Adding to the already elevated status of storage virtualization, CNT Corp has launched a data replication appliance that is based on FalconStor Software Inc’s virtualization technology.
The move combines the release of a precursor to the smart switch that the SAN specialist says it will ship next year, and probably is an effort to boost business for its consulting and support operation.
This appliance is heading in the smart switch direction. You have to build up the infrastructure first, said Kent Christensen, senior product manager at CNT. The future CNT smart switch will probably host a range of third-party software, including what is likely to be a more extensive version of FalconStor’s software that will include a full range of virtualization features, not just data replication.
Meanwhile the appliance, dubbed the UltraNet Replication Appliance, integrates FalconStor’s cross-vendor data replication functions into a ready-packaged system supported by CNT.
Customers could buy the FalconStor software CD themselves, but then they’d have to integrate it. We understand their backup and disaster recovery systems, Christensen said. CNT’s long-term business plans include a focus on its services and consulting business, which it cited as part of the reason for its purchase of Inrange Technologies Corp last year.
Alongside local replication the URA offers long-distance asynchronous data replication for data-center-to-data-center disaster recovery, something that CNT claims was written into FalconStor’s IPStor software at CNT’s request.
Heterogeneous or cross-vendor replication has been described by FalconStor and other vendors as the most attractive feature of virtualization systems. CNT’s pitch for its product included a reference to one customer with 17TB of Oracle data that implemented disk-to-disk backup to low cost ATA disk using the URA, and as a result freed up around $2 million of disk space and avoided a $1 million tape expansion.
Because of the URA’s support for long distance mirroring it has been qualified by IBM Corp for use with IBM’s San Volume Controller virtualization product, CNT said. Although SVC offers local heterogeneous replication, it does not handle long-distance or asynchronous replication needed for advanced DR systems.
The aim of porting the FalconStor software to a port-level processing smart switch is to increase its throughput. While the URA is able to handle CNT’s corporate backup and DR needs, it could not do so for every business. It can handle our needs, but it couldn’t handle all the data that say the Bank of America wanted to protect, Christensen said.