FalconStor FDS SA101

FalconStor’s latest FDS SA101 data deduplication appliance has a range of unusual data reduction features. It performed very well in our lab tests but is expensive so read this review before buying to find out if it’s worth the extra cash.

You then use the FDS Console utility which is installed directly from the web interface. FalconStor supports Symantec's OpenStorage (OST) API allowing it to work with NetBackup's data mover function and the plug-in is installed from here as well.

The FDS Console takes a while to get to grips with as it's not as the one included with Quantum's DXi4520 which is more intuitive. We also found the documentation all too brief and lacking in detailed explanations of the various features.

Even so, FalconStor has a lot more deduplication options making the SA101 very flexible. Policies are configured at the appliance level in the Console and you have three options where you can allow it to run automatically as data is being received.

It can be run to a schedule where you set a start date and time and opt to have it recurring hourly, daily, weekly or monthly and add exclusion periods. Alternatively, you can take full manual control and fire up deduplication tasks on demand. Policies include file exclusions with a list of file extensions that you don't want deduplicated. You can also exclude files smaller than a certain size and specify creation and last access dates as criteria.

The Hosted Backup feature allows backup software installed directly on the appliance to use local deduplicated shares without having to go outside the box. However, FalconStor advised us that there are few backup products that can run on its Linux operating system, so it's currently of limited value.

To test deduplication ratios we ran our own standard set of lab tests that look at file server performance. We used a 4GB data set consisting of 1,000 files and introduced controlled changes within a percentage of the files during a simulated strategy of daily incremental and weekly full backups.

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