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Continuous Data Protection (CDP) (11)

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As a leading player in the data protection industry, we’ve drawn our share of competitive fire in the form of misinformation designed to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about FalconStor’s technology. In this continuation to the first blog on this topic, I address two more questionable claims our competitors have circulated regarding the FalconStor Continuous Data Protector (CDP) solution.

Competitive claim #3:
FalconStor CDP creates complex disk management issues. For every server protected, an individual journal and snapshot space must be created and sized appropriately. Also, as FalconStor CDP captures every data change, the journal space is particularly subject to growth issues from sudden spikes in application utilization.

Reality:
Once installed, FalconStor CDP automates everything based on the set policies to meet your business requirements. Journal and snapshot space sizing and expansion occur via your original policy. FalconStor CDP also virtualizes any vendor disk into a pool to be shared and automatically expanded. EMC RecoverPoint cannot do this, and NetApp does not offer a true CDP* solution.

Competitive claim #4:
FalconStor CDP creates disk I/O issues as the journal area must be periodically “flushed,” where data is written from the defined journal space down to the snapshot image, impacting system performance. This problem can be negated with NetApp’s Data ONTAP file system as it never moves data blocks.

Reality:
FalconStor CDP version 7 includes technology called SafeCache and HotZone to provide extreme performance even when journaling every I/O operation. The FalconStor CDP journal functions like a FIFO (first in first out) buffer. We provide policy-based administration to automate the flushing process to occur only during low I/O activity periods, thus alleviating any problems. The FalconStor CDP journal will be auto expandable in the next version. We believe the ability to provide zero data loss through continuous protection of every write, even when your application is writing thousands of I/O writes per second (IOPS), is more important than any perceived journal management issues. Consider a banking or stock trading application where billions of dollars can be moved within any single transaction. Snapshots don’t help you when the transaction you need to restore occurred 45 milliseconds ago; what you need is a solution that can recover at the sub second level without losing any data. FalconStor’s solution can. Stay tuned for more blogs in this series, as we continue our efforts to clear up misrepresentations about our suite of data protection solutions.
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*True CDP is achieved when the solution captures all data as it is written to provide recovery to any point in time.
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As a leading player in the data protection industry, we’ve drawn our share of competitive fire in the form of misinformation designed to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about FalconStor’s technology. This is the first of two blogs providing full disclosure on the more outrageous misleading statements regarding the FalconStor Continuous Data Protector (CDP) solution.

Competitive claim #1:
FalconStor CDP provides inconsistent data, which can be a problem when recovering a CDP-based database image, as there is no ability to freeze data and capture a consistent image of an application. The benefit of continuous data protection (CDP) to capture every write is not needed unless the user is a financial institution. Realistically, most users use “near CDP” mode to capture data at regular intervals.

Reality:
FalconStor CDP moves backup from the traditional bulk data movement to a service-oriented data protection model with recovery point objectives (RPO) of zero data loss. This is not true of all so-called CDP products, which fall into two camps:
  • Near CDP (EMC RecoverPoint, etc.): The solution captures data in near real-time and provides multiple recovery points in time.
  • True CDP (FalconStor CDP): The solution captures ALL data as it is written to provide recovery to ANY point in time.
With near CDP solutions, you have longer recovery time objectives (RTO), the potential for lost data between snapshots, and minimal coordination with the application. FalconStor CDP is a true CDP solution, where recovery of every write to disk is journaled, just like atomic database transactions, and instantly recoverable to any point in time. FalconStor CDP provides the most granular recovery of any product available, down to sub-second individual I/O operations to disk, thus providing a recovery point to the exact millisecond before any errors or data corruption.

This level of recovery granularity at the disk level typically negates the need for database agents on the server. The great part is that FalconStor CDP also provides thousands of snapshots in conjunction with true continuous journaling for consistent local and disaster recovery. We also provide intelligent agents when required by the database vendor to create true application-level integrated recovery points, including check-pointing, hot backup mode integration with Oracle, SQL integration, Oracle RMAN integration, and more.

Competitive claim #2:
FalconStor CDP consumes too many storage resources, as data quickly accumulates and each snapshot has to be stored prior to the deduplication process.

Reality:
FalconStor CDP recovery is a natural and more efficient process for database administrators, and it allows for transaction logs to be expanded to any size. FalconStor CDP captures all the data needed to recover a database consistently from any point in time with zero data loss. You can tune it based on your business needs. FalconStor’s MicroScan technology also enables consistent recovery with write-order fidelity for replicated data across locations, while reducing WAN bandwidth requirements by up to 90 percent or more, without the need to dedupe the data. All replicated data stays in its natural state for instant recoverability. MicroScan technology also provides intelligent recovery across slow links, where very large databases can be recovered in seconds by shipping only the required disk sectors needed to make the database whole again. MicroScan technology is patented by FalconStor, so it is not available from any other vendor.

Here at FalconStor, we are tirelessly working on a new generation of data protection solutions. In the meantime, we’ll be clearing up the FUD around our suite of data protection solutions in a series of blogs. In part two of this blog, I will address two more competitive claims about FalconStor CDP that are dead wrong. Stay tuned.
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Technology in action: How a college uses FalconStor CDP to back up and continuously protect over 2TB of student data

Here is a great real-life example of how FalconStor CDP is being used to protect and back up growing volumes of data coming from student information systems, email, and other applications running on Microsoft Windows, Solaris, and Linux platforms.

Central Carolina Community College is a growing US college with more than 12,000 students and a data management load that is expected to double in the near future. The college’s IT team of 10 manages operations across three campuses and needs to provide uninterrupted application services for students and faculty. To manage the data center’s disaster recovery processes and ensure consistent data availability, the IT team protects its Datatel Colleague system and Novell GroupWise servers with three FalconStor CDP appliances. According to the school’s IT Director Tommy Holder, the solution “does what it is supposed to do with very little management or maintenance on our part. It just runs.”

Thanks to an open, scalable architecture, FalconStor CDP easily integrates with the college’s existing IT infrastructure and provides a solid foundation for data growth.

You can read the full case study here: Central Carolina Community College 

 

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As regular readers of our blog can attest, we are serious about data protection.  This seriousness stems from an understanding that when clients seek data protection and data recovery solutions, it is not just data they are looking to protect.  They are making a move to protect their reputations, too.  Access to data is mission critical to any business, and any error of judgment in this area can result in the company, clients and investors losing money.  Therefore, all steps necessary to avoid these mishaps must be taken as a means of reputation control.
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As regular readers of our blog can attest, we are serious about data protection.  This seriousness stems from an understanding that when clients seek data protection and data recovery solutions, it is not just data they are looking to protect.  They are making a move to protect their reputations, too.  Access to data is mission critical to any business, and any error of judgment in this area can result in the company, clients and investors losing money.  Therefore, all steps necessary to avoid these mishaps must be taken as a means of reputation control.

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