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Chris Poelker

Chris Poelker

Chris Poelker is Falconstor's Vice President of Enterprise Solutions and author of Storage Area Networks for Dummies.

Website URL: http://www.falconstor.com

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.
 
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.
 

The CLOUD2 commision just announced the results of a few months of work performed by 71 individuals from academia, industry and government. This report and buyer’s guide, along with the first cloud directive from federal CIO Vivek Kundra, is already beginning to have an impact on the way government spends IT dollars. As seen in this article by Colleen Miller, Survey: Feds Making Progress on ‘Cloud First’, a survey done at the FOSE government technology conference, roughly 75 percent of respondents are already using the cloud in some fashion.

 

If you picked up this month’s issue of Storage magazine, you likely noticed the article by Jacob Gsoedl titled, “Blueprint for cloud-based disaster recovery” (page 21). You also might have noticed my quote in the piece, which detailed different options for disaster recovery (DR) in the cloud (page 27).

Gsoedl notes that there are lots of different ways to do DR in the cloud. He ably discusses the pros and cons of managed applications and managed DR, back up to and restore from the cloud, replication to virtual machines in the cloud and back up to and restore to the cloud.

For that final option, I told Gsoedl that, “several cloud service providers use our products for secure deduped replication and to bring servers up virtually in the cloud.” I’d love to expand on that statement, if I may.

As the article explains, these recommendations all offer attractive elements for companies, depending on their needs, resources and recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) requirements. What it didn’t get to, however, is that the huge opportunity in cloud-based DR, regardless of the specific method employed, is to change the back up paradigm itself.

The cloud expands the opportunity to stop talking about just protecting specific files or data blocks and start talking about service-oriented data protection (SODP). This is what matters to enterprises, of course. Beyond protecting bits and bytes, the cloud needs to help organizations deliver better service to users.

That’s what FalconStor data protection is about. Our tools deliver cloud-based backup and DR designed with SODP in mind, and any blueprint for cloud-based disaster recovery must have service embedded in its foundation.

 

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