FalconStor – Virtualization Field Day 6 Preview

I’m going to Virtualization Field Day 6. And, I’ll continue my new tradition of previewing each presenting company before the event. Today, we’ll take a look at FalconStor.

Basic Company Info

FalconStor is a publically traded company (FALC) with a market cap of about $83M at the time of this writing. The company, founded in 1989 is headed by CA veteran Gary Quinn, 54.

The product

It’s interesting that FalconStor will be presenting at Virtualization Field Day vs. Storage Field Day. FalconStor has traditionally been considered a software-defined storage (SDS) provider. Even before SDS was a cool marketing term, FalconStor has separated the storage services from the hardware platform. The abstraction or virtualization of storage is actually their secret sauce from the beginning.

My first true enterprise SAN was on a FalconStor IPStor. I leveraged their IPStor and Continuous Data Protection (CDP) solution to build my first VMware ESX environment. I ran ESX 3.5 on top of a half-dozen HP DL5xx series servers. The underlying storage was an IPStor based white box array. Virtual machines were replicated via CDP over a 100Mbps VPN to my DR data center that hosted a 2nd IPStor array. I was way too naïve to realize that I was cutting edge in adopting a white box storage array. Now that I’m older, when I implement a new program, I like to do my research into what it’s actually going to do. For example, with the VPN, now I will search for the best VPN in Canada, rather than using the first option I find. Looking for the best services ensures that I receive good quality cyber security and minimizes any chances of being hacked.

As far as I can tell FalconStor’s story hasn’t changed much over the years. They’ve added backup and migration software to their portfolio, but their value proposition remains the same. I believe my company was in the minority for those using FalconStor and a primary SAN at the time. I initially built the environment in 2008. I can’t imagine there was much enterprise grade white box storage going on at the time.

One of the primary use cases for FalconStor’s products is the ability to replicate data across disparate storage arrays. By creating a virtual store array using their NSS product, the storage services are abstracted from your primary array. Combine their CDP solution and now you can replicate to another NSS based array offsite. So, you could replicate a VMAX to an HDS for example.

My take

I haven’t looked at the solution in several years because… storage. However, FalconStor has the credibility to be taken very seriously in the storage virtualization market. I’m interested to see what their value proposition is over other virtualized storage solutions such as EMC ScaleIO, which is now free without support.

I’m also interested in the business side. FalconStor isn’t a young company. At face, their solutions haven’t drastically changed over the past few years. I’m looking forward to hearing how well they are doing in the market place dominated by $1B+ startups.

Published by Keith Townsend

Now I'm @CTOAdvisor

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