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FalconStor Blog

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In the software industry, training and education are not options – they are vital necessities. Not only do we need to keep our employees on or at the cutting edge of technology, we need to make sure our partners and customers obtain the knowledge they need to successfully implement and operate our solutions.

FalconStor views its education program as an investment in its people. Giving employees and partners the tools and skills for success leads to successful deployments and operations, expert service, superior tech support and, ultimately, happy customers. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

I spoke with Jay Goldstein, the Director of Education, Training and Knowledge Management at FalconStor, to get the inside scoop on FalconStor’s learning portal, FalconStor University.

Katie - Why do you feel that education is so important?

Jay - Providing our audience with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully perform their respective roles is our primary goal at FalconStor University. Our partners need to be able to consistently and accurately sell, manage and implement our solutions and our customers need to be able to manage and use our solutions to resolve their backup and recovery challenges. Our employees need more than just product knowledge; they need both formal and informal education and training programs to improve their skills and knowledge to be successful.

Katie - What kind of education does FalconStor offer?

Jay - FalconStor University provides everything from self-paced online courses to hands-on, instructor-led classroom courses in the areas of sales and technical training for our product suite. We also provide a variety of informal webcasts and product videos to address “just-in-time” knowledge transfer to our partners. For our employees, we offer the FalconStor Education Center which provides employees across the globe with 24/7 access to over 2,400 online courses in business and IT skills and desktop application courseware to supplement their job skills and advance their professional development.

Katie - Can you tell me more about the processes and work that goes into creating these training and educational materials?

Jay - Our global training objective is to provide effective, engaging, interactive content based on the needs of each targeted audience. Over the past nine months, we have overhauled our global registration process and revised our instructor, evaluation, project scoping, project management and quality assurance procedures. A new curriculum development process was put in place last year to help us develop and deliver a higher quality of instruction. We are in the process of restructuring our current e-learning and classroom offerings into “blended-learning” solutions to best meet the needs of our audience. This combination of pre-requisite, self-paced e-learning followed by instructor-led workshops to apply and expand on the concepts introduced in the e-learning portion of the course will ensure the best learning experience for our partners, customers and employees.

In 2012, we rebuilt our training lab infrastructure for improved course delivery. These upgrades will enable us to employ virtual, instructor-led training in the near future to further leverage our resources and equipment globally.

To improve partner enablement, we recently launched our PartnerChoice Certification Program to provide role-based sales and technical certifications to our partner community. Certification levels are designed to increase their capabilities to sell, implement and support FalconStor solutions around the globe. We introduced this program in 2012 and will be adding new training certification programs throughout this year and beyond.

Katie - It sounds like you and your team have been very busy! What’s the feedback from those who use your training materials?

Jay - We perform regular surveys of our offerings and have found that, in almost all cases, learner knowledge is significantly increased after participation in our online and instructor-led offerings. We are constantly striving to improve our processes and the quality of our courseware.

Thank you, Jay, for the informative and thorough answers to my questions!

I can say from experience that the learning courses I’ve taken here at FalconStor have been excellent, and they just keep getting better. I joined FalconStor in 2010 as a recent college graduate with a marketing degree and zero knowledge of data protection or disaster recovery (“What does a server do? What’s remote replication? Is ‘deduplication’ even a real word!?”). Over the years, I’ve taken my share of FalconStor product training courses, and I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time. Furthermore, I’ve been able to apply that knowledge in every area of my online marketing role here at FalconStor. I would recommend our learning materials to everyone.

If you’re a customer or partner who’s ready to dive into FalconStor’s fountain of knowledge, you can visit the Customer Portal or PartnerPlace Portal to get started.
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Long Island Business News recognizes outstanding members of the Long Island business community who are under the age of 40 in its annual “Top 40 Under 40” Awards. The program celebrates local business leaders who have demonstrated career success, mentored and promoted their profession, and given back to their communities. It is truly my pleasure to announce that our very own CFO, Louis Petrucelly, has been selected for this honor in the award’s 15th anniversary year.

When I heard Lou was being recognized in LIBN’s “Top 40 Under 40” Awards, my first thought was that it couldn’t be going to a more deserving person. Lou is incredibly hardworking and completely dedicated to FalconStor’s success. When I think back to a sales management course that I took in college, there is one lesson I’ll never forget. My professor said if you want to be a good leader, you have to gain the respect of those you work with, and in order to earn that respect in business, you should never ask colleagues or staff to do something that you wouldn’t be ready and willing to do yourself. My professor was an ex-Marine so in keeping with that theme, Lou is the kind of guy you would follow into the trenches. He spurs his team on because they know he’s putting in the long hours and taking on the arduous work alongside them.

Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that Lou is all work and no play. Anyone who knows Lou would agree he’s the first person to crack a joke or offer a funny comment. I can recall many instances where he had meeting rooms full of people rolling with laughter while he recanted a hilarious personal story. It’s Lou’s ability to balance his work ethic and commitment with his hearty sense of humor that makes it such an enjoyable experience to work with him.

Big congratulations to Lou on his “Top 40 Under 40” recognition! We are all very proud and excited for him here at FalconStor.
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“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” - Winston Churchill
FalconStor has long participated in running an annual food drive during the holiday season and this year is no exception. We’ve teamed up yet again with Island Harvest, the largest hunger relief organization on Long Island, to collect non-perishable food products and personal care items for local families in need. This year, our collection efforts hold even more significance as we donate not only for the holiday season, but for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

It’s a difficult time of year for those who were severely affected by the hurricane. I can’t even imagine what it would be like having all of my personal possessions destroyed in an instant. Many families have to start all over again after losing their homes, cars, clothing, and other items in the wake of the storm. It’s all the more devastating that victims have to endure this during the holidays, a time that should be reserved for joy and celebration.

Despite the hardships brought on by Sandy, the holiday season brings profound feelings of hope and perseverance. Our community is working hard to rebuild itself and to get back to its usual, everyday happenings. At FalconStor, we’re big believers in giving back to the community that we live and work in. We’re honored to partner with Island Harvest on this food drive and eager to lend our neighbors a hand, helping to bring a little normalcy back into their lives.

What’s really awesome about working with Island Harvest is that the organization takes an incredibly hands-on approach to assisting those in need. After the hurricane, its volunteers jumped into emergency response mode, working around the clock to help Long Island victims. They distributed tens of thousands of meals, water, and nonperishable food items to the hardest hit regions, utilizing distribution sites, shelters, and their own mobile food pantries. In the days following the storm, volunteers even hit the streets, going door to door to deliver essential food and supplies to the needy.

We hope that our contributions will assist our neighbors in need and aid Island Harvest in its quest to end hunger in our community during this exceptionally trying time. I’d like to give big thanks to all of the FalconStor employees who have already participated in the drive. Your donations are much appreciated and go directly to our neighbors in need. And I’d like to mention that employees can continue to give now and throughout the holiday season.

For more information on Island Harvest and how you can help, please visit their website or call (516) 294-8528 or (631) 873-4775.
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I’m proud to announce that the FalconStor® Network Storage Server (NSS) storage virtualization solution, was recently recognized as a silver medal winner in Penton Media’s Windows IT Pro “2012 Editors’ Best Awards” in the Best Hardware: Appliance category. Leveraging the industry expertise of its editors and authors, Windows IT Pro chose to honor FalconStor NSS and other great products that exist in the market today, proudly sharing this information with their Windows IT Pro and SQL Server Pro communities.

Ralph Wynn, FalconStor’s Sr. Product Marketing Manager, had this to say about the win:
IT outages and downtime are unacceptable. Companies need reliable data protection and disaster recovery systems in place that will ensure operations continue normally even in the event of a hardware failure or natural disaster. The FalconStor NSS VS Series Appliance with RecoverTrac technology makes downtime a thing of the past, and the 2012 Editors’ Best Award demonstrates its strategic importance.

FalconStor NSS is a scalable, highly available solution that enables storage virtualization, data migration, and data protection in heterogeneous environments. The solution’s ability to provide rapid automated disaster recovery allows you to restore Any Service, Any Time, Any Place – addressing your most demanding disaster recovery and business continuity needs. It’s no wonder FalconStor NSS is an award-winning product!

For more information on how FalconStor NSS provides complete data protection against disasters, check out one of our recent case studies. This 2-page success story details how one customer uses FalconStor NSS to cost-effectively reduce downtime and recovery time objectives.

Now That’s the Spirit! Featured

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Halloween has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember. As a girl who loved playing dress up and all things scary, Halloween was the best day of the year. Not only was I allowed to wear crazy costumes and run around my neighborhood with friends, I was rewarded with free candy!

My love for this day has stayed with me and that is why I’m always psyched for the annual FalconStor Halloween Bash. Employees are invited to bring their little ones to go trick-or-treating throughout the office and then everyone gathers for festive food, beverages, and games. I was looking forward to another great party when Hurricane Sandy hit the week of the scheduled event.

The Halloween party was instantly moved to the back burner as we surveyed the damage to our area in the days following the storm. Luckily, our headquarters in Melville made it through the hurricane untouched and we were even able to offer assistance to the community, as we never lost power. While some employees had property damages resulting from Sandy, we were thankful to find that everyone and their families were safe and unharmed.

Once things started returning to normal, it was important to us to have our Halloween party. Sandy may have taken our electricity, our heat, and our gasoline, but she was not going to take away our celebration. And what a celebration it was!

Children came dressed as princesses, skeletons, racecar drivers, and more. After the kids had their fill of gathering treats, everyone met in the break room to continue the festivities. Rachel, our event planner, decked the room out in full Halloween décor with jack-o-lanterns, tombstones, and spider webs, oh my! She also brought in frighteningly delicious food, including spider cupcakes, graveyard brownies, and rice crispy treats shaped as pumpkins. The kids loved them, often going up for seconds and thirds if their parents let them. Last but not least, a scary Halloween playlist added some mood music for the intense foosball game the little ones were playing.

To see all of the Halloween fun, check out FalconStor’s Flickr page filled with spooky pics.

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