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The second winner of the Parrot AR.Drone Giveaway is Stephen Hadinger from France.

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The first winner of the Parrot AR.Drone Giveaway is Kim Johansson from Sweden.

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It was on the last day of VMworld 2010 in San Francisco where it happened.  I was sitting at a Lab Station at the Moscone West building, learning a few things myself on vCloud Director.  Suddenly, one of the VMware Lab Staff member announced: "We have just reached a new milestone just moments ago, we have served our 145th THOUSAND (145K) virtual machine being deployed and destroyed)!  We all clapped our hands, we all enjoyed this moment of glory for the world of virtualization!

There were several labs available, and each lab required an average of 9 VM's to be deployed.  All in all, 15,300 complete labs were served out to attendees of the event, during those 4 days, at a rate of 4000 VM's per hour (created then destroyed).  The vCloud Director was a very popular lab, being a new product focused on the ever popular "Cloud Computing," as well as the VMware View lab for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

Site Recovery Manager was also more popular than ever.  Did you know that for every SRM lab served out, 2 Virtual Storage Appliances (VSA) were deployed, one at the "Protected Site", and one at the "Recovery Site?"  We are talking about thousands of FalconStor NSS-VA's, the VSA technology adopted by VMware as the storage and replication technology of choice to power the SRM lab!  Yes, which means, if you took the SRM Lab, you actually used and managed FalconStor Storage, with FalconStor's Storage Replication Adapter for SRM.  So did thousands of other attendees.

The beauty about virtualization is that it enables things to be completely transparent, elastic, and automated -- the platform enablement for the cloud.  FalconStor has been at the forefront of storage virtualization innovations, ever since its creation a decade ago.  Our Continous Data Protector (CDP) for SRM solution, is available as both a Virtual Appliance (NSS-VA), and in the form of a highly available physical system (CDP Gateway).  It was logical for VMware to pair FalconStor CDP with VMware vSphere to create the SRM Lab at VMworld 2010 (and also at VMworld 2009): ESX and its hosted VM's can run on pretty much any modern x86 servers, for the vSphere portion, while FalconStor CDP can enable remote replication and storage I/O acceleration on pretty much any storage platform (local disk, SAN, etc...), even if the 2 storage platforms on the Primary and Recovery Sites are not the same type of storage array make or model, and even if those arrays are not capable themselves of supporting advanced features such as remote replication or I/O acceleration.  This "heterogenous replication" capability is huge, especially with the growth in popularity of cloud computing, and it's available today.

With FalconStor CDP, and just as thousands of you have witnessed during the VMworld 2010 Lab sessions, Disaster Recovery for your datacenters can be enabled easily, efficiently, cost-effectively, and transparently.  Yes, hundreds of time an hour, VMware (well, really it was you, the lab attendees) deployed and  destroyed virtual datacenters, including the SAN Infrastructure and all of its data.  And hundreds of times an hour, FalconStor saved the world (well, not us, but again, you, the lab users, who were following the lab instructions!) by replicating the data to the remote site and recovering the protected Virtual Machines at the DR site successfully, simply at a click of a button.  That's the beauty of Storage Virtualization, and being "Totally Open!"

So when the 145,000th virtual machine was served out during the VMworld Lab session, I couldn't help thinking:  "Yes, it's that easy!"  Virtualization is really a beautiful thing, and only by virtualizing both your server and storage infrastructure can you achieve a level of automation, platform independence, transparency, and elasticity, that will bring full mobility in your public and private clouds.  So why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?

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It was on the last day of VMworld 2010 in San Francisco where it happened.  I was sitting at a Lab Station at the Moscone West building, learning a few things myself on vCloud Director.  Suddenly, one of the VMware Lab Staff member announced: "We have just reached a new milestone just moments ago, we have served our 145th THOUSAND (145K) virtual machine being deployed and destroyed)!  We all clapped our hands, we all enjoyed this moment of glory for the world of virtualization!

There were several labs available, and each lab required an average of 9 VM's to be deployed.  All in all, 15,300 complete labs were served out to attendees of the event, during those 4 days, at a rate of 4000 VM's per hour (created then destroyed).  The vCloud Director was a very popular lab, being a new product focused on the ever popular "Cloud Computing," as well as the VMware View lab for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

Site Recovery Manager was also more popular than ever.  Did you know that for every SRM lab served out, 2 Virtual Storage Appliances (VSA) were deployed, one at the "Protected Site", and one at the "Recovery Site?"  We are talking about thousands of FalconStor NSS-VA's, the VSA technology adopted by VMware as the storage and replication technology of choice to power the SRM lab!  Yes, which means, if you took the SRM Lab, you actually used and managed FalconStor Storage, with FalconStor's Storage Replication Adapter for SRM.  So did thousands of other attendees.

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Data protection can be interpreted in so many ways today; there is a lack of consensus on where the technology should go and how it should evolve. Where should it apply? And how can we adapt to new technologies such as virtualization or adopt others such as cloud services?

To their credit, the guys at Wikibon started a community project around this same subject, “The Future of Data Protection - How Cloud Computing and Virtualization Change Everything,” and I encourage the participation of all platform, storage, and data protection vendors as well as the end users who consume the technology. This will be my first blog on this topic and attempt to contribute to the discussion.

I don’t think I need to repeat the fact that traditional backup is broken, but I just did! There are three main reasons that lead to this statement: exponential data growth, server virtualization, and unacceptable recovery times. In this post, I’ll expand only on these three reasons, and I will address available technologies and the future of data protection in future blogs.

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Sometimes, the best way to determine which of two options is preferable is to look at them side by side.  Trying to decide between a Honda and a Toyota?  Compare them directly on fuel efficiency, price, and reliability.  Not sure which menu items at your favorite restaurant are healthiest?  Evaluate them both in terms of calories, fat content, and sodium.  Wondering whether storage virtualization with really transform your data center?  Read The Aberdeen Group’s latest report on companies that deploy storage virtualization versus those who do not.

 

In a recent piece in the July issue Virtual Strategy Magazine, Aberdeen Senior Research Analyst Richard Csaplar shares the highlights of a recent study exploring the main reasons enterprises are adopting storage virtualization, the primary benefits they’re realizing by doing so, and the evidence that these companies are assuming leadership roles in data center transformation.

 

Csaplar notes that the combined pressures of increasing storage demands, lengthy backup and restore times, and dwindling space in the data center are moving organizations toward storage virtualization – and that these companies are the ones most savvy about virtualization in general.  Csaplar writes, “Companies with virtualized storage show a wider range of virtualization projects across the organization than those with no storage virtualization. They are more likely to have server virtualization (95%), purchase servers optimized for virtualization (74%), have a converged network (49%), and have virtualized their desktops (35%). These organizations are clearly familiar with virtualization technologies and understand the benefits of deploying it.

 

Companies in the Aberdeen study and in practically every industry are seeking out more efficient business processes.  They have to.  The proliferation of data across the enterprise has become so extreme, they can no longer ignore the pressure to change the way they handle that data.  Nobody wants to get stuck managing separate islands of storage in the data center.  The most dedicated, hard-working, knowledgeable data center managers will buckle under the complexity of such a scenario, which requires independent management and protection policies and leads to resources that are either under- or over-utilized.

 

So, storage virtualization is becoming an attractive option for numerous enterprises.   The Aberdeen study shows that the most skilled companies are leading the way.  The study illustrates that the adoption of storage virtualization is not a random or impulsive move by inexperienced businesses.  It is increasingly embraced by those who have achieved success in other parts of their infrastructure through the benefits of virtual technologies.  Csaplar writes that deploying virtualized storage leads to significant benefits, including reduced strain of managing storage area network (SAN) devices, reduced number of SANs, and reduced time to deploy new servers.

 

And storage virtualization reduces something else too – cost.  Our customers report that virtualizing their storage devices and servers saves them about half a million dollars a year.  It doesn’t take a careful comparison to realize that kind of savings is a good choice.

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Poor Juliet Capulet.  She asked, “What’s in a name?” And she answered her own question, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  But she was a foolish teenager, a girl who made lots of wrong assumptions on her way toward fulfilling her destiny as a “star-crossed lover.”  Pardon the Shakespeare tangent away from technology; I did take some liberal arts classes in undergrad. (Way back then, Engineering, Math and Physics classes averaged 0.5068 girls per class)
A name, of course, matters quite a bit.  The term we use to describe anything – a person, a phenomenon, a technology – influences our understanding of that item’s purpose and significance.  This rings true in the data center, as well, where the tendency to truncate “backup and recovery” to just “backup” can have some negative and self-fulfilling results.

 
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Yesterday Searchstorage.com published a Q&A with Curtis Preston, widely known as Mr. Backup. The topic was around the use of snapshot technology for data backups – basically a look at the increased use of SAN-based technology as an alternative or complement to traditional backup solutions.

Curtis brings some great points to the discussion and argues that, if you want better backup, snapshots is the way to go. I tend to agree with him. I’ll try to answer some of the questions that he leaves open, since the question of backup transformation is probably broader than I can cover in one or even a few blogs. The poignant fact that Curtis points out at the end of the Q&A is this: “…the backup and recovery space moves at a glacial pace. Backup people, by nature, are paranoid.” Therefore, I think it’s up to us as a collective – vendors, subject matter experts, and industry analysts in conjunction with end users – to redefine that space.

 
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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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