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FalconStor Blog

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First, I want to clarify something: disaster recovery (DR) can mean many things. From my perspective, I couldn’t care less how a storage vendor provides remote copy services – when my critical IT business application goes down, I lose money. This loss, depending on the annual frequency of outages, can range from $10,000 to many hundreds of thousands of dollars per year! This application or service protection is what FalconStor is all about. Delivering this type of solution goes beyond the mere storage and remote replication solutions actively promoted by the major SAN vendors. However, application availability, or resilience, has been around for some time in the form of server clusters.
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Last week, the company held its first worldwide sales kickoff meeting as a confirmation of our global mission, bringing all the regions together under the one team/one mission spirit. But, as many saw it, the best part of the meeting had nothing to do with the global alignment, the clear and focused messaging, the renewed sense of purpose and direction, or even the great mission that we set up to accomplish in redefining the data protection space. The best part of the meeting was when a group of local children received brand-new bikes built by the North American sales team.

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Data levels are doubling every 18 months. This rapid increase should come as no surprise when nearly everything we do has a digital element associated with it. When we text, we contribute one of 173 billion text messages sent every year. When we buy something, there is a digital transaction; Walmart alone posts 1 million customer transactions per hour. When we check up on our friends, we are one of 600 million Facebook users browsing through 40 billion photos. Apple iTunes recently delivered its 10 billionth download. Amazon now sells 180 Kindle books for every 100 hard covers.

All of this data must live somewhere, and the challenges of storing, managing and protecting all of it is spurring new approaches and architectures. Today, all of us at FalconStor find ourselves in the right time, in the right place and among the right people to create those approaches and make the most of an unprecedented market opportunity.

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Comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery and (BCDR) processes and the testing of these systems are critical for all companies. Often business continuity is defined as handling the company’s ability to operate, while disaster recovery (DR) stands for the ability to restore full operations. However, for IT, implementing BCDR plans is overwhelming and complex. The sheer amount of IT infrastructure components that are involved in the process makes it almost impossible to manage. For instance, in a recent survey by TechTarget, only 41 percent of IT executives said they successfully recovered all their applications during a test of their BCDR solution and 54 percent reported testing their BCDR plan twice a year or more. These numbers are disturbingly low, as recovery time is everything and effective testing improves your recovery time.

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I find it quite interesting in my travels how some folks are drinking the Kool-Aid that tape in general, and VTL in particular, are dead-end technologies. The argument is that tape sucks for backup, is hard to manage, and you need a LOT of it so just backup to disk, dedupe, and be done with it. The argument against Virtual Tape Libraries is, why put in a technology that looks like tape if your goal is to get away from tape backup? Sounds like a good argument, right?

Except for some fairly important points.

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I sat down today to write part two of my CIO Zone article about disaster recovery (DR) automation that addresses the cost factors of DR deployments. But after being glued to the news for the past few days and weeks following the nature-caused disaster in Japan and the human-caused disaster in Libya, I’m humbled by the human cost of these disasters and saddened by the tragic turn taken by these two very different catastrophes.

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As I’ve mentioned before in previous blogs, the way I think about things changed after business school.  Life was far simpler as an engineer.  I enjoyed and appreciated products for their technology with no consideration for financial implications.  I see an analogy between my current car situation and many of the customers I speak with on a regular basis, with regard to SANs.  Should you buy a new SAN or enhance and maintain your existing, paid for, SAN?

 
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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?

 

 
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In a previous blog, I argued that replication was not disaster recovery (DR). Go to any major SAN vendor’s website, search for DR and you’ll see their remote replication offerings. Whether it’s a two letter company or three letter company, we as an industry have for many years passively accepted remote copies of data volumes as DR. I argue that customers care about application availability, from a service availability perspective, and don’t care how those service levels are maintained. Try explaining to a frustrated customer, or an exacerbated CFO, that you have a DR solution represented by a remote copy of their data and that you’re sorry for their frustration or disruption of revenue.

FalconStor today effectively redefines DR as application and business recovery with our RecoverTrac tool. If you view the concept of real DR from an application or service perspective, you quickly realize its far more than the storage or remote copy functions currently offered by SAN vendors. Applications run on servers, physical or virtual, with complex configurations and dependencies (on other servers or services). Attempting to automate and control these aspects of real customer service delivery is above the capability, and accepted responsibility, of SAN vendors.

FalconStor delivers heterogeneous remote replication that allows customers to have different SANs at remote data centers; there are no homogenous SAN requirements. Additionally, FalconStor RecoverTrac goes above the “storage” layer into the server, hypervisor, cluster, configuration, dependency and networking layers – ensuring business applications are recovered and customer service levels are preserved. Grante,d this is an ambitious claim from a data protection company; however, this technology commitment is part of how FalconStor is truly “Defining Data Protection; Again.”

We’re all accustomed to empty rhetoric and unfulfilled promises from vendors. FalconStor today announces the availability of RecoverTrac as a standard function of our CDP and NSS products; there is no additional or extra charge for this revolutionary tool. This product strategy of not demanding an additional payment for this fundamental capability is part of our commitment to our customer base and proof that our business strategy is sincere and concrete.

Visit our website for more information on RecoverTrac, speak to a FalconStor representative or partner, or download a free 30-day trial of FalconStor CDP.

 
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You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.
Heraclitus

After public speaking, most people list change as one their greatest fears. It is therefore natural to be a little apprehensive when your world is changing rapidly. Change, however, is the natural order of things. It is constant and perpetual. Those of us who embrace change, plan for it, move with it, ride it, and create it are the true masters of destiny. We at FalconStor are now in a position to become masters of our market as we recreate our company with a new vision, new products, new opportunities, and new leadership.

One of the best things about change is that it always provides an opportunity for people and organizations to change position. Our changing company provides an opportunity for our employees to step up into leadership roles and for FalconStor to move to the head of the market.
 

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