ArcticBlue, Powered by BlackPearl

ArcticBlue Low storage total cost of ownership image

While the cost of NAND is declining and the enterprise storage market moves its top tier of storage to flash, Spectra Logic is innovating the exact fit and place for spinning hard disk drives (HDDs) in a tiered storage environment. Its ArcticBlue® Disk Solution, powered by the Spectra® BlackPearl® Converged Storage System, excels at long-term, high-throughput storage in the only platform that is highly complementary to tape. ArcticBlue’s unique features differentiate it and BlackPearl from any other storage system in the market. This blog will outline a few nuances that are easy to miss, but that emphasize ArcticBlue’s particular breed of online, object-based disk storage. Read More


Mind the Tipping Point: Object Storage versus File Storage

Data is a central part of our day-to-day as a society, from our personal electronic devices, like smart phones and tablets, to our professional lives. Major industries like agriculture, transportation, energy, healthcare and finance, to name a few, all rely on it. Whether you’re working behind a computer or at a job site building houses, digital information is an intricate part of your environment. The intrinsic value of data, be it the intelligence, communication or analysis of it, points to a revolution in how we access, manage and consume it. In order to enable organizations to thrive within the unsurpassed data growth of modern times, storage technologies have evolved accordingly. Read More


Innovation through Software, Part 2 of 2
 BlackPearl’s Multi-Interface Support


As the centerpiece of a modern workflow, Spectra’s BlackPearl® Converged Storage System’s multi-interface support capabilities improve performance and scalability of storage solutions, while facilitating front-end access for users through software multi-tenancy features. By leveraging existing certified client partners like MediaFlux, or self-developed Customer Created Clients, BlackPearl can incorporate a multitude of storage interfaces into a single, user-friendly point of access.

BlackPearl combines object storage with a RESTful server interface to consolidate cache, tape, online, nearline, and public and private cloud storage. This hybrid ecosystem allows BlackPearl to merge different classes of media in the most efficient way possible, migrating data off different tiers per configurable policies based on frequency of use and value. For instance, Linear Tape File System (LTFS) is the only format that BlackPearl uses to write to tape because it is an open-standard way to exchange data across different operating systems and software. While this flexibility provides a cost-effective alternative for tiered content storage and deep archive, LTFS technology mimics a file-based storage, presenting the same performance limitations of traditional file systems. By using a RESTful interface, BlackPearl solves common file-based issues like time-outs and errors/failure when sharing data between servers. Furthermore, the cache management of BlackPearl is optimized for tape. Storage policies enable BlackPearl to stage the initial storage of the objects in its cache, and plan how it will store the data on tape, allowing for higher throughput in the system and maximizing efficient use of space in the repository.

Spectra also supports configuring NAS volumes (CIFS/NFS) directly on a BlackPearl Converged Storage System. Although NAS pools are set up separately, BlackPearl utilizes a built-in Network File Interface (NFI) policy to internally copy the data from the NAS pool to the BlackPearl cache pool – avoiding the network hop and making it easy to handle high loads. Most existing clients, including Spectra’s free open-source Eon Browser, will make the NAS volumes and the BlackPearl managed object storage pools available to users side-by-side. Tight integrations like MediaFlux, or self-developed Customer Created Clients, can present data silos under a single, universal client interface, independent of its location.

The BlackPearl Converged Storage System is a modern workflow solution that maximizes performance, scalability and access. By combining object storage with a RESTful interface, BlackPearl is able to successfully consolidate different classes of media, enabling users to tier their storage for optimal efficiency and value.


Innovation through Software, Part 1 of 2 BlackPearl’s Cloud-Out Feature

A cloud initiative is now widely recognized as an essential part of a genetically diverse storage strategy. In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the importance of incorporating on-premise copies (When the Cloud is Out of Order, Are You?), storing to multiple locations, and making use of backup, restoration, and replication methods (Comparing Data Resiliency and Data Protection) to achieve resilient and protected data with a cloud initiative. This week’s blog will explore how the Spectra® BlackPearl® Converged Storage System’s hybrid cloud storage model allows data to move seamlessly into disk, tape and cloud storage in a way not previously possible.

Data-driven businesses leverage cloud storage as an archive data tier, as part of a disaster recovery plan, or as a copy of online data for safekeeping. BlackPearl’s hybrid cloud storage model enables users to deploy a multi-tiered storage strategy that optimizes cost efficiency, storing some data in the cloud and some using on/off-premise disk and tape solutions. It allows assets to be easily moved to the public or private cloud for disaster recovery, distribution, and archiving of frequently accessed data, while limiting unexpected retrieval charges associated with cloud-only storage by keeping a copy of infrequently accessed data on disk and/or tape for pennies per gigabyte.

Spectra’s BlackPearl provides a powerful, centralized object storage gateway that enables massive amounts of data to be stored forever, at virtually no cost. It eliminates vendor lock-in and allows users to browse data from any storage domain with ease. Through a single interface, users can send and retrieve large amounts of data directly from their existing native applications, to and from any storage target, both locally and in the cloud. This modern storage solution employs features like online archive expansion, asynchronous replication, time-based deletion, automated restoration, and configurable data policies to enable nearly instant access to content and a highly customizable workflow, accelerating the overall system response time and delivering more productive storage environments.

object based hybrid cloud disaster recovery

BlackPearl integrates directly with Amazon S3 Standard and Standard – Infrequent Access (Standard-IA), and is one of the few products that will automatically restore data archived to Glacier. BlackPearl also integrates into Google Cloud Storage and Drive, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace and Cloudfiles. Moreover, Spectra customers have the ability to create their own flexible end-to-end hybrid storage ecosystem with the combination of Spectra’s BlackPearl Converged Storage System and Cyberduck’s free, open source client software tool. The joint solution enables fast file transfers between primary storage, local tape and disk-based private clouds, and any public cloud provider.

The Spectra BlackPearl Converged Storage System solves the problem of costly and complex approaches to digital preservation by combining standard interfaces and storage targets into a simple and affordable solution designed for diverse workflows. BlackPearl’s modern storage environment is deployed across a wide range of private and public sectors in markets as diverse as genomics and healthcare, general IT management, high-performance computing, media and entertainment, research and education and video surveillance.

BlackPearl Object Storage software features BlackPearl Software Composition

Curious to know what other software innovations make the BlackPearl the centerpiece of a modern storage solution?

Read the BlackPearl Converged Storage System Software Composition white paper.


Customer Use Cases for Spectra Logic NAS: Part Two

Recent technological updates to the Spectra® Verde® NAS Solution, as well as our NAS capabilities overall, are enabling Spectra to more efficiently address unique customer challenges. In my first blog, Customer Use Cases for Spectra Logic NAS: Part One, I discussed a use case where Verde’s new SSD pool feature is allowing a Video on Demand (VoD) provider to increase its service offering. In part two, I’d like to discuss two additional use cases for Spectra’s newly upgraded NAS.

Use Case 2: Video Surveillance End User Implements Verde NAS Solution to Meet Increased Retention Requirements

In the video surveillance market, the Video Management System (VMS) recording server typically records video 24×7 to some type of primary storage — either Direct Attached Storage (DAS) or an expensive Storage Area Network (SAN). Almost all VMS products are capable of moving data off of live/primary storage (i.e., DAS), and archiving it to secondary storage, such as NAS.

In this use case, we position Verde NAS to be thet archive location for the VMS. This specific end user had a 14-day retention period, which was previously being stored on DAS. However, they recently received a directive to increase their retention to 120 days, to provide more litigation support in court. They opted to buy a simple, affordable, shared NAS storage system – Spectra Verde. The VMS will keep the video on DAS for 14 days, copy the recorded video to Verde NAS daily, and then manage the data on Verde NAS for 120 days.

Most companies’ legal divisions would prefer to keep video for years to protect against all litigations. Spectra offers a simple “Copy-and-Keep” policy to copy all data stored on Verde NAS to an object store bucket on a Spectra® BlackPearl® Converged Storage System. Within the video surveillance use case, the VMS will manage and delete the data on Verde NAS (i.e., 30 days), but keep a copy on BlackPearl. BlackPearl is designed to keep data forever, but the data stored on it can be deleted at any time.

Use Case 3: NAS Storage on BlackPearl for Video Surveillance and General IT Data Preservation

In this use case, both NAS and object storage are accessed through a single BlackPearl system – either a 2U or 4U BlackPearl server. The workflow and data movement are the same; data goes to a NAS pool, then a simple policy copies the data to object store and either keeps it or deletes it from NAS.

Adding to the previous use case, in some video surveillance environments, Spectra is actually proposing the NAS and BlackPearl object store as a single system. This is also applicable for general IT environments. Most organizations have some type of shared storage for their employees, which is a NAS share. With NAS storage on BlackPearl, Spectra can provide a single server that has NAS storage with DR protection, using a tape library. The NAS storage provides snapshots to protect against accidental deletion or file corruption by keeping older versions via snapshots of data – thus tracking any changes. BlackPearl will then use the policy “Copyand Keep” to maintain the latest copy of NAS data in object storage (i.e., two copies on tape).

For more information and how Spectra can help address your organization’s unique storage requirements with Spectra Verde NAS, contact us at sales@spectralogic.com.

Written by Steven Easter, Spectra Product Manager for BlackPearl and Verde


Customer Use Cases for Spectra Logic NAS: Part One

Spectra recently made some technological upgrades to its Spectra® Verde® NAS Solution, as well as its NAS capabilities overall. These new updates required only simple changes to our hardware and software offering, but are already having a profound effect on how Spectra is able to address unique customer challenges. In this blog, I’d like to discuss a few use cases for Spectra’s newly upgraded NAS, and how it can be used to solve several common customer dilemmas being faced by real users out in the field today.

Use Case 1: Video on Demand (VoD) Provider Seeks to Expand Content Library and End User Reach

This customer possesses a playout service where they offer clients access to both live and previously recorded lectures. They are looking to increase their service offering by adding more Video On Demand (VoD) content and more end users.

Spectra is proposing the organization store its VoD content on a Solid State Drive (SSD) pool in the Spectra Verde NAS Solution. SSD capability is one of the recent, simple additions to Verde NAS. The SSD pool has fast random read performance, and is expected to handle 20,000 concurrent 1Mbps streams. To meet this end user’s specific capacity requirements, Spectra is proposing two identical Verde systems. Their play-out service will aggregate the content from both Verde sources.

Verde Diagram Blog (2)

Spectra is also suggesting the customer implement a disaster recovery (DR) strategy, to preserve their valuable data. In addition to the two Verde systems, Spectra is proposing they purchase a Spectra® BlackPearl® Converged Storage System and a small tape library, for robust data protection. Spectra’s NAS solutions have a very handy feature that allows them to send a copy of data into a bucket on BlackPearl. Once connected to BlackPearl, using its own data policy engine, the system writes out as many copies of the data as needed (most customers elect for two copies on tape). If they choose to eject one copy for offsite storage, the data is even more protected.

Next week…

Stay tuned for part two of the of the “Customer Use Cases for Spectra Logic NAS” blog series. Next week, I’ll cover two additional use cases for Spectra’s NAS solution, including video surveillance and NAS storage on BlackPearl.

For more information and how Spectra can help address your organization’s unique storage requirements with Spectra Verde NAS, contact us at sales@spectralogic.com.

Written by Steven Easter, Spectra Product Manager for BlackPearl and Verde


Analyst Product Review: Spectra Logic’s BlackPearl Ecosystem

By: Steven Easter

Integrating a tape library into a data center environment is generally a challenge. A variety of software/middle-ware products exist to help make the process easier, but are expensive and do so with a huge financial penalty. Spectra Logic’s BlackPearl Deep Storage Gateway, in many cases, provides a great alternative. BlackPearl functions as a private cloud, hybrid storage platform, and with the release of v3 (the third edition of BlackPearl’s software), it is now more flexible than previous versions. BlackPearl now supports genetically diverse storage including: several digital tape drive types, power-down SATA (SMR) HDDs, and online SAS HDDs. The two types of disk storage and LTO-7 format are new additions for the v3 release, and a policy engine and access control lists have also been added with the new update.

US Analyst Frank Ohlhorst recently paid a visit to Spectra Logic’s headquarters to perform an onsite testing of BlackPearl. The focus of his visit was to evaluate the flexibility of the BlackPearl v3 platform, the pricing structure, and the steps required to provision the power-down disk storage and tape storage. Although Frank and I didn’t focus on the end user experience, I did highlight some of the applications that move data to BlackPearl showing how an end-user could do this from their work-station. During his visit, Frank was also able to participate in a hands-on experience with one of Spectra’s newest products, ArcticBlue; a new disk subsystem built into the third software release of BlackPearl.

Fishbowl T950 Angle-CMYK-4MB

Depending on the goals for a visit to Spectra Technology Center, the lab can accommodate a variety of requests. The demo center houses the company’s latest and greatest products, as well as some of their partner solutions. Visiting the demo center lab provides guests with a real world, hands-on experience, allowing them to become familiar with new products and/or new software releases. The lab provides both a ‘sandbox’ experience as well as an end user experience through solution demonstrations, testing and more. The sandbox is free reins, hands-on time with the products; make any configuration changes in the Web Management GUIs, swap customer replaceable components, or just experience the out-of-box feel our end users get with new Spectra Logic product. The Technology Center also features several solution partners who have taken the BlackPearl’s open source Spectra S3 API, an SDK in one of many programming languages, and integrated it into their product.

Are you interested in paying a visit to Spectra Logic’s headquarters in Boulder, CO and participating in an onsite product review in the Spectra Technology Center? Contact us for more information.

Frank’s BlackPearl test results have been published in two articles to date, and can be found here http://bit.ly/1Tjw7qi and here http://bit.ly/1XIPWYP.

Author: Steven Easter, Product Manager, Spectra Logic Corp. 6285 Lookout Rd. Boulder CO, 80301