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FalconStor wants to WORM your disk arrays

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We've had optical WORMs and tape WORMs, and now it's hard drives, as FalconStor adds write-once capabilities to its IPStor storage management and virtualisation software.

This WORMLock option is the key addition to IPStor v4.5, announced this week. The idea is that enterprises will use IPStor to manage tiers of storage, one of which is bulk hard disk used as a content store for regulatory compliance and long-term archiving.

"WORM volumes are similar to NAS volumes but with additional properties to do with data retention," says John Lallier, FalconStor's technology veep. These could include policies to delete data at end of life, for example, as well as replicating or mirroring it in the meantime.

"You can't change the retention policy - well, you can lengthen it, but not shorten it," Lallier says. "You could destroy the data too, but you can't alter it and pass it off as the original."

IPStor can manage both networked and direct-attached storage, provisioning it across iSCSI and Fibre Channel. The new version also adds a number of features to do with data protection and NAS, including support for Samba v3.0 and integration with Microsoft Active Directory and Novell eDirectory.

"It's storage middleware," says Lallier. "We provide no hardware, so it is hardware-agnostic and in many cases operating system-agnostic too." FalconStor already supports Intel Itanium and Sun 64-bit hardware, and is working on 64-bit support for AMD Opteron next, with Intel's extended IA-64 processors to follow.

"We support Itanium for a Fibre Channel host but haven't seen much call for the agents - I don't know if it's used much outside labs doing 64-bit research," Lallier says. "Opteron and extended-Intel will give much the same benefit, but at a lower box price, and as the standard platform gets more powerful, our software get more powerful.

"AMD now leads in this area, I think it took advantage of Intel's Itanium decision - by and large, Itanium was too big a jump. The AMD HyperTransport architecture gives access to greater memory and storage capacity, so Sun E10000-level features can now be done with simple Linux-based systems. I'm not writing Intel off though - if anyone can change direction, Intel can."

He adds that FalconStor will show IPStor 4.5 at next month's Storage Expo in London. ®

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