Get to Know Spectra Logic’s BlackPearl Client Partners: Globus

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Through key technology partnerships, Spectra Logic is able to deliver industry-leading BlackPearl-based storage solutions to the world’s largest data creators. In the coming months, we will be highlighting our BlackPearl certified partners and clients through a Q&A blog series on our website. This week’s blog will spotlight Globus – the de facto standard service for research data management. Together, Spectra Logic and Globus deliver a fully integrated storage solution built to transfer, share and publish data with ease and reliability between Globus users, reducing overall data management time, cost and complexities.


Learn more in our interview below with Steve Tuecke, Globus Co-Founder and Project Lead.

Name of the BlackPearl Client: Globus for Spectra BlackPearl

Spectra Logic: Describe how the solution works.
Globus: This solution is designed for the way research-centric environments work; typically researchers need to work actively with data for a short period (e.g. for analysis and sharing), perhaps spanning a few months — so they need immediate access across near-term storage (fast, modest cost, archive disk). The activity then dissipates to the point where they need only occasional access to the longer-term storage tiers (slower, inexpensive, archive tape). Thus, what’s required is a solution that enables this blended access at the near-term and longer-term tiers, which is also easy to use and administer, seamless, and cost-effective.

That’s precisely how the Globus for BlackPearl solution was built. It’s a turnkey solution that maps to the real-world research data lifecycle, where users need to manage and access data across both near-term and long-term storage tiers. This solution provides the flexibility to set up disk and/or tape based storage with unique policies determining where data lives — and then enables fast, seamless access to this storage from anywhere, anytime.

Spectra Logic: What are the ideal markets/ vertical industries for the solution?
Globus: With the Globus for BlackPearl solution, the ideal market is any environment where users need reliable, scalable, inexpensive research data storage with a simple, powerful interface across all their storage tiers.

Within HPC centers, we are seeing an increasing need to provide a middle data storage tier between the expensive, fast HPC scratch file system and the cheap, slow, purely tape-based archive. The Globus for BlackPearl solution lets customers service that middle tier (data that’s not in scratch but still being actively accessed) with a turnkey solution that just works, and which seamlessly transitions to long-term tape-based archival storage.

Beyond HPC, Globus for BlackPearl allows research organizations to deploy a single, turnkey solution for all research data, with policies for determining which data to keep on fast disk so as to be immediately available to research teams, and which data to archive onto inexpensive, reliable tape. All with the simple, powerful Globus interface. Other vertical markets that typically leverage Globus software include research computing centers at universities, federal agencies and national computing facilities; R&D departments at pharmaceutical/life sciences companies; and data intensive businesses such as oil & gas and media & entertainment organizations.

Spectra Logic: What are some of the biggest challenges ends user face today, that led you to develop this solution?
Globus: End users at many organizations are starving for cost-effective, reliable storage that allows them to self-manage access to their data throughout its lifecycle. The challenges we are trying to address with Globus for BlackPearl are around providing access to cost-effective storage for research data that fills the gap between high-cost, high performance storage systems (like GPFS and Lustre based file systems) and low-cost, lower performing/off-line storage (like traditional tape archives). Also, research facilities and universities face challenges with needing to deploy tiered storage solutions that can be easily accessed by end users and easily managed by administrators; that’s another big need that drove the development of Globus for BlackPearl.

Spectra Logic: What three benefits will end user realize from implementing the solution?
Globus:The three biggest benefits, based on what we hear from users, are:

  1. Having a single, unified interface to all of their research storage systems including HPC file systems, scalable commodity storage, archival storage, scientific instruments, desktops, cloud storage, etc. Globus for BlackPearl allows BlackPearl’s tiered, archive storage to fit seamlessly into this larger ecosystem.
  2. Being able to easily share data with collaborators and external users from any tier with just a few clicks, and without requiring that data be moved to a staging area or separate storage system.
  3. Making it possible to easily archive data as part of long-term data management plans, with appropriate metadata and unique identifiers that allow other users to easily discover and reuse the data

Spectra Logic: Describe the successes you have you seen in the development process.
Globus: Our joint process was pretty smooth, with Spectra Logic funding the initial development (which was done by NCSA) and then working collaboratively with us to test and validate the end-to-end solution.

Spectra Logic: What is your advice for end users today?
Globus: We advise users to not worry about where their data lives and how to access it; rather, focus on doing their work, while using Globus to make the data available in whatever context it’s needed.

Follow us on Twitter, @globusonline and @spectralogic. Keep an eye out for the hashtag, #SpectraPartners, for additional blogs in our Q&A series, highlighting other BlackPearl partners. For more information about Globus’ integration with BlackPearl, check out the following resources:

Steve Tuecke, CEO, Globus
Steve Tuecke is Project Lead (aka CEO) of at The University of Chicago, where he is responsible for leading the development of Globus, the de-facto standard service for research data management.