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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

FalconStor Virtual Tape Library with Deduplication is the industry’s leading virtual tape and LAN-based backup and archive solution, unmatched in performance and scalability.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

FalconStor Virtual Tape Library with Deduplication is the industry’s leading virtual tape and LAN-based backup and archive solution, unmatched in performance and scalability.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

FalconStor Virtual Tape Library with Deduplication is the industry’s leading virtual tape and LAN-based backup and archive solution, unmatched in performance and scalability.

Below you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions about this award-winning solution. To do a deeper dive, read the complete FAQ document. A complete list of supported vendors can be found on the FalconStor Certification Matrix.

WHY DO I NEED FALCONSTOR VTL WITH DEDUPLICATION?

Due to the explosive growth of data from databases, email applications, and other business applications, backup administrators are finding it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to complete backups within allotted backup windows. Furthermore, media and device failure and errors are commonplace, requiring valuable time and resources to keep the backup environment up-and-running. Virtual Tape Library (VTL) enables blazing fast, reliable restores and eliminates the need to re-run backup jobs due to tape errors, saving considerable time and resources.

Because this solution uses disk to back up data, it eliminates the media and mechanical errors that can occur with physical tapes and drives. In addition, because Virtual Tape Library (VTL) can emulate more tape drives than your physical tape library has, you can run more backup streams simultaneously. This enables you to more easily complete backups within shrinking backup windows.

FalconStor Virtual Tape Library (VTL) can be installed at remote sites, consolidating backup data at a central location utilizing an existing tape infrastructure. You can easily add new virtual tape drives and libraries, or increase backup jobs and backup streams, with-out the expense and hassle of adding new hardware.

HOW DOES THE DEDUPLICATION ENGINE WORK?

The SIR deduplication engine works within FalconStor Virtual Tape Library (VTL) to eliminate redundant data without impacting established backup windows, while minimizing replication time and storage requirements. The deduplication engine scans backup data at the block level, analyzes the data, and determines whether data is unique or has already been stored in the deduplication repository. Only single instances of data are stored. The original virtual tape is replaced with a virtual index tape (VIT) pointing to FalconStor SIR storage, freeing space for more data. VTL with Deduplication offers a choice of deduplication options: Inline, post-process, turbo deduplication, or no deduplication.

WHEN WOULD I NEED THESE DEDUPLICATION OPTIONS?

Engineered with users in mind, the solution the solution provides the flexibility to select the desired deduplication method at the tape level, based on unique and changing requirements:

  • Inline deduplication, added in version 7.5 of this solution, minimizes storage requirements, reducing them by as much as 40%. It is ideal for small storage configurations or environments where immediate replication is desired. For the highest performance levels, a recommended best practice is to use the product’s flexible deduplication policies to leverage post-process deduplication for the initial backup, and then switch to inline deduplication for subsequent backups.
  • Post-process and turbo deduplication is ideal when you deploy external SIR cluster or your VTL server’s computing capacity is limited. As its name implies, it occurs after the backup process completes, thus it can be scheduled to run at any time.
  • No deduplication can be used on data that does not deduplicate effectively or data that is exported to physical tape. Examples include image files and data that is pre-compressed and encrypted. By selectively "turning of" deduplication, you can save cycles and focus on deduplicating the data that will yield the highest overall ratios and value.

I AM CURRENTLY USING THE POST-PROCESS/TURBO DEDUPLICATION FUNCTIONALITY OF THIS SOLUTION. CAN I USE INLINE DEDUPLICATION AS WELL?

Yes. Inline deduplication is compatible with existing deduplication processes. Inline deduplication can coexist with existing post-process and turbo processes, wherein three processes can run at the same time on different tapes. Tapes using turbo deduplication can be moved seamlessly to inline deduplication as needed, and vice-versa. This unique flexibility allows you to adjust to your changing needs without any impact on backup processes.

HOW DOES DATA DEDUPLICATION BENEFIT REPLICATION?

Without deduplication, all of a virtual tape’s new backup data is sent over the wire, resulting in multiple terabytes of duplicate data driving up bandwidth requirements and costs. Since much of the backup data is redundant, only new/unique information needs to be replicated. By identifying unique data, the deduplication engine minimizes the bandwidth needed to replicate backup data, minimizing costs and making replication practical for most organizations.

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF GLOBAL DEDUPLICATION?

Since local data deduplication makes replication more affordable, you can easily and cost-effectively consolidate backup data from multiple remote offices to a central location such as a data center. However, there may still be duplicate data between remote offices. Global deduplication ensures that redundant data from remote offices is not replicated to the central repository, thus minimizing space requirements.

DO I NEED TO CHANGE MY CURRENT BACKUP SOFTWARE?

No. FalconStor Virtual Tape Library (VTL) enhances the performance of your current backup application, so you can decrease your current backup window without having to modify job configurations. The solution works with the most common backup and restore applications available in the market.

HOW DOES VTL WITH DEDUPLICATION SUPPORT LONG-TERM ARCHIVING?

To meet retention requirements, data on virtual tape or NAS share can be exported directly to physical tape for long-term archiving (D2D2T). Data can continue to be copied to physical tape using the backup application’s "copy" function. The unique open architecture of this solution enables integration with local and remote physical tape resources, for the best possible return on investment (ROI).

WHAT KIND OF TAPE LIBRARIES AND TAPE DRIVES DOES THIS SOLUTION EMULATE?

FalconStor Virtual Tape Library (VTL) can emulate more tape libraries and tape drives than any other vendor. For each node, you can emulate up to 128 virtual tape libraries, 1,024 virtual drives, and 1,000,000 (1 million) virtual tapes. A complete list of supported vendors can be found on the FalconStor Certification Matrix.

WHAT KIND OF LAN-BASED FILE INTERFACE DOES FALCONSTOR VTL SUPPORT?

FalconStor Virtual Tape Library (VTL) offers SMB or NFS network share or Veritas OpenStorage Technology (OST) over IP for NetBackup and Backup Exec backup applications. This easy-to-use file interface is compatible with all source data, seamlessly integrating with major backup software, database utilities, archiving applications, virtual machine data, and manual file copy methods. There is little or no need to change D2D backup applications or file and data archiving processes. Backup performance and reliability are drastically improved, and secondary storage capacity requirements are minimized.

HOW DO I MOVE DATA FROM VIRTUAL TAPE OR NAS SHARE TO PHYSICAL TAPE?

You can use FalconStor Virtual Tape Library (VTL) to copy data to physical tape, or you can use any backup software that offers copy-to-tape functionality. Using backup software enables you to leverage the same processes as you would with physical tape. However, this puts an additional load on your backup server and the traffic between it and the virtual tape library. FalconStor Virtual Tape Library (VTL) enables you to keep barcodes in sync locally and remotely, letting you proactively manage the tape export process.

CAN I EXPORT TAPES TO THE CLOUD?

Yes. You can migrate virtual tapes private and public cloud object storage. Today, connectors are available for Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 and Glacier and for Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) object storage for archive purposes in the cloud, and you can set up policies on virtual tape libraries to automatically migrate tape data when a tape is ejected to the virtual vault after backup. Migrated tapes are replaced with stub tapes to optimize on premise storage usage. To support the isolation of data between different users and separate accounts, buckets can be defined for each virtual tape library.

CAN I MAKE MULTIPLE COPIES OF TAPES SIMULTANEOUSLY?

Yes. You can export up to five virtual tapes to physical tapes at a time.

DO I NEED TO RESERVE A LARGE QUANTITY OF STORAGE FOR MY BACKUPS?

No. FalconStor Virtual Tape Library (VTL) with Deduplication includes a "Capacity on Demand" feature that allows you to create and allocate space as needed. This can save considerable disk space without affecting system performance. Inline deduplication allows you to back up directly to the repository minimizing the capacity requirement.

WHAT IS THE AUTOMATED TAPE CACHING OPTION?

With Automated Tape Caching, tapes always appear to be inside the FalconStor solution and are visible to the backup software regardless of whether the data resides on disk or tape. This gives the backup application direct access to data at any time. FalconStor Virtual Tape Library (VTL) acts as a transparent cache to the physical tape library. Based on extremely flexible migration policies (age of data, time of day, disk space, end of backup, etc.), the data is staged to the virtual tape cache and copied to physical tape after the backup completes

CAN I IMPORT PHYSICAL TAPES TO THIS SOLUTION?

Yes. A key advantage of FalconStor Virtual Tape Library (VTL) with Deduplication is that you can protect data on your existing physical tapes by importing them into your virtual tape system. If you need to recover files, you can use the import function to directly access the physical tape for immediate recovery

WHICH CONNECTIVITY PROTOCOLS ARE SUPPORTED?

FalconStor VTL supports a variety of protocols, such as FC, iSCSI, NDMP, NFS, and SMB, for unparalleled performance. A single VTL node can back up over 30TB of data in an hour over four 16GB FC ports, while a clustered pair can back up over 40TB per hour.

DOES THIS SOLUTION SUPPORT CLUSTER CONFIGURATIONS?

Yes. For high availability (HA), FalconStor VTL can scale up to four pairs (eight nodes). If a machine fails, another will automatically take over its workload. The FalconStor SIR engine supports N+1 clustering of up to 4 active nodes, with a total repository size up to 2PB.

One, two, or four active nodes can support a single deduplication repository for enterprise-level performance and capacity scalability. When paired with a standby node, the standby system (+1) will automatically take its place in the event of failure to ensure continuity. This allows you to start with the smallest possible configuration that meets your exact needs, and expand incrementally as your data requirements grow.

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Information in this document is provided “AS IS” without warranty of any kind, and is subject to change without notice by FalconStor, which assumes no responsibility for any errors or claims herein. Copyright © 2019 FalconStor Software. All rights reserved. FalconStor Software and FalconStor are registered trademarks of FalconStor Software, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other company and product names contained herein are or may be trademarks of the respective holder.
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