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Tech Alert: Modernizing the Data Center Requires Intelligent Abstraction

FalconStor Software experts offer tips for rethinking the enablement of software-defined storage and cloud infrastructures

MELVILLE, N.Y., May 13th, 2015  As the needs and priorities of enterprise technology users have evolved to more flexible, mobile, and service-based models, software-defined and cloud data center infrastructures have captured increasing attention.  Regardless of the vendor, all modern infrastructures – characterized by standalone software suites or managed services that deliver advanced functions with greater simplicity, efficiency, and cost of ownership – must address how to non-disruptively evolve their infrastructure.  They cannot typically afford to start anew with “greenfield” deployments.  They must find a way to preserve existing investments and maximize ROI.

To do that, IT organizations need the capability to standardize tools, data services, and management horizontally across their infrastructure in a common way that is abstracted from the underlying hardware.  We call this concept, Intelligent Abstraction™.  This approach is the foundational enabler that will allow them to modernize while protecting investments and merge in new technologies without perpetuating new silos or adding complexity say experts at FalconStor Software Inc. (NASDAQ: FALC), a 15-year innovator in data protection, data mobility , and virtualization.  

Intelligent Abstraction refers to the de-coupling of applications, data, and workloads from physical hardware, networks and protocols using virtualization, data services, and policy-based automation. This software-defined approach to storage collapses the traditional storage, network and data services layers into a single unified layer.  However, it should not be confused with hyper-converged architectures that include compute as part of the abstraction.  The Intelligent Abstraction approach enables users to purchase a mixture of storage and compute that is optimized and tuned for business, application and budget requirements.  Removing the “storage intelligence” from the hardware frees the infrastructure from vendor lock-in, and allows the deployment of cost-effective and truly agile infrastructures. Fundamentally, Intelligent Abstraction empowers organizations to realize gains in multiple areas:

  • Agility - Data mobility, adaptability to new technology and platforms
  • Reduced Risk - Continuous data availability, reduce human errors 
  • Efficiency - Improved utilization, cost optimization of infrastructure
  • Productivity - Simplification and automation  

“Over the past decade, we have seen the services-abstraction approach deliver results for the compute and network layers.  Until now, this approach for storage has been more of a concept or only been delivered in pieces or parts. The reality is that it has not been fully unified across entire storage infrastructures in a truly agnostic manner that provides universal gains,” said Rob Zecha, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer at FalconStor. “We no longer view the data center as a mass of complex hardware, networks, and protocols – we see it as aggregated, integrated resources or assets that can be provisioned and orchestrated as needed to solve problems and deliver consistent data access and services to the business. Data is the fastest growing asset a company has today.  They need a way to manage, move and protect that data in a way that optimizes their business while controlling costs. De-coupling storage management and intelligence from the hardware is critical to the path forward.”

When modernizing an infrastructure, most organizations cannot afford to throw everything out and start over.  They need the ability to improve the usefulness of the existing storage infrastructure and storage hardware. They need a full portfolio of data services that are common across the entire infrastructure and applications, not specific to individual storage systems.  The Intelligent Abstraction approach allows common data services to be integrated gradually, giving organizations the ability to evolve their infrastructure in a planned, predictable manner.  As a result, existing infrastructures can be utilized longer, providing a better return on investment.  New technology can be introduced in a less disruptive manner…from moving data to the new storage platform to having shared data services, all while minimizing device management silos, reducing operational complexity, and faster time to implementation.  

By having truly software-defined storage services abstracted from the hardware, those services can now be universally deployed as needed by data lifecycles.  These data services should be horizontal – across the entire landscape of the storage infrastructure – to eliminate silos and complexity and deliver unified, converged capabilities across the entire environment. Data mobility, continuity, protection, recovery, optimization, reporting, and provisioning processes can then be performed through a single management interface on any resource, including arrays, servers, hypervisors, and the cloud. Organizations need the ability to provision and orchestrate capacity and data services optimized to the application, business and budget, all without the constraints of having to stop and get additional licenses, or pay for additional services.  They need a way to deliver capabilities consistently across and entire infrastructure without restriction.  

Data services based on Intelligent Abstraction are implemented at the network fabric layer to dispense with firmware and storage licensing costs. As a result, everything from new storage technology, enterprise array-class storage, and existing assets, whether on-premise, remotely located or in the cloud, can be incorporated into modernizing the data center. 

Also central to Intelligent Abstraction is automation that removes the burden of day-to-day maintenance, reduces errors, and enables rapid problem resolution.  In addition to adding policy-based applications to enhance data protection and recovery, all backup processes are eliminated in favor of continuous protection at the Intelligent Abstraction layer.  Data services based on this layer can dynamically adjust to assure stringent service levels across all storage tiers and all applications. Migrating and mobilizing data or applications are also automated to provide service to any user, group, or location. 

“Intelligent Abstraction is a foundation for optimizing IT infrastructure and operations, and can have a dramatic, positive effect on costs, time, and complexity,” said Rob Zecha. 

For more detail on applying these principles in the modern data center, download the white paper, “Intelligent Abstraction: Optimizing Data Services in the Enterprise” at  http://falconstor.com/intelligent_abstraction

About FalconStor Software
FalconStor Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: FALC) is transforming how enterprises move, store, protect and optimize data.  Founded in 2000, FalconStor offers an award-winning platform for data migration, business continuity, disaster recovery, optimized backup and deduplication.  FalconStor helps maximize data availability and system uptime to ensure nonstop business productivity, while simplifying data management to reduce operational costs. Our open, integrated software solutions reduce vendor lock-in and give enterprises the freedom to choose the applications and hardware components that make the best sense for their business. FalconStor solutions are available and supported by OEMs, as well as leading system integrators and resellers worldwide. FalconStor is headquartered in Melville, N.Y. with offices throughout Europe and the Asia Pacific region. For more information, visit www.falconstor.com or call 1-866-NOW-FALC (866-669-3252).

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FalconStor and FalconStor Software are trademarks or registered trademarks of FalconStor Software, Inc., in the U.S. and other countries. All other company and product names contained herein may be trademarks of their respective holders.



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