The Falcon to soar again

One of the historical feats which had me mesmerized for a long time was the 14-year journey China’s imperial treasures took to escape the Japanese invasion in the early 1930s, sandwiched between rebellions and civil wars in China. More than 20,000 pieces of the imperial treasures took a perilous journey to the west and back again. Divided into 3 routes over a decade and four years, not a single piece of treasure was broken or lost. All in the name of preservation.

Today, that 20,000 over pieces live in perpetuity in 2 palaces – Beijing Palace Museum in China and National Palace Museum Taipei in Taiwan

Digital data preservation

Digital data preservation is on another end of the data lifecycle spectrum. More often than not, it is not the part that many pay attention to. In the past 2 decades, digital data has grown so much that it is now paramount to keep the data forever. Mind you, this is not the data hoarding kind but to preserve the knowledge and wisdom which is in the digital content of the data.

[ Note: If you are interested to know more about Data -> Information -> Knowledge -> Wisdom, check out my 2015 article on LinkedIn ]

SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) conducted 2 surveys – one in 2007 and another in 2017 – called the 100 Year Archive, and found that the requirement for preserving digital data has grown multiple folds over the 10 years. In the end, the final goal is to ensure that the perpetual digital contents are

  • Accessible
  • Undamaged
  • Usable

All at an affordable cost. Therefore, SNIA has the vision that the digital content must transcend beyond the storage medium, the storage system and the technology that holds it.

The Falcon reemerges

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to speak with Falconstor® Software‘s David Morris (VP of Global Product Strategy & Marketing) and Mark Delsman (CTO). It was my first engagement with Falconstor® in almost 9 years! I wrote a piece of Falconstor® in my blog in 2011.

I have been an industry pundit in South East Asia for some time now, and I have followed the development of Falconstor® over that time. I have seen the ups and downs of the company but lately, it has enjoyed a stronger stability and consistency in its business. The chart compiled by Blocks & Files is showing good promise in its P&L that the Falcon is reemerging from the ashes of the past.

And leading that positive charge is better clarity of who they are, what they are best at. They have positioned their business into 2 categories:

The “Data Centric” meaning

In its marcom messaging, the “Data Centric” words caught me. To the naked eye, it probably has little context of what the meaning was. But as I drilled deeper into the new StorSafe™ technology and where it was meant to go, the true meaning of “Data Centric” became clear. The intent and its objective is beyond digital archiving and leading towards digital content and assets preservation. When positioned with the SNIA 100-Year Archive initiatives, StorSafe™ is leading towards digital data preservation that can transcend digital formats, the storage medium and the technology. Rather than considerations of whether it is LTO-7 or -8, or tar/zip/cpio formats, StorSafe™ keeps the data apart from the formats, the systems and the technology which are bounded by obsolescence. With this system-level agnostics approach, the concentration to focus on very long-term archive and the digital preservation of the data becomes the central, thus Data Centric.

Here is a piece of commentary about StorSafe™ from Falconstor®’s website.

Rebuilding the new Falconstor®

CEO Todd Brooks was appointed in 2017. He and his executive team have been crafting the right steps to restore Falconstor® Software back to its glory days. Rebuilding is not easy but the light at the end of the tunnel appears to be getting brighter. In his 2018 interview below, he spoke about the company’s pioneering and innovative DNA and how he was rebuilding the company to refocus on what it did best, as part of his turnaround strategy.

The focus on Data Mastery surfaced as the metaphoric meme “All the wood behind one arrow head (according to urban legend, popularized by Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems CEO)”. The target of the arrow? See below – The Falconstor® Data Mastery Platform.

The continuing building efforts

In South East Asia, the downturn of Falconstor® Software in the past years took its toll. Albeit a smaller team now, I knew the guys, past and present, who ran South East Asia here from the Malaysia office for many years and it was business as usual for them. But about 2 months ago, when I started posting news about Falconstor® in the online storage technology community which I run or on social media platforms or just having chats in my business network, their presence and existence were questioned in every single one.

There is no doubt that the finicky and dependent culture of South East Asia customers and resellers on Falconstor® will always lead to the pinkish health of the company. And the P&L chart I shared above will give the company a better footing to show that the company, Falconstor® Software is soaring again. I definitely think there is still much to do, and a stronger awareness of the company needs to be laid out to win back its supporters and its doubters.

I have full confidence of Falconstor®’s technology. It has shown in the past that it can deliver, but the clarity of its future was in doubt for many years. I will leave the deep dive of the StorSafe™ technology for another day, but I am confident Falconstor® is coming back as it rises again.

[ Note: I hope to go into a deeper dive of its technology in my next blog. Hope to put it into the queue soon. Stay tuned ]

[ Note: Sincere thanks to Georgiana Comsa of Silicon Valley PR for setting up the conversation with Falconstor® Software ]

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About cfheoh

I am a technology blogger with 30 years of IT experience. I write heavily on technologies related to storage networking and data management because those are my areas of interest and expertise. I introduce technologies with the objectives to get readers to know the facts and use that knowledge to cut through the marketing hypes, FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and other fancy stuff. Only then, there will be progress. I am involved in SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) and between 2013-2015, I was SNIA South Asia & SNIA Malaysia non-voting representation to SNIA Technical Council. I currently employed at iXsystems as their General Manager for Asia Pacific Japan.

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