More notes on supplier presence at Storage Expo in alphabetical order: Data Domain; FalconStor; Infortrend; Left Hand Networks; and Onaro.

Data Domain

Kevin Platz, Data Domain MD for EMEA sales, was a pleased man due to the following sequence of numbers: 2004 - $800K; 2005 - $8.1 million; 2006 - $47 million; 2007 - $47 million in the first half. These are sales revenue numbers. He said: "We are the one vendor that has delivered on de-duplication's exponential potential."

The Data Domain (DD) pitch is that it does de-dupe fast enough to be used for tier two storage as well as for backup to disk/virtual tape systems. It sees a real-world de-dupe ratio of 20:1, meaning a 1TB drive array can hold 200TB of data.

Platz says DD can de-dupe at 220MB/sec throughput. This isn't fast enough for transactional storage but is fine for relatively static, nearline data. The bottleneck for DD's in-line de-dupe is the chip. Currently it uses a 2-way processor. Platz says: "The technology will get faster and faster and become applicable to more types of data. With the coming 4-way processors we can increase performance 60 percent without adding new drivers, with no need for new code or more disks."

"We think it's possible to go on to primary storage. The inhibitor is speed. Within two or three chip generations we'll be at 400-500MB/sec throughput."

He says de-dupe can have a monstrously good effect on replication to remote sites with data streams shrunk to a twentieth of their raw size. Platz cited Telecom Italia which used it to eliminate the shipment of 60,000 tape cartridges a month between its datacentres.

What users can think of is having a second copy of archival data sent to a second machine in their datacentre in real time: "The ability to make copies becomes much easier. We'll have a second copy before you can do a backup. It's self-protecting data. With such de-dupe, data portability becomes much easier."

DD has two front end interfaces: VTL; and a CIFS/NFS one. Platz says more and more customers are opting for the simplicity of a CIFS/NFS interface over a VTL (virtual tape library) one. Veritas, Legato, etc, backup products can backup to a network-attached storage (NAS) box with CIFS/BFS just as easily to a VTL with traditional backup protocol.

Platz and DD are on a roll: sales are growing strongly; the product has a great go-faster roadmap; and it's green through reducing the disk storage needed by terabytes of data. In other words DD sales are set to carry on growing strongly because its products tick lots of current storage hot buttons.

FalconStor

FalconStor discussed two new virtual tape library (VTL) appliances: VTL-VA and VTL-S. The VTL-S is a software and hardware VTL appliance with de-duplication and a virtual tape library in one turnkey box. This combination of two functions in one box is said to be ideal for the SME market.

The VTL-VA is VTL-S software packaged as a virtual server.

Both are channel products and FalconStor will work with its channel partners to help them sell into the SME market.

It has no plans yet to extend its VTLs to other virtualisation platforms. They do have a customer using Xen on Germany but there is no specific product development here and its focus is on VMware.

FalconStor is selling more VTLs in Europe than in the USA. The new expertise centre in Toulouse helps this.