FalconStor Touts Big VTL Win at Insurance Company
September 29, 2009 Alex Woodie
FalconStor Software has sold a virtual tape library (VTL) system to a large insurance company that will back up data from a variety of environments, including System i, System z, Unix, and Windows, using the backup FalconStor product, the vendor announced last week. The deal will cut backup times by 30 to 50 percent, while saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in storage costs, the vendor says.
FalconStor did not disclose the name of the company deploying its VTL technology, except to describe it as a large international provider of life insurance. Needless to say, the environment was sufficiently complex to challenge practically any server backup consolidation project. FalconStor says its success bolsters its position as the top VTL provider.
The implementation involved multiple, redundant FalconStor VTL appliances and several mirrored disk arrays across the insurance company’s three data centers: one pair each for the System i and mainframe servers, and two pairs for the “open system” stuff running on Windows and Unix servers.
The mainframe installation used twin FalconStor VTL gateway appliances (in a so-called high-availability configuration) connected to a Sun STK 6140 disk array, with a connectivity device from Bus-Tech in between to provide ESCON channel connectivity.
FalconStor says the System i environment was similar, with two FalconStor VTL HA appliances connected to the System i machines via Fibre Channel, and the VTL appliances then feeding data to a SATA disk array that was undoubtedly encrypted and replicated.
The company deployed two HA pairs of VTL appliances to protect the open systems stuff, including Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server databases and Lotus Notes applications running on Unix and Windows Server operating systems. The VTLs worked in tandem with the company’s Veritas NetBackup software.
The return on investment was very good, according to FalconStor. Because backups are no longer dependent on the number of tape drives, the backups for the mainframe environments (meaning z/OS and i OS because, you know, the AS/400 is the “mainframe for the masses”) were reduced by 30 to 40 percent, while the open systems backups dropped by a full 50 percent. What’s more, by consolidating its backup architecture, the company was able to cut complexity and risk from its equation, thereby boosting the overall reliability of its backups, which translates to less human oversight.
FalconStor says the company achieved ROI results that were in-line with a recent ROI study the vendor performed, which found that tape drive costs dropped by $162,000 per year, total storage hardware costs dropped $81,000 per year, increased staff productivity by one full-time employee, reduced average critical systems failures from 17 per year down to one, and achieved a 450 percent ROI, with a payback in less than six months.