FalconStor Offers OS/400 Option with Virtual Tape Library
August 24, 2004 Alex Woodie
FalconStor has added OS/400 support to its disk-based virtual tape library appliance. The Melville, New York, company now offers OS/400 support as an option with the enterprise edition of its IPStor VirtualTape Library, a disk-to-disk backup appliance that emulates many of today’s popular tape drive formats and can help reduce cost and complexity in data centers through tape library consolidation.
In the same way that server virtualization technology, such as OS/400’s advanced logical partitioning (LPAR) technology, is fueling the consolidation of many smaller Linux and OS/400 servers onto a smaller number of larger servers, virtual tape libraries are helping companies to consolidate their disparate tape drives and libraries. A virtual tape library offers several advantages over standard tape-based backup, including much faster backup and restores times, and the fact that it can appear as any number of actual tape drive formats, by emulating them in software.
FalconStor’s flagship product is a Linux- or Solaris-based storage management software suite called IPStor, which helps users implement storage area networks (SANs) using either Fibre Channel or IP and SCSI protocols. The company uses a version of IPStor in its VirtualTape Library, a rack-mountable storage appliance that features one or two Intel processors. FalconStor offers two VirtualTape Library editions: standard and enterprise. Only the enterprise edition supports software add-ons, such as support for OS/400. So to connect a FalconStor VirtualTape Library to an iSeries, you must purchase the enterprise edition.
The standard edition of FalconStor’s IPStor VirtualTape Library can connect to eight hosts, via up to two SCSI, iSCSI, or Fibre Channel ports. The device can support up to 32 concurrent backup or restore sessions, with up to 128 virtual tape drives or 16 virtual tape libraries. The device, which comes in either SCSI or Fibre Channel versions, scales from 128 virtual tape cartridges up to 2,048 virtual tape cartridges. Pricing starts at $15,000.
The enterprise edition of the IPStor VirtualTape Library supports both Fibre Channel and SCSI protocols at the same time. This edition also uses one or two Intel processors and can connect to eight hosts, through up to four SCSI, iSCSI, and Fibre Channel ports (an additional four target ports, and more, can be added if Fibre Channel is used). The enterprise edition supports up to 64 simultaneous backup or restore sessions, with up to 512 virtual tape drives and 4,096 virtual tape cartridges, spread across 64 virtual tape libraries. Pricing starts at $50,000.
For OS/400 connectivity, FalconStor emulates IBM‘s 3590 Magstar tape drives, a company spokesperson said. OS/400 support is available as a software option on the VirtualTape Library enterprise edition.
Software options start at $5,000. In addition to the IBM iSeries Support Option, there is the Active/Active Failover Option, which enables two VirtualTape Library Appliances to be clustered, with transparent failover and fail-back capabilities. There is the IBM 3494 Library Support Option, which allows the VirtualTape Library to move data stored on disk as virtual tape to IBM’s actual tape library. There is also the IP-Based Replication Option, the Hosted Backup Enabler Option (which allows certified backup applications to be installed directly onto the VirtualTape Library Appliance, eliminating the need for a dedicated backup server), and the NDMP Backup Support Option (which allows certified backup applications and industry standard NAS appliances to perform backup and restore, using the VTL NDMP protocol over an IP network).
FalconStor can emulate many industry-standard tape drives, tape libraries, and disk arrays, including LTO, DLT, AIT, and Magstar tape drives from multiple manufacturers; tape libraries from ADIC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Overland, Quantum, Sony, and StorageTek; and disk arrays from EMC, Hitachi, IBM, HP, NetApp, and StorageTek. FalconStor’s VirtualTape Library still requires backup software to control the backup. Most of the major open-systems products, such as those from Computer Associates, Legato, Tivoli, and Veritas, have been certified on the VirtualTape Library.
FalconStor’s is the second virtual tape library to gain OS/400 support recently. In late July, Fujitsu Siemens Computers announced that its CentricStor virtual tape library, which starts at $200,000, supports the iSeries server (see “Fujitsu Siemens Adds OS/400 Support to Virtual Tape Library”).