FalconStor Casts a Wider De-Duplication Net
March 24, 2009 Alex Woodie
FalconStor next week is expected to unveil a new data de-duplication product that will work with a greater number of applications than its first-generation de-duplication software. As opposed to its virtual tape library (VTL)-based de-duplication technology, which has been around for two years and only works with tape-based backup systems, the new File-interface De-duplication System (FDS) will work with any CIFS- or NFS-storage resource, such as disk-to-disk backup products, archiving systems, and even System i data.
As the volume of data generated by businesses continues to grow, companies are coming under increasing pressure to keep a handle on the sizes of their backups. While the cost of storage continues to decline, no CIO wants to write a blank check for terabyte upon terabyte of spinning storage. One of the key technologies assisting in this regard is data de-duplication, which can dramatically reduce the size of a backup, even if it doesn’t help the time it takes to perform a backup.
FalconStor has offered data de-duplication with its line of VTL devices, which are powered by its IPstor software, for the last two years. However, it came with some restrictions, mainly that it would only work with data arriving through the VTL interface, which is a server emulating a tape drive. Since tapes are driven by traditional backup software, customers were restricted in their use of FalconStor’s data de-duplication technology.
With next week’s launch of the new FDS option, customers will be able to de-duplicate any data arriving over network file share (NFS) or common Internet file system (CIFS) protocols, according to Fadi Albatal, director of marketing for FalconStor. This will have the effect of extending data de-duplication to more applications besides the tape backup applications systems.
New applications supported include disk-to-disk backup products such as NetBackup, BackupExec, or NetWorker; e-mail archiving products; and database “drop” tools used by administrators or developers to make copies of databases.
FalconStor’s goal with FDS is to create a universal data de-duplication repository that can touch nearly all of an organization’s applications and data, Albatal says. By exposing the storage reduction technology to more data, customers will reap huge gains in storage optimization, measured in the terabytes, which will save the typical customer thousands of dollars.
FDS de-duplicates data after it has been written to disk, as opposed to processing the data as it is being written. This post-processing method was chosen to eliminate the impact on the backup processes itself, Albatal says. “We didn’t want to slow down the backup speed by processing the data inline,” he says. “We’d rather receive all the data on the NAS resource that we have as soon as possible, and then we’ll de-duplicate it in the background.”
Beta tests have shown FalconStor’s FDS has the capability to reduce backup sizes by a factor of 70-to-1. But that is at the high end of the spectrum, involving very redundant data, such as a Microsoft Exchange environment. The average customer can expect to see a reduction factor closer to 20-to-1 or less, Albatal says.
“It [the reduction ratio] is very dependent on backup processes,” he says. “If you’re doing one full backup incrementally for life, just like TSM [Tivoli Storage Manager], for example, then you will not see a big data de-duplication ratio . . . But if you’re doing full backups on a daily basis, then you’ll have a very high data de-duplication ratio.”
FDS supports data from any server, as long as it can be exposed through NFS or CIFS. This means System i shops can use FDS to de-duplicate their i OS backups, as long as they have a way to expose their i OS data through CIFS. System i software vendors, such as LaserVault, which recently formed a data de-duplication pact with one of FalconStor’s competitors, will also be able to take advantage of FDS, and FalconStor will help them certify the integration.
FDS is available in several formats: a software appliance kit, a virtual storage appliance kit that runs in a HyperV or ESX Server partition, or a dedicated storage device. Pricing for the software appliance kit starts at $10,000, with an additional $3,000 per terabyte of managed capacity. The virtual appliance starts at $3,000, plus an additional $2,000 per managed capacity. The physical appliance starts at $25,000 for 2.5 terabytes of storage, and ranges up to $140,000 for 30 terabytes of storage.
FDS will be available as a separate interface to backup or archived data, and the VTL as a separate interface. Later this year, FalconStor plans to integrate the two technologies, which will enable customers to access the same data de-duplication repository from both FDS and VTL interfaces, Albatal says.
FDS is scheduled to become generally available next week. For more information, visit www.falconstor.com.
This article has been corrected. The new FalconStor product was incorrectly identified as the FalconStor De-De-Duplication System. Its correct name is the File-interface De-duplication System. Fadi Albatal’s name was also misspelled. IT Jungle regrets the errors.