FalconStor changes tack with IPStor v4

Virtualisation gets the Trotsky treatment

FalconStor is due to announce version 4 of its storage network software IPStor today (11 Feb), yet with a complete lack of the word 'virtualisation', which has almost been airbrushed out of the picture, Stalin-style.

Ross Parker, the company's Northern European sales director, admits that although storage virtualisation was a hot topic a year ago, very few people actually bought it.

The problem was a classic one: as a technology, virtualisation was an answer in search of a question - and it was a question that most companies were not asking. So FalconStor and competitors such as DataCore, Softek and HP have had to rethink, instead coming up with storage management software that just happens to sit on top of a virtualisation layer.

FalconStor now describes IPStor v4 as network storage infrastructure software, though Parker offers the more acronym-friendly 'storage network infrastructure management.'

"It's still virtualisation but with services on top," he says. "What we've had to do is focus on the problems that customers need to address. Now it's where does the technology fit and how do we make it fit?"

Those services therefore include storage failover and replication, data migration, and the ability to simulate a tape library on disk for faster backup. IPStor v4 also enables storage to be pooled according to criteria such as its performance and availability. Data can then be allocated to the class of storage appropriate to its importance or role within the business.

"The problems really are there, but people tend to ignore them or find complex ways around them," Parker says. Virtualisation as an underlying tool is gradually winning converts though: HDS recently signed up to use IPStor to power a data migration appliance, for example.

"Our strength is we can come in and solve one problem, then we have the foundation to solve others," Parker adds. "We'll sell solutions, then we can create new opportunities from those customers with relatively little pain for them." ®

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