FalconStor ships turnkey iSCSI/FC SAN

Partners with Nexsan for dedupe

By Dave Simpson and Kevin Komiega

Billing it as "the only SAN that can virtualize other SANs," FalconStor Software recently began shipping its first turnkey SAN system. The Network Storage Server (NSS) HC series includes a new release of the company's NSS software coupled with a hardware platform from FalconStor partner H3C.

The HC is a self-contained SAN disk array supporting iSCSI and/or Fibre Channel connectivity, as well as a gateway that can virtualize heterogeneous storage resources and SANs.

"The key differentiator [vs. other SAN arrays] is the ability to virtualize other vendors' SANs," says Eric Kao, FalconStor's director of NSS product marketing. "This enables users to preserve their existing investments as they grow their SANs."

Although the system is new to the North America and Europe markets, H3C has been selling the software-hardware combo for some time in China.

The NSS HC series includes all of the core NSS software functionality (as well as a full RAID stack), including virtualization, provisioning, heterogeneous management and data protection features such as synchronous data mirroring, WAN-optimized replication, application-aware snapshots, and disaster recovery.

In addition, the system is optimized for VMware environments, according to Kao. For example, a Snapshot Director VA feature guarantees reliable point-in-time copies for instant recovery at both the virtual machine (VM) and application levels.

The NSS HC series also supports Windows VSS recovery/cluster, Windows 2008 multi-site clusters, and Hyper-V.

In conjunction with the introduction of the HC series, FalconStor introduced a new release of the NSS software, with enhancements such as snapshots of snapshots and expanded thin provisioning. The company also claims improved WAN bandwidth utilization (up to 90%) without third-party WAN optimization devices, as well as performance increases (to more than 100,000 I/Os per second).

The NSS HC systems are available in four hardware configurations, each with dual controllers in a 3U, 16-bay disk enclosure:

  • HC620: two dual-core CPUs, 4GB of cache, eight GbE/iSCSI ports and up to 224 SAS and/or SATA drives
  • HC630: four dual-core CPUs, 8GB cache, 16 GbE ports, 336 SAS/SATA drives
  • HC650: four dual-core CPUs, 8GB cache, eight Fibre Channel and eight GbE ports, 336 SAS/SATA drives
  • HC670: four dual-core CPUs, 16GB cache, four 10GbE ports, 336 SAS/SATA drives

All configurations include thin provisioning, snapshots, mirroring, replication, and multi-path support.

An entry-level NSS HC620 with eight GbE/iSCSI ports and 16TB of SATA capacity is priced at $49,000.

Nexsan, FalconStor debut data deduplication system

By Kevin Komiega

Nexsan Technologies and FalconStor Software have teamed up to deliver a co-branded data deduplication system with energy-saving AutoMAID technology for Nexsan storage environments.

The Nexsan DeDupe SG ("Speed with Green") product family combines FalconStor's File-interface Deduplication System (FDS) with Nexsan's SATABeast or SATABoy disk arrays. FalconStor's FDS is a block-level deduplication software engine that presents a network share interface as a backup repository and works with all data sources, including disk-to-disk backup and archiving applications.

The systems can be deployed in physical or virtual infrastructure environments, offering file-level access to a central block-level deduplication repository.

The Nexsan DeDupe SG uses policy-based concurrent and post-process deduplication and supports all major backup software; directly accepts Oracle RMAN, Microsoft SQL and other database dumps; and provides integrated data replication and deduplication.

However, there is one catch: the DeDupe SG is specifically built to work with and deduplicate data in Nexsan storage environments, according to Bob Woolery, Nexsan's senior vice president of marketing.

Woolery says the Nexsan-FalconStor combination does more than reduce the cost of storage hardware through deduplication.

"The original driver for deduplication was to reduce storage capacity and the cost of disk. We've taken that a step further to create a solution that reduces operational expenses by applying our AutoMAID energy saving technology when the system is not in use," says Woolery.

AutoMAID offers three different levels of energy savings, each with its own performance metrics. Level 1 parks the drive head for a power savings of 20% with data response times of less than 10 seconds, and once the first file is accessed the disks perform at full speed. At level 2, AutoMAID slows down the drives to 4,000rpm for energy savings of up to 40% and response times of 15 seconds or less. The third level puts drives into what Woolery calls a "light sleep," yielding up to 60% energy savings. Once the drive comes out of its level-three nap, the first I/O transaction takes 30 seconds or less.  

The Nexsan DeDupe SG is available in several different models at different capacity points, ranging from a starting configuration of 4TB up to the 52TB DDSG-52. Logical capacity for the DDSG-52 maxes out at just over 1PB.

Pricing for an entry level 4TB DDSG-4 starts at about $49,000. The 52TB model retails for about $300,000.

This article was originally published on September 01, 2009