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FalconStor is taking its virtual tape library and deduplication solutions to the next level, adding features that can help channel partners speed up customers’ archiving and backup processes by as much as 8 times.

Fadi Albatal, director of marketing at FalconStor, says while VTL and dedupe solved many of the backend performance, reliability and scalability issues of tape backup systems, bottlenecks still occurred between application servers and connected storage simply because of the way the solutions are architected.

In common infrastructure architectures, backup agents are hosted on customers’ application servers and are designed to process and send data through a 1 G-bit channel to the storage infrastructure. While standard, this design exerts an extraordinary amount of pressure on the app server itself, Albatal says.

Even though FalconStor VTL helps accelerate backup operations by providing backend support to backup applications, the challenge remains in the overloads applied by the backup host agents on production systems on the front end of the backup data path.

Adding this huge additional load of reads and writes to and from the application server takes time and slows down the entire data center, he says. The result is a very tight backup window that does not provide enough time to complete all necessary backups.

"That’s what creates a ‘backup window,’ and that’s why many organizations only perform backups overnight or on weekends, because the backup agent is controlling all your server CPU resources—you can’t run your backup at the same time you’re running your business," Albatal says.

The new FalconStor VTL Backup Accelerator improves backup processes and increases speed by offloading backups from the application server production environments, eliminating their negative impact and closing the backup window.

The Backup Accelerator solution uses FalconStor’s HyperTrac agents to move backup cycles from application servers to a customer’s high-performance SAN infrastructure, taking advantage of the SAN instead of the general purpose network or a LAN, Albatal says. Albatal adds that solution providers can eliminate customers’ need to purchase backup agents and can save on energy costs by reclaiming CPU cycles.

Typical backup speed enhancements range from 4 to 8 times faster than traditional backups, significantly reducing backup time, reclaiming backup management time and lowering operating costs, Albatal says.

Albatal says many organizations faced with the huge time commitment and performance lag required by traditional backup solutions simply wouldn’t perform incremental backups or even skip weekend backups to save time and reduce downtime. The risk in doing so is huge, he says.

"Really, if you skip your backups and something does go wrong, it could ruin you. If you screw up, it’ll be business suicide," he says.

For solution providers, Albatal says the VTL Backup Accelerator can help them upsell the solution to customers already deploying FalconStor’s VTL—mostly customers in the midmarket to enterprise range, he says. The Backup Accelerator solution is offered as an option to customers, since some businesses don’t need the capabilities it provides.

"The SMB market doesn’t have the same challenges, since those smaller environments wouldn’t have enough data to require a VTL deployment," he says.

The FalconStor VTL Backup Accelerator is available immediately, and pricing starts at $20,000.