within five minutes, the virtual server is in production. When the downed server comes back on-line, the server image is switched to the physical server. So there's no need for a stand-by server. This gives customers time to do the needed repairs."

FalconStor is also now partnering with new hardware vendors.

One of them is H3C, the China-based storage manufacturing arm of 3Com. While H3C has a huge share of China's storage market, this is the first time the company has brought storage hardware to the U.S. market, Lauffin said.

FalconStor is OEMing the H3C appliance for its IPStor 6, Lauffin said. The appliance includes a true active-active controller and fault-tolerant coherent cache, along with performance of up to 1,440 Mbytes per second, he said.

FalconStor is also partnering with Violin Memory, an Iselin, N.J.-based developer of high-density memory appliances.

Violin's memory appliances fit from 120 Gbytes to 500 Gbytes of standard memory into a 2U rack mount form factor which can be used as a caching device or as primary storage. The appliance scales to up to 8 Tbytes of memory in a standard rack. Pricing starts at $45,000 for a 120-Gbyte model, said Morgan Littlewood, vice president of marketing and business development for Violin.

For servers which are now starting to come to market with the embedded VMware ESX 3i server virtualization software, FalconStor's CDP and VTL applications are also now available to add to the bundle. The integration can be done by partners such as Ingram Micro, Santa Ana, Calif., or CDW, Vernon Hills, Ill., or by the solution provider, Lauffin said.

Chi has found FalconStor's CDP software to work really well, but as a software tool it can be seen as a commodity product in some cases, Knieriemen said. "But now we can also use it to create our own bundles to add value to customers," he said. "This is certainly a value-add."

Finally, FalconStor is adding thin provisioning to its IPStor software, Eicher said. Thin provisioning allows the virtual data volume to be larger than physical resources for capacity flexibility, he said.