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Fast ROI achieved at Insurance company with FaconStor VTL

FalconStor Software : 24 September, 2009  (Application Story)
Large Insurance Provider operating IBM System i and mainframes chooses Virtual Tape Library from FalconStor to achieve optimum backup performance
FalconStor Software has announced that a large international life insurance company has deployed FalconStor Virtual Tape Library (VTL) Enterprise Edition to optimize its backup performance across the company's open systems, IBM System i and IBM System z (mainframe) environments. This heterogeneous enterprise-wide installation demonstrates FalconStor's leadership in the VTL industry as the only vendor that can address all systems, from open systems in small to medium-size businesses to midrange servers and mainframes in large, distributed enterprises. FalconStor VTL connectivity to IBM System z is enabled by FalconStor's longstanding collaboration with Bus-Tech, which plays an important role in this customer solution.

The FalconStor VTL solution helped the insurance company bridge the gap between its mainframe and open systems, reducing IT complexity while controlling explosive data growth. The solution alleviated backup window and reliability issues, lowered operation costs and allowed the company to provide superior continuous service to customers for the highest return on investment (ROI).

This customer's experience further validates the results of a recent ROI customer survey sponsored by FalconStor and conducted by IDC, a leading global market intelligence and advisory firm. According to the survey, all customers who participated enjoyed considerable benefits from FalconStor solutions, including cost reductions, greater system availability and increased staff productivity.

Based on IDC's comprehensive survey metrics, the top three cost reductions that FalconStor solutions provide to end users result from (1) the ability to purchase cost-effective disk arrays from any vendor, (2) lower costs associated with tape and backup drives and (3) reduced new server purchases through decreased storage needs. According to the IDC ROI analysis, FalconStor customers:

• Reduced tape drive costs by an average of $162,000 annually
• Saved an average of $81,000 annually on storage hardware
• Increased staff productivity equal to one full-time employee
• Reduced the average number of critical system failures from 17 to 1 annually
• Achieved 448 percent ROI with a payback period of 5.5 months

"FalconStor differentiates itself in the VTL market by offering a broader data protection platform including a strategy and product set that expands well beyond only tape emulation," said Laura DuBois, research director, IDC Storage Software. "This strategy includes deduplication, encryption and mainframe connectivity, giving FalconStor VTL wide-ranging market appeal that provides meaningful ROI in data center environments of all sizes."

"We built our leadership in the VTL market by creating the most comprehensive, high-performance solution for the broadest base of customers of any vendor in the industry. We help enterprises of all sizes address the single most critical issue in backup: meeting the backup window," said ReiJane Huai, chairman and CEO of FalconStor Software. "IDC's ROI study corroborates what we have already experienced firsthand - that our customers are solving significant data protection problems, architecting more efficient IT operations and achieving outstanding ROI with FalconStor solutions."

The international insurance firm deployed FalconStor VTL throughout its three distributed data centres. In the IBM System z environment, they installed a high-availability (HA) pair of FalconStor VTL gateway appliances with a Sun STK 6140 disk array to ensure high-speed disk-based data protection. The IT team uses the Bus-Tech Mainframe Data Library model 100V, which allows the ESCON channel to connect with the IBM z and to process mainframe tape data to the industry-standard FalconStor VTL platform. The FalconStor VTL secure tape feature exports and encrypts mainframe tapes before shipping offsite for DR and vaulting.

'Bus-Tech's Mainframe Data Library works with FalconStor VTL to provide our mainframe and distributed systems customers access to the rich feature set and benefits of FalconStor's industry-leading virtual tape library solution,' said Ralph Armstrong, vice president of product management for Bus-Tech, Inc. 'Companies in today's economic climate are looking at ways to reduce cost. The ability to combine mainframe and distributed systems into a single converged data protection scheme is very attractive to a wide range of data centre managers.'

In the IBM System i environment, the insurance company uses a similar HA configuration. The IBM i host can directly connect with the FalconStor VTL system via a Fibre Channel (FC) port. A disk array with high-capacity SATA disks can emulate an IBM 3590 or 3584 tape drive with the magnetic tape data storage media formats that are accepted by the IBM i. To accommodate the large volume of data in the open systems environment, IT deployed two HA pairs of FalconStor VTL while running Veritas NetBackup to protect Oracle, AWD, Microsoft SQL Server and Lotus Notes applications on both UNIX and Microsoft Windows Servers.

The customer experienced significant benefits from implementing the FalconStor VTL solution. FalconStor VTL combines concurrent processing power with high-speed FC disk arrays, which enables high throughput. Backup data streams are no longer limited by the number of tape drives in the tape library and multiple data streams can be processed simultaneously. This has accelerated the batch processing of the backup procedures and improved performance in the mainframe environment by 30 to 40 percent. In the open systems environment, backup time has been reduced by 50 percent. The HA configuration improves backup system reliability two-fold and minimizes failure rates, which in turn saves time and human resources.

To read about our customers deploying FalconStor VTL in mainframe and distributed systems environments, visit the case study library on the FalconStor website.
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