Virtual Tape Library (VTL) with Deduplication

FalconStor® Virtual Tape Library with Deduplication is a disk-based solution that optimizes tape backup and restore, thereby improving performance and enabling rapid remote disaster recovery (DR). This solution unifies NAS and VTL technologies to enhance legacy backup with a more flexible data protection architecture and by utilizing deduplication capability reduces physical storage needs and costs.

Designed with flexibility in mind, this solution can be installed at the edge of an organization as a preconfigured storage appliance, in VMware infrastructures as a preconfigured virtual appliance, as well as at the data center or DR site by using high availability (HA). WAN-optimized replication enables cost-effective DR, also setting the stage for cost-effective cloud initiatives. Benefits include capacity reduction, longer data retention, improved restore times, and increased data reliability through the elimination of tape shipments. For the security-minded organization, complex passwords and customizable account lockout policies add additional layers of security without compromising performance.


  • Exploding data growth
    • Data grows at a rate of 50-60% annually
    • Searching for data across multiple backups & locations
  • Growing costs
    • Increased spending on storage systems
    • Shrinking IT budgets
    • Longer retention policies require more storage & tape media
    • Skyrocketing WAN requirements, increasing monthly bandwidth cost
  • Performance challenges
    • Inability to meet recovery times (RTO, RPO)
    • Difficulty meeting backup windows
    • In D2D environments, tape creation is disruptive to production backup
  • Data reliability
    • Difficulty meeting regulatory compliance requirements
    • Longer retention times to meet demanding SLAs
    • Improve reliability of backup/recovery
    • Unreliable data recovery from tape media


Growing data volumes, the proliferation of server virtualization, and the increased dependence on data availability are all presenting new challenges for legacy backup and recovery solutions. These demands are compounded by shrinking budgets and increased complexities caused by the expansion of remote offices. Today’s enterprise data centers manage large heterogeneous environments, often with hundreds of servers running various operating systems and applications, generating petabytes of data.

In some cases, traditional tape backup has been replaced by disk-to-disk (D2D) backup to accelerate backup/recovery processes and improve operational efficiencies. However, explosive data growth drives up storage costs. Each time a full backup is performed, a great deal of redundant data is stored. This also applies to duplicate data within a backup job, across servers, and across backup jobs (full and incremental), leading to multiple copies taking up valuable disk capacity.


FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication is a comprehensive backup solution that provides a holistic approach to backup and recovery, helping overcome the obstacles of legacy backup. It integrates non-disruptively with tape- and network-based file infrastructures, providing longer data retention and improved restore times while increasing data reliability. A centrally managed, multi-node, HA global deduplication architecture scales to accommodate the data protection needs of remote offices and large data centers alike. This solution provides heterogeneous support for major operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Unix, and Linux, as well as an extensive list of certified backup software applications. Additionally, it offers native support for IBM environments for the enterprise, and NDMP support for the backup of industry-standard NAS devices.


Designed as an enterprise-class solution, FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication can achieve single node aggregate backup speeds of up to 11.2TB/hr, allowing users to solve the single biggest issue in backup: meeting the backup window.


FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication is the only solution that can independently scale HA backup nodes from cluster deduplication nodes to handle large data sets and extremely demanding backup windows. It is also one of the only solutions that can deduplicate data seamlessly across nodes without a predefined node/controller designation. For increased design flexibility, deduplication processing can be physically separated from virtual tape backup processing by running each process on a separate server. The Single Instance Repository (SIR) deduplication engine offers 4-node clustering with an N+1 failover architecture. Multiple nodes can run as a single logical repository. If one node fails, the standby node (+1) automatically takes over its workload to ensure continuity.


Deduplication eliminates redundant data and retains only unique instances on disk, reducing capacity requirements by as much as 95% (based on an average 20:1 deduplication ratio) and allowing you to keep weeks’ or months’ worth of data on disk for fast, dependable restore. Users can assign specific policies to individual deduplication, replication, and tape output jobs. This solution provides the flexibility to select the deduplication policy that best aligns performance to business requirements: Inline minimizes storage requirements and replicates sooner. Post-process helps meet tight backup windows. Concurrent makes the best use of CPU resources, especially in clustered environments. No deduplication works best for data that does not deduplicate effectively or will be archived to tape.Combined with high-speed protocols such as 8Gb Fibre Channel (FC) and 10GbE, this solution can sustain deduplication rates of up to 10TB/hr per node, linearly scaling in performance to a sustained deduplication rate of 40TB/hr.

How it works
The FalconStor SIR deduplication engine examines the data stream, checking for blocks of data that are identical and removing redundant copies. Data indexing ensures that all of the data can be recovered. When a file read request is initiated for data restore, the deduplication system can detect the links and read the blocks.


FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication offers simplified, non-disruptive integration with backup environments. With the choice of NAS and VTL interfaces, it seamlessly integrates with major backup software, database utilities, archiving applications, virtual machine data, and manual file copy methods. There is little or no need to change D2D backup applications or file and data archiving processes. By offering an extensive, certified set of tape libraries and drives, including IP, FC SAN, and Symantec OpenStorage (OST) protocols for SAN and IP, this solution provides higher backup throughput and faster backup to disk. Backup methods and policies do not have to change in order for performance and reliability to improve drastically.

How it works
FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication emulates over 50 popular tape libraries and 30 tape drive formats, ensuring easy and transparent integration into existing environments without the need to reconfigure backup jobs. Format awareness for over 32 backup formats maximizes detection of duplicate data, guaranteeing that the same data is aligned the same way each time and improving deduplication efficiency by as much as 40% over generic, fixed, block deduplication methods. Simultaneous support for NDMP, CIFS/NFS, Symantec OST, and IBM environments provides non-disruptive support for all backup applications in an enterprise.


Many data centers require both disk and tape for tiered backup and archive/compliance needs. FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication seamlessly bridges physical and virtual tape operations through best-of-breed tape management. By integrating seamlessly with the tape environment, this solution streamlines operations, preventing isolated silos of backup and unnecessary overhead.

How it works
A physical tape library can be FC zoned to the solution device so that data can be imported from tape to disk or exported from disk to tape. For DR, deduplicated tapes that have been replicated can be exported, making data directly accessible from the tape. Backup software can use its own “tape copy” function to create physical copies from a virtual tape library. A built-in auto-archive feature can automatically export modified data to tape.


Automated tape caching enhances the functionality of Optimized Backup & Deduplication by acting as a cache to the physical tape library, providing transparent access to data regardless of location. With automated tape caching, tapes always appear to be inside virtual libraries and are always visible to the backup application. The backup application always has direct access to data.

How it works
A tape caching policy contains data migration triggers that determine which events will activate an action and when it will occur. Tape caching policies are very flexible and can be defined to automatically trigger migration to physical tapes immediately or at a specific time. Data is written to physical tape transparently in the background, without impacting production servers.


Because backup jobs rarely match the exact size of the target tape, space often gets wasted. Tape consolidation writes multiple virtual tapes to a single physical tape, maximizing utilization of physical media. This significantly reduces the amount of cartridges used, shipped, and stored, lowering overall costs. In fact, the cost savings that can result from tape consolidation alone is often enough to enable a return on investment (ROI) in Optimized Backup & Deduplication.

How it works
Tape consolidation allows the conversion of virtual media with a smaller capacity to physical media with a higher capacity (i.e. DLT to LTO). This allows newer, larger capacity physical tape formats to be deployed into the backup infrastructure. There is no need to reconfigure backup jobs, which can continue to run to virtual tapes based on the original assigned tape format.


Organizations often need to create multiple copies of tapes to meet service level agreements (SLAs) and regulatory requirements. Optimized Backup & Deduplication provides multi-tape export, which creates multiple copies of physical tapes. This increases IT productivity, eliminating the need for manual tape duplication or scripting.

How it works
FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication can create up to five physical copies of virtual tapes as part of automated tape caching or an auto-archive policy; or it can occur during manual export of a single tape. When data is exported, separate jobs are created for each physical tape copy, and each job is assigned a unique job ID so that it can be tracked, monitored, and recovered.


To ensure data integrity, FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication provides a full set of features to secure data on backup media, during replication, and at rest. Encryption in-flight protects data during replication while supporting Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2 compliance. Support for complex passwords, user account lockout and password expiration limits system access to only designated users. A secure tape export feature provides comprehensive data integrity for storage and migration. In addition, integrated tape shredding destroys all of the data on virtual tape during deletion, for optimal security.

How it works
Secure Tape Export. This solution enables the creation of encryption keys using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128- or 256-bit key algorithm. When data is exported to physical tape, an encryption key must be selected. When that physical tape is imported, the same key must be used to decrypt the data and enable it to be read. Each key consists of a secret phrase and is password-protected. A single key may be applied to all virtual tapes when exported to physical tape, or a unique key may be created for each physical tape. Tape Shredding. Tape shredding performs a three-pass wipe of the selected virtual tapes using an algorithm specified by the U.S. Department of Defense (Standard 5220.22-M), helping IT managers meet security and regulatory compliance requirements. Encryption at Rest. By creating encryption keys using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit key algorithm. All data written to virtual tape and stored in the deduplication repository will be stored in an encrypted state. Encrypted data can be replicated to both encrypted and non encrypted virtual tape libraries.



FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication supports both one-to-one and many-to-one replication of deduplicated data, enabling consolidation at a centralized site. With standalone storage appliances deployed at each site, deduplicated virtual tapes in remote locations can be globally replicated via the WAN to the data center, where data is aggregated into a clustered repository of globally unique data. Data from remote sites can be exported to physical tape at the central site as needed, eliminating tape entirely at remote sites.

How it works
WAN-optimized replication includes global deduplication, which scans data prior to transmission to determine if it already exists in the central site. Only unique missing data blocks are sent over the wire, reducing bandwidth requirements by as much as 95%, along with associated costs. Compression and bandwidth throttling further optimize WAN utilization. Data can be encrypted in-flight and validated at the DR site to provide data assurance. Additionally, Optimized Backup & Deduplication supports FC replication, a unique feature that enables large data centers to support “dark fibre” links to their DR sites, drastically improving replication and restore performance.


FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication includes the industry’s first FC SAN target for the Symantec OST protocol, accelerating backup from Symantec NetBackup Media Servers and enabling transparent operations including single-pane-of-glass management, high performance, and catalog consistency during Symantec duplication (replication) and tape operations. Additionally, this solution can operate in a mixed mode, combining Symantec OST logical storage units and virtual tape data from other backup applications. Optimized APIs and the ability to support up to 250,000 images enable the most efficient storage utilization.

How it works
An OpenStorage option interfaces with Symantec NetBackup, enabling the NetBackup server to perform high-speed backup and recovery to intelligent disk devices over FC. As the FalconStor solution uses disk to emulate physical tape, this option provides an additional disk view through NetBackup. FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication supports Symantec Optimized Duplication, which provides integrated replication to local or remote DR sites. The solution also allows CIFS/NFS and Symantec OST LSU shares to operate simultaneously so multiple users and applications can share the deduplication target residing in a common repository.


For simplified, comprehensive management, FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication offers a host of administration features, including extensive command line functionality, historical and real-time reporting, email alerts, and group-based policy management, all via a centralized management console. Additionally, it provides SNMP support for integration with existing enterprise management solutions, such as HP OpenView, CA Unicenter, IBM environments and BMC Patrol.

How it works
Easy-to-use wizards allow you to configure and manage users and administrators, add/configure clients, set server properties, monitor activity, create deduplication policies, monitor deduplication, replicate data, and manage the import/export of tapes. Users can also monitor the status of total storage capacity, used storage capacity, and available storage capacity, and run and/or view reports. Predefined enterprise-level reports help manage and monitor FalconStor clusters, disk space usage, physical resource allocation, comprehensive status information, and storage and performance trending for optimal capacity planning.


Designed with your organization’s size and unique needs in mind, FalconStor Optimized Backup & Deduplication is available in several form factors:

  • Software Only: Provides the flexibility to choose the hardware and configuration appropriate for the level of protection and recovery required.
  • Virtual Appliance: For VMWare infrastructures scaling from 1TB - 10TB
  • Storage Appliance for ROBO and Midmarket: For remote/branch office (ROBO) and midmarket environments, scaling from 12TB - 192TB.
  • Cluster Deduplication Gateway for Midmarket and Enterprise: HA cluster deduplication gateways that integrate with certified existing SAN storage, scaling to 2PB of usable storage for midmarket organizations, enterprises, and large enterprises.

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