Feeds

Spectra unveils TOP SECRET tape-based object store Black Pearl

Boulder bods about to set sail – you heard it here first

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Spectra Logic is introducing a tape-based object store which uses its Deep Simple Storage Services interface and its mysterious Black Pearl appliance.

The thinking is that tape has to change from being a target for expensive and complex middleware to becoming just another storage medium. Using a flash cache with object-storing software is the way to do it.

DS3

Spectra is announcing a new interface to modernise tape library usage. Its tape libraries will be accessed via:

  • Traditional backup using files
  • Active archiving of files
  • Storing data in buckets

Bucket storage is accomplished with Spectra's Deep Simple Storage Services, DS3, which is Amazon's S3 plus four extra commands. Think of the buckets as collections of data plus metadata. Buckets are designed to optimise the use of tape, whereas sending folders to tape, with LTFS, doesn't optimise its use as most folders are smaller than a tape's capacity.

A weather model bucket might contain, for example, all the information known about Hurricane Katrina.

There is a DS3 plug-in for Hadoop, and one of Hadoop's three file copies could be written to a Spectra archive as a bucket.

Spectra says DS3 access will be added to its disk arrays over time. Molly Rector, Spectra's chief marketing officer, said DS3 is not Fibre Channel, not a historic tape access format and not proprietary - like StorNext.

DS3 is a protocol and needs software to read and write with it. That's where Black Pearl comes in.

Black Pearl

Jack Sparrow's BlackPearl

Black Pearl

The Black Pearl appliance is a solid state tape library cache which turns a tape library into an object store. It is a 2U server with software running inside a virtual machine in server. This software provides tape library management, and will look after media management, such as migrating from LTO-6 to a future format such as LTO-7.

SSDs are used to cache data and Fibre Channel inks the appliance to a back-end Spectra Logic tape library.

This appliance combines files and folders into buckets. These are flatter than existing file/folder systems with their nested folders, and buckets could hold trillions of files. A bucket is an object and can store objects within itself. An object can store a file or lots of files.

Files and/or folders are sent to Black Pearl and cached in the SSDs until a bucket is full. Then the bucket is written to tape and the cycle starts again.

Rector says that disk-based object storage suppliers could use DS3 to write their objects to tape, and points out: "Object stores don't come close to our cost/GB."

The Black Pearl appliance and DS3 change tape from being a target for specialist software and specialists to being a product for everybody. Rector said: "Nobody is getting trained to write software for tape libraries using existing interfaces."

With the BlackPearl/DS3 combination tape becomes just another storage medium: "All the tape complexity goes away into the library robot."

Tapes can offload filers and become a store for old files, for the web, for archives and objects. It can be used, Rector says, in the private cloud market.

And nTier Verde?

Where does Spectra's nTier Verde disk array fit in? Why, it can run the Black Pearl software, of course, pushing data through it and DS3 to a back-end tape object store, thus provide a spinning and reeling 2-tier archival storage system.

The nTier Verde news. from last month is now revealed for what it was, a building block helping construct a combined disk and tape archive infrastructure with tiering from disk - nearline archive - to tape - offline archive.

The nTier Verde operating system is a port of ZFS to BSD.

Rector says that customers with Black Pearl and a Spectra tape library "can own their own [Amazon] Glacier."

She says Black Pearl makes tape libraries eminently suitable for big data and Spectra has some very big customers, like Yahoo!, the Discovery Channel and Nascar.

Spectra is announcing a DS3 developers' program with a downloadable simulator. We haven't seen BlackPearl pricing and availability information yet. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.