By Dave Simpson
At the Storage Networking World conference in Orlando last month, FalconStor Software announced an option for its popular Virtual Tape Library (VTL) platform that promises to accelerate backups and eliminate the backup window.
"VTLs solve a lot of the complexity, management, reliability and performance issues associated with tape-based backup at the backup server level, but there are still a lot of challenges on the front end between the backup server and the host server," says Fadi Albatal, FalconStor's director of marketing.
The Backup Accelerator option alleviates the problems caused by traditional backup software agents running on host systems, replacing those agents with FalconStor's Backup Accelerator agents and offloading backup processing from the hosts and allowing backups to run at any time (which eliminates the backup window). The solution relies on SAN-based backups, as opposed to the traditional 1Gbps LAN-based backup configuration, and FalconStor claims a backup performance increase of 4x to 8x (assuming a 4Gbps or 8Gbps Fibre Channel SAN).
"We eliminate the backup agent software on the host that's imposing performance limitations," Albatal explains, "and replace those agents with our own. But you still use the same backup software."
The Backup Accelerator software and appliance sit between the SAN (Fibre Channel or 1Gbps or 10Gbps iSCSI) and the FalconStor VTL, and share the same storage pool with the VTL. The Backup Accelerator agents maintain a complete, current copy of the backup data in the Backup Accelerator repository.
In addition to the Backup Accelerator agents (which run on Windows or Linux hosts and split writes to the storage pool), server software and VTL (with data de-duplication), the overall solution includes HyperTrac backup agents that run on the backup server and work with the existing backup software to offload backup processes from the production servers. The solution is based on FalconStor's IPStor software, which virtualizes resources for the VTL.
FalconStor also introduced a Hosted Backup Option for its VTLs, which can further accelerate backup performance by loading the backup software on the VTL node. The VTL connects to the backup server via a PCIe bus, eliminating the SAN hop and separate backup server from the configuration.
A $20,000 software license for the Backup Accelerator option includes 16 host agent licenses for Windows or Linux and one HyperTrac license.
FalconStor's OEMs are evaluating the Backup Accelerator, although none of them have yet announced support. FalconStor's VTL OEMs include EMC, IBM and Sun, as well as Acer, Copan, Data Direct Networks, DSI, H3C and Pillar Data.