Virtual Iron, FalconStor Join Virtual Forces

Vendors buddy up around sales and marketing, but joint products are still some way out

January 10, 2008

3 Min Read
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Virtual Iron and FalconStor have joined forces in an attempt to tap the growing demand for virtualized data.

But the results are likely to disappoint those looking for real integration of server and storage virtualization.

Virtual Iron will now reference-sell FalconStor's Network Storage Server (NSS) and Continuous Data Protector (CDP) products, while the storage vendor reference-sells its partner's eponymous virtualization software.

The two firms have also certified each others' technology and are working to sell their products through joint resellers and systems integrators.

The FalconStor/Virtual Iron move follows a major partnership between XenSource, now part of Citrix, and Symantec last year. Under the terms of the deal, Symantec's Storage Foundation product line is being embedded into XenSource's XenEnterprise offering.The OEM deal, which was a clear shot across the bows of virtualization pioneer VMware, aims to streamline management by using Symantec's Volume Manager to control workloads on both virtual servers and storage.

Virtual Iron and FalconStor would not dismiss the possibility of opening up their APIs up to each other, although Mike Grandinetti, Virtual Iron's chief marketing officer, says many end-users just don't want it right now.

"Customers are not asking for that today," he says. Many smaller customers, he says, are just starting to explore both server and storage virtualization, and they're not ready to unify them in any way. It's easier for them to keep things simple while they learn the technology. It is challenging enough to move virtual machines between storage arrays without causing downtime interruptions.

There's also the matter of efficiency. "By joining everything onto one consolidated server, it could put quite a load on the system."

At least one analyst agrees that at this stage, integrated code offers relatively little benefit to users. "There's no need to combine anything today," says Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Mark Bowker. "In IT we already have multiple systems to manage, and that's what we're used to."The analyst also feels that both Virtual Iron and FalconStor are closing important gaps in their portfolios. "I think that there's value in this for both of them," says Bowker, explaining that Virtual Iron now gets access to data protection and storage migration features it did not have before, and FalconStor gets another route into the growing virtualization space.

FalconStor is already certified to work with VMware, although the ESG's Bowker argues that for some users, Virtual Iron could offer a more streamlined infrastructure.

Unlike VMware, with its VMFS feature, Virtual Iron does not have its own file system, meaning that users will not be left with two competing file systems when they deploy FalconStor. "There's a question of, 'When I implement VMFS, does that negate some of the features in the [FalconStor] storage system that I have already bought?'" says Bowker.

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  • Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)

  • FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC)

  • MPC Computers

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • Virtual Iron Software Inc.

  • VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)

  • XenSource Inc.0

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