Virtually Speaking: FalconStor, Virtual Iron Eye Virtual Storage

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Jan 15, 2008


Virtual Iron strolled further down the path on its virtual storage roadmap this week with the announcement that it was joining forces with FalconStor Software to deliver a number of storage-centric virtualization capabilities.

Virtual Iron and FalconStor cozy up to make managing virtual storage a more streamlined experience.

Virtual Iron users can now integrate FalconStor Network Storage Server (NSS) and FalconStor Continuous Data Protector (CDP) into the platform.

FalconStor's solutions are now certified in v4.2 of Virtual Iron's software, and they support both iSCSI and Fibre Channel storage.

Going forward, the two companies will work together to develop solutions for real-time storage migration for virtual machines (VMs), thin provisioning of disk resources, and application-centric data protection and recovery.

The eight-year-old FalconStor provides disk-based data protection products. Its Linux-based software is written for standards-based Intel and AMD servers.

Although this is not Falconstor's first foray into the virtualization space, this is the "first time [it has offered] a storage virtualization layer natively along with virtual services," Bernie Wu, vice president of business development for FalconStor, told ServerWatch.

FalconStor is by no means exclusive to Virtual Iron, however. It has also made nice with VMware. Ironically, despite its name, the company's Snapshot Director for VMware is not nearly as integrated with the VMware platform as it is with Virtual Iron's, largely because of VMware's architecture. With VMware, rather than introducing the capabilities natively, Falconstor had to add software to handle the abstraction layer

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Virtual Iron has been emphasizing storage since Ed Walsh came on board as president and CEO in late October from EMC. The latest release of its software added strong storage management support in the form of multipathing, snapshotting and storage on demand — functionality similar to what FalconStor offers.

The direction seems a sound one, especially considering, "almost 100 percent of customers are using a SAN," as Chief Marketing Officer Mike Grandinetti told ServerWatch.

Storage has been a hot segment of the virtualization space, and Grandinetti said he believes 2008 will be a year filled with servers converging with storage.

FalconStor's data protection and storage virtualization solutions are bringing their three-pronged approach to Virtual Iron's platform. First off, virtualization combined with built-in mirroring enables seamless migration between storage arrays without downtime. Second, FalconStor supports a wide range of SMB and enterprise-class storage arrays. Third, up to 250 application-aware snapshots per diskgroup can be taken on the virtual layer that provide transactionally consistent snapshots of data running in VMs.

FalconStor's software also offers thin provisioning for VMs, which Virtual Iron supports. As a result, disk space is allocated as it's used, Wu said.

Looking beyond the technology, the companies plan to collaborate on marketing, sales, product integration and cross-support to OEM and reseller partners worldwide.

More information about the products and services to come out of the alliance are sure to be revealed at a Feb. 7 Webcast, where FalconStor and Virtual Iron will discuss where their combined capabilities will take them.

Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch. She has been covering virtualization since 2001.

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