FalconStor Moves To Software-Only Model, Will Drop Hardware

Software storage

FalconStor on Monday unveiled its EZStart program under which it is releasing to solution providers and systems integrators the software that is normally pre-loaded on its hardware-based appliances.

Those appliances include FalconStor's Network Storage Server, its continuous data protection appliance, and its virtual tape library.

Those appliances currently come pre-configured with FalconStor's software loaded on an industry-standard server.

FalconStor also offers virtual storage appliances that are configured on virtual servers produced using technologies such as VMware's ESX.

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Under EZStart, the vendor will sell the software to channel partners who will then do the integration, said Wendy Petty, vice president of North American sales.

"This lets us easily facilitate sales through the channel by letting our partners leverage industry-standard platforms," Petty said.

The software will initially be available for configuration on Hewlett-Packard servers, Petty said. "This lets our partners create incremental revenue on top of HP servers, our software, and the services so that the blended margins become more exciting for them," she said.

The software will be shipped on a USB key, Petty said. When the key is inserted in a server before it is booted up, the software automatically loads and gives the channel partner a simple menu which asks a few simple questions and then automatically configures the server as the appropriate appliance, she said.

The solution is totally open, and not limited to HP servers, Petty said. "From a channel perspective, the solution is based on the needs of customers," she said.

By turning its storage solutions into open software, FalconStor is doing the channel and end users a big service, said Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Chi Corp., a Cleveland, Ohio-based solution provider and FalconStor partner.

"We can leverage the relationship our customers already have with their preferred server vendors, whether it's Dell, HP, or IBM," Knieriemen said. "Oftentimes, customers pick a vendor for the support levels they get. They don't want to deal with 10 different hardware vendors to support their environment."

By letting customers use the software with their existing server platforms, they also get a cost advantage, Knieriemen said. "They can maintain the hardware platform they have invested in," he said. "That's a very significant factor in a customer's decision-making process."

Along with its new software focus, FalconStor, which previously sold direct to solution providers, has also signed up its first distributor, Petty said.

Synnex will support sales of FalconStor's new software USB keys, as well as that vendor's integrated appliances while they are still available, said Frank Raimondi, the distributor's associate vice president for channel marketing.

Synnex will also help FalconStor reach out to a larger base of solution providers, Petty said.

The new EZStart solution, when combined with a standard server, will carry about the same street price and channel partner margin as FalconStor's integrated appliance, Petty said.