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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.

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.

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.
*True CDP is achieved when the solution captures all data as it is written to provide recovery to any point in time.
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.

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.

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.

I was at the annual VMware Partner Exchange event last week in Orlando.  FalconStor is a technology partner for VMware as well as Microsoft (Hyper-V) and Xen hypervisors.  The opening keynote was given by VMware CEO Paul Maritz.  One of the key points that I remember was his goal of driving global virtual server deployments “north of 50 percent.”  Of course, the preference is for those virtual servers to be of the VMware vSphere brand.  What does that mean if you have a mixed physical and virtual server environment, or if you have non-vSphere hypervisors?


Published in Disaster Recovery
Thursday, 13 January 2011 14:07

Replication is NOT Disaster Recovery

Most storage vendors offer some type of volume copy functionality, either in-system or remote replication.  These copy functions are commonly promoted as business continuity (in-system copy) or disaster recovery ( remote replication).  Replication, or transporting data from one location to another, is analogous to household moving companies.  They transport your entire household, in many boxes, to your new house.  However, once all your household belongings are safely at your new home, you still have the complex and laborious task of unpacking and arranging things to make your new home functional.  Isn’t this effectively what remote data replication does?  Sure, all your data is safely at your remote data center, but now what?  Where's the 'Recovery' aspect of this paradigm?

Published in Disaster Recovery

Thin Provisioning is a fairly well known concept in the storage marketplace; provisioning a logical volume larger than the physical capacity actually accessible by the application or server (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin_provisioning ).  Most storage array vendors offer thin provisioning on some or all their systems.  Many charge a premium for this feature as the gains in efficiency, CapEx and TCO are obvious.

However, for data protection purposes (mirrors, snapshots, and remote replica volumes) few give this technology consideration.  If your primary storage array does not have thin provisioning (or you did not pay for the feature), any underutilized capacity will be duplicated onto your data protection volumes.  This “duplication of waste” results in higher costs from a CapEx and OpEx perspective, resulting in questionable TCO of any data protection solution.


Published in Disaster Recovery
Thursday, 30 December 2010 17:40

Backup is Broken - a cost perspective

I’m often amazed by the things I learn talking to customers.  This technology space eventually comes down to money   –  making it, saving it or wasting it.  One example of this last aspect, wasting it, is something I learned about from talking to a customer recently.

Published in Disaster Recovery
Tuesday, 21 December 2010 18:39

Remote Replication in Harsh Environments

FalconStor has been developing data protection solutions for many years.  We’ve also had remote replication capabilities for many years.  Some of you may be aware of the unique nature of FalconStor remote replication.  However, for anyone who is not I’d like to put some perspective into how, and why, FalconStor remote replication is the best in the industry. 

Published in Disaster Recovery
Friday, 17 December 2010 16:20

Expensive Options for Data Protection

I saw this television commercial recently, by CarMax, called ‘Doors’; http://www.carmax.com/enus/why-carmax-commercials/default.html
So what’s the relation to data protection?  Most storage hardware, and even backup software, vendors offer many different functions, or types, of data protection; disk mirror volumes, point-in-time snapshots, remote replication, application-specific protection and management tools.  Each of these functions is considered a ‘product’ and sold accordingly. 

Published in Disaster Recovery

With 2011 around the corner and new budgets being built, IT is looking at how to effectively deal with the rising amount of data that needs to be effectively stored and in the event of a disaster, available for quickly recovery. In my earlier blog (http://tinyurl.com/2atf4h6), I examined the pressures faced by IT and provided two reasons why disk-based data protection is becoming immensely popular in the data center specifically around how it eliminates the backup window and how companies may still create tape backups using continuous data protection (CDP).

Published in Disaster Recovery

If you’re in charge of back-up and recovery at your organization, you likely have a lot on your mind these days.  Budget freezes.  New eDiscovery requirements.  Unabated year-over-year storage requirement growth.  And internal expectation for immediate return on investment.

Published in Disaster Recovery
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