Briefing Note: Software Defined Storage grows up with FalconStor FreeStor

Software Defined Storage (SDS) is still in its infancy. While there are exceptions, like Atlantis Computing, Nexenta and DataCore, vendors in the space are for the most part startups looking to get their first hundred or so customers. FalconStor’s new FreeStor solution promises to mature the category in a hurry. FreeStor leverages FalconStor’s 15 years of experience creating storage solutions for both IT professionals and storage OEMs. FreeStor is the culmination of that experience.

Software Defined Storage for The Existing Data Center

Most SDS solutions are designed for a ‘greenfield’ storage infrastructure, meaning they expect the IT professional to unplug their existing storage systems and replace them with commodity servers filled with flash and hard disk drives. Essentially, many SDS vendors assume the data center is ready to jump into SDS with both feet and their eyes closed. This probably explains why SDS has had a slow takeoff thus far and traditional “hardware defined” storage systems continue to dominate the market.

FreeStor – SDS at your Pace

FalconStor’s approach is to let the data center adopt SDS at a pace that makes sense for the organization. Most importantly, this adoption can include the aggregation of existing storage assets, leveraging them as it makes sense.

SDS by Use Case

FreeStor provides a data services ‘resource pool’ that integrates into the FreeStor core that abstracts physical storage assets. This data services pool includes virtualization, clustering, tape out, virtual tape, automated recovery, snapshots, deduplication and replication modules. And, these modules can be mixed and matched to meet specific demands.

For example, an IT planner could use FreeStor in a data migration use case to allow them to purchase a flash appliance to meet the performance demand of a mission critical database. They could then leverage FreeStor to migrate data between the new flash investment and the legacy hard disk arrays. The migration could be two ways and is seamless. This means the organization could by a smaller flash appliance and only move volumes to it when peak loads dictate.

Another common demand being placed on IT is to create an always-on architecture. The IT professional could leverage FreeStor’s Virtualization, Clustering, Automated Recovery and Replication modules to make sure data is synchronously mirrored in real time between two separate built-on-site storage systems and then replicated to an off-site system.

A third use case would be to use FreeStor as a key component in data protection. IT planners could leverage FreeStor’s Automated Recovery, Snapshots and Replication to create separate point-in-time copies of data to separate storage systems in multiple locations.

Finally, the Tape Out, Virtual Tape, Deduplication and Replication services could be used to create an optimized backup environment. This could be used as a target to existing backup software or could be used to augment the third use case above.

Common Sense Pricing

One of the biggest challenges facing IT professionals today is understanding vendor licensing schemes. Making sure you have all the right modules and are using the modules you are paying for can be a full time job. FreeStor overcomes this problem by providing a simplified, flexible pricing model, in which all the capabilities are included for a predictable $/TB price.

StorageSwiss Take

The above four use cases are just examples. How the IT planner leverages FreeStor’s data services resources pool will depend on their situation. The key for FreeStor is that these data services are very mature, built on code with 15 years of real world use, but modernized for today’s data challenges. Also, the fact that FreeStor can leverage and add value to an existing storage infrastructure should be very appealing.

The FreeStor approach allows IT to dip their toes in the SDS water based on the problem that they are trying to solve. The combination of these factors should make FreeStor a contender for any data center considering SDS and it should make data centers that have ruled out SDS to reconsider its potential.

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Eight years ago George Crump, founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal. To educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is and a heavily sought after public speaker. With 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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2 comments on “Briefing Note: Software Defined Storage grows up with FalconStor FreeStor
  1. PiroNet says:

    Licensing per TB is one way of doing proper licensing but it is not the panacea.
    For instance is it licensing $ per raw disk space (total physical disk space available) or $ per useable disk space (based on an observed deduplication/compression ratio) or $ per consumed disk space (based on the disk space actually being used to store data which eventually were deduped and compressed)?

    The latter is customer budget friendly but surely not FalconStor shares holders friendly!

    • Guy Berlo says:

      Customers will only be charged for capacity managed by FreeStor. This is separate from the RAW capacity of the underlying physical storage as not all of that storage capacity must be managed by FreeStor. As a result, customers have the flexibility to use any or all of the FreeStor data services, turn them on or off at will, and add or remove storage capacity at any time without having to stop and get any additional licenses or pay additional fees.

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