A few days ago FalconStor announced a new solution based on two of its products: VTL (Virtual tape Library) and FDS (File-interface Deduplication System). It’s called Optimized Backup & Deduplication 8.0 (it’s clear that imagination doesn’t live here! 😉 ). The product itself is an evolution of something that was already available but there is something more that makes me think about and confirms a certain evolution in backup products.

Two words on FalconStor

falconstor_logoFalconStor, founded in 2000, has a long and troubled history but at the same time has good products and, lately, it has been showing increased sales figures which are promising a better future. This is a storage software company, even though sometimes they sell fully configured appliances, and the most important products are a in the storage virtualization and VTL fields.

What the solution does

Long story short, this new solution mixes VTL and FDS capabilities to bring a unified Backup and NAS solution.
I must admit that my first impression was not very positive, mixing backups and production data in the same repository didn’t sound too good, but then I started to think in a different way and the solution actually looks cooler than I thought so at the beginning.

In fact, when the backend becomes truly unified (leveraging the global deduplication mechanism that is in the works at the moment), we’re going to have a powerful solution that will be able to solve some data sprawl issues!

Here is why this solution is cool

The Data sprawl (or data proliferation?) phenomenon is a real problem in most organizations, especially in high end legacy traditional enterprise environments. It’s not unusual to clone the same data set many times for different purposes ranging from development/test environment up to business analytics. Sometimes there are 6/7 copies of the same data. These copies have to be maintained but only a few of them are really critical and are the real primary source! This has a cost.

iStock_000000261349SmallA backup solution (a VTL in this case) that takes advantage of deduplication mechanisms is good, but sharing the deduplicated backend to a NAS is much better. Space, and consequently cost, of additional copies of the data stored in that NAS side are slashed by a very high percentage.
Furthermore, restores and copies are much faster because the data is already in it!

Why it matters

1) Data sprawl is targeted by some successful startups now and I think this new solution, if developed in the right way, can easily join the party. FalconStor customers will be able to upgrade their old VTL software and take advantage of this additional functionality at a very reasonable cost while new potential customers could evaluate this unique features (ad the moment) very positively under a TCO perspective.

2) Backup is evolving, and smartest vendors are figuring out new ways to add more value to backed up data. Examples like Commvault or Catalogic (the former backup division of Syncsort) are only the first two that comes to my mind but the list is getting longer day after day…