Enterprises of all sizes across multiple industries are dealing with the overwhelming crush of data and content, which in many cases has severely strained IT’s ability to maintain a balance between supporting business activities, compliance requirements, and the need to effectively control risks and costs while maintaining acceptable service levels.
The main culprit is fixed content, which includes medical images, email, documents, video, research data, Web content, and other forms of digital media. These typically do not change much over time and need to be archived, stored and backed up, sometimes for decades or longer. Unlike online transaction processing (OLTP) environments that demand high availability (HA) and Tier 1 storage solutions, the majority - over 95% by most estimates - of fixed content will rarely if ever be accessed. Nonetheless, many industry sources and surveys indicate that content archives and repositories are growing 4-to-5-times faster than transactional data stores.
Too many Point Solutions
A plethora of point solutions have come to market over the last decade to deal with the explosion of data and content to meet evolving business and IT requirements. These include archiving, back up, classification, deduplication, disaster recovery, indexing, search, and information access products, along with the mandate to provide “greener” solutions.
Many best-of-breed point solutions of this class plug holes and alleviate pain points within the IT infrastructure or improve business workflows such as reducing storage requirements, aiding compliance or e-discovery activities, enhancing information access or knowledge management enabled solutions such as customer service. Unfortunately, implementing too many point solutions adds complexity, can adversely affect performance due to poor interoperability, and too often dramatically increases integration costs. Larger enterprises, unlike small-or-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) tend to have internal resources, and the money and clout to access top systems integrators, and can drive solution vendors to provide what they need for their unique requirements.
The Need for Best of Breed Software Suites
The vast majority of SMEs do not have the in-house staff, influence with top-tier vendors, or cash to manage best-of-breed point solutions and too often compromise on systems that do not fully meet their requirements. Given this environment, the collaborative offering available in March 2010 from FalconStor and Nexsan should provide welcome relief.
FalconStor brings its deduplication technology, back up, and disaster recovery expertise to the table, while Nexsan offers storage innovation and significant energy savings. Both have a reputation for superior customer service along with a strong commitment to channel partnerships. The product, the DeDupe SG 2.0, which includes FalconStor's File-interface Deduplication System (FDS) 2.0, “combines increased availability, performance, and deduplication features with Nexsan's AutoMAID power reduction technology,” said Bob Woolery, senior vice president of marketing for the Thousand Oaks, CA, based storage vendor.
DeDupe SG 2.0 is a complete, turn-key solution (appliance) with all the necessary software. While designed and targeted for SMEs, the solution may also be attractive to larger firms with up to 150 remote offices where on-site IT support is scarce or non-existent. Woolery adds that “enterprises of all sizes will retain access to their backed-up data, ensuring that backups of critical systems can always be completed within narrow backup windows.” While the product addresses the need to secure files and content for longer term retention as well as efficiently manage storage assets, critical data stored in databases can also be backed up and replicated in a file format.
"The market demands a high-availability dedupe solution for NAS-based disk-to-disk backup environments, and now with Nexsan, we are the first to deliver it," said Fadi Albatal, Vice President of product marketing for FalconStor. "With the Nexsan DeDupe SG 2.0, FalconStor and Nexsan bring power-managed deduplication with enterprise-class reliability, scalability, and performance to meet the data protection needs of the most data intensive applications."
Key features and functionality include:
- Support for Symantec OpenStorage (OST)
- Replication support for up to 150 remote sites.
- An enhanced replication dashboard for real-time status monitoring.
- More granular, folder level, replication support.
- Policy driven end-to-end data integrity checking.
- Collision avoidance for improved data consistency and data loss prevention
- Redundant appliances for high availability
- Further Automation of storage management processes
In addition to touting 100% performance improvement for OST data backup throughput of 5.4 terabytes per hour and ingest rates of 1.5 gigabytes per second over two 10 Gigabit Ethernet links, FalconStor offers what they refer to as Concurrent or Policy Based DeDupe and Nexsan has been at the forefront of Auto-MAID storage technology. The key benefit of both solutions is in the ability to selectively choose what data to target for deduplication and what discs can be spun down at what levels to cut down on processing and power consumption to lower costs.
Wikibon recently conducted two Peer Incite research calls with FalconStor and Nexsan clients which illustrate, in case study fashion, how the respective vendors solutions can be implemented in the real world. Here are the links: FalconStor Remote office backup case study and Nexsan helps manage billions of files.
Futures and Concerns
The FalconStor/Nexsan partnership obviously has its sights set on taking away some market sahre from Data Domain/EMC, which is a formidable competitor with superior marketing organizations and a dedicated direct sales forces. EMC also has the Avamar product line to address the high-end of the DeDupe market. Meanwhile, Data Domain – even prior to its acquisition by EMC – has made a case with the SME market that in-line deduplication is superior, albeit more expensive, to post-processing, as evidenced by its strong sales growth.
While both FalconStor and Nexsan have loyal customer bases and quality track records with channel partners, they will need to leverage relationships with the likes of Microsoft, Novell, Oracle/SUN and Symantec as well as various application solutions providers and integrators to make headway. Also FalconStor/Nexsan will need to add, as planned, a compelling offering for the million plus Symantec Back Up Exec customers who could benefit from a low cost, well integrated, high performance solutions stack to address their backup, replication and storage resource management needs. Also, despite the dedupe market “buzz”, its name does not do its broad range of capabilities justice.
DeDupe SG 2.0 offers a nicely integrated set of solutions critical for the SME market and larger geographically dispersed entities with limited IT resources. The promise of improving backup windows, reducing energy consumption and providing increased data protection and availability should get the attention of buyers, partners and competitors.
Action Item: Enterprises with no dedupe or frustrated with poorly integrated dedupe, back-up, and DR solutions with limited interoperability and excessive energy consumption will want to consider DeDupe SG 2.0 in situations where limited IT resources and the need to lower costs while improving back-up windows and service levels dictate a more turnkey approach.