FalconStor takes cautious steps into Canadian market

FalconStor Storage Inc., a new storage vendor in the U.S. market since April, has opened an office in Canada.

That office currently consists of Mira Sharma working from her home in Markham, Ont. “We’ve just started,” said Sharma, Canada country manager for FalconStor. “We don’t want to be like one of these new start-up companies, getting all these offices and spending too much money.”

The fledgling company has a distribution deal with Bell Microproducts Canada, who will push its product IPStor exclusively through the channel.

IPStor is storage networking software that allows customers to connect fibre channel to Internet protocol using gigabit ethernet. “The key thing that it does is the unification of standard space — NAS and SAN,” said Sharma. “(It’s) almost like an umbrella in that it allows them to virtualize everything on one storage pool and then you’re able to access and cross-share between those platforms.”

Additional services offered with IPStor include mirroring, replication, zero impact back-up and snapshot, she said. Compatibility with iSCSI and InfiniBand will be added later.

The company is being cautious with its foray into Canada, testing the market first before going ahead with plans to open offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal. Its distributor is being similarly cautious. “Our plans for FalconStor are very, very focused,” said Bell Micro Canada general manager Peter Diniz. IPStor requires a sophisticated understanding of the storage market and where it compliments other storage products like Computer Associates’ recently launched BrightStor, said Diniz. As a result, only a few VARs will be tapped to resell IPStor.

“It’s not like a commodity product whatsoever,” said Diniz. “End users will not pick up the phone and seek someone to sell them FalconStor. . . . It involves very, very strategic and tactical planning in terms of identifying target customers.”

FalconStor’s U.S. parent, headquartered in Melville, N.Y., was founded last year and went public this August through a reverse merger with Network Peripherals Inc. The company also has a deal with Bell Micro’s U.S operations and distributor is using IPStor internally to replicate data over IP between its Montgomery, Ala., and San Jose, Calif., data centres.

Sharma identifies Internet data centres as a good Canadian customer prospect for FalconStor, as well as large enterprises with 10 or more servers. According to Bell Micro’s Diniz, Fortune 100 companies in Canada may be a target market.

Before joining FalconStor recently, Sharma was alliance manager for system integrators at Cisco Systems Canada.

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