FalconStor adds end-to-end predictive analytics to software-defined storage platform

FalconStor supplements their FreeStor platform introduced last year with Intelligent Predictive Analytics, which provides both real-time and historical analytics to optimize management.

Tim Sheets Falconstor

Tim Sheets, FalconStor’s VP, Global Marketing & Enablement

Melville NY-based FalconStor Software, which a year ago rebooted itself with the launch of its FreeStor converged software-defined storage and data services platform, has announced FreeStor’s enhancement with new intelligent predictive analytics to better manage and monitor business-critical data.

“We went into general availability with FreeStor last year and have had a lot of success,” said Tim Sheets, FalconStor’s VP, Global Marketing & Enablement. In 2015, they had over 170 customers deploy it, with over 11 PB under management.

FalconStor has been using a three-pronged GTM approach – SSD and hybrid flash OEMs, MSPs and enterprise sales.

“We have been getting a lot of traction with this in managed services,” Sheets said. “Ricoh is a major customer there. People know them from copiers, but their second largest business is managed services, and they brought us in for that. LG is using us to deliver Korea’s first DR as-a-service.

“The traction with the first two groups, got us into the enterprise, and today 23 per cent of the Global 500 use us,” Sheets said.

FalconStor began as a storage virtualization vendor in the very early days of that market – really before the market was established. When key vendors decided to create these types of services on their own, FalconStor wound up living off OEM relationships which forced them to abandon their initial plan to provide a unified platform of services, and left them with a lot of point solutions.

FreeStor was implemented by a new CEO as a fresh start, with a horizontal converged platform of all their offerings which had previously been point solutions, all of them updated and modernized, and capable of being installed agnostically on any server. Through the FreeStor Intelligent Abstraction Layer, four core use services are provided through a single management interface – data migration; protection and recovery; optimized backup and deduplication; and always-on capability. Today they are limited to block storage, but are looking at file and object storage down the road.

“We sit in the data path and that gives us a unique position, and can do it behind a single pane of glass, providing an end-to-end holistic view that looks across the siloes,” Sheets said. “SRM [storage resource management] tools are great for virtual environments but don’t allow you to dig into the infrastructure like we do.”

The new Intelligent Predictive Analytics FalconStor is adding to FreeStor now extends that advantage.

“Adding predictive analytics to our platform is not just about improving TCO,” Sheets said. “Our goal is to give customers the information they need in context to take intelligent action.” Unlike array-based analytics, FreeStor’s Intelligent Predictive Analytics provides real-time and historical analytics across heterogeneous storage systems, allowing users to take intelligent action based on real-time information to optimize and maintain their storage environment.

Sheets acknowledged that analytics capabilities were an initial gap in the FreeStor platform.

“Essentially, our analytics capability was writing a script,” he said. “We didn’t have true monitoring tools. We could show what your capacity was at the LUN but couldn’t show you how it got there. For that, you would have used another tool.”

The technology to add the new capability came from an agreement FalconStor made with Cumulus Logic last September.

“We now have the excusive rights for that and we now have their head engineer on board. We were able to deliver the technology integration in a little less than nine months. It was a natural fit.”

Sheets said they expect the analytics capabilities will help them more in the higher part of the market.

“We will be focusing their more on the medium and larger enterprises, figuring the smaller ones are serviced by the MSPs,” he said.