QStar’s cost-effective solutions enable long-term digital preservation of content to ensure all of your vital business information is stored effectively, is easily searchable and supports compliance, collaboration and other critical business processes. As we know, legal, accounting and administrative records have a retention period of 10 years, some much longer and others still require permanent preservation.
With the advent of stricter regulatory requirements, federal law in the U.S.A, Canada, Europe, Australia and elsewhere requires archiving periods of at least 10 years for business documents:
Financial Services organizations are required
to retain dossiers for more than 50 years
Life Sciences and Healthcare companies need to
archive information for at least 30 years
Engineering and Nuclear plans and documents
must be retained for up to 100 years or more
Meanwhile, standard disk-array storage systems have a much shorter life cycle, lasting 3 to 4 years on average before becoming obsolete and no longer supported by the manufacturer. Traditional disk-based storage solutions (NAS / SAN) are not suitable for this purpose. The purchase and operating costs over years becomes unreasonable. This also means that documents and data stored on disk are migrated over and over again throughout their life cycle, an aspect all too frequently forgotten in the cost–benefit analysis of digital preservation. Attention is nearly always focused on applications, forgetting a vital question:
“where to archive the documents over time”
Hidden costs can significantly reduce the financial benefits of long-term digital preservation.
With our long-term data storage solutions, you can extend the life of your data for decades while keeping costs under control. Forget years of exorbitant maintenance contracts and devastating fork-lift upgrades. Your data will be safe with us in an environment designed exclusively for the purpose. You no longer need to migrate data from one disk storage system to another, with all the costs, wasted time and risk that this implies.
Big Storage vendors have adopted common practices over the past several years to force customers to replace their storage systems every 3-4 years, whether they need to or not. Let’s look at a couple of the techniques they use.
The first approach is by stealth. They begin by charging reasonable rates for maintenance work of around 10-12%/year for the first 3 years. Then when customers come back to renew their 4th-year maintenance, they get a surprise in the form of a very heavy maintenance bill. But the vendor’s real purpose is not to renew the contract. Rather, it’s to sell you a new storage system. How? They show you the maintenance bill in one hand, and in the other a quote for a brand-new array that costs about the same!
Another technique is to discontinue their support of your existing systems. Engineered obsolescence means that a forklift upgrade is obligatory. The storage platforms are designed to be difficult to expand or upgrade, so that many customers simply run out of either performance or capacity as their needs grow.
Alternatively, the compatibility matrix of the new components is no longer valid for the older systems. Disks belonging to the previous version are suddenly declared “obsolete”, they cost a fortune, and are relegated to the status of collector’s items.
The result? No choice but to buy another storage array and incur the dreaded Forklift Upgrade.
Do you realize how much an archive that must last for years and years (and in some cases for ever) can cost? So much for savings from the dematerialization of documents. A pure illusion. There are certainly benefits in terms of process efficiency and the consultation of documents, but at what cost?
At QStar we offer secure archiving solutions for your documents and data that last decades with negligible upgrade costs and a TCO that can reach and even exceed 300% a year for high capacities compared with traditional disk-based storage systems.
Aside from the clear financial benefits, a tape-based data archive offers exceptionally long data life: the LTO data cartridge is designed to help organizations protect and preserve more data for longer periods. Data can be securely stored for decades provided that the tape is handled correctly in accordance with the media manufacturer’s recommendations, thus guaranteeing an archive life exceeding 30 years, if stored at a temperature of 68° Fahrenheit (20° Celsius). When it comes to managing your storage budget, more often than not a large part of it is devoted to archive storage, or data that needs to be conserved long-term.
Returning to TCO, there are a number of studies that compare the costs of storing data long-term on disk, tape and cloud. One TCO study in particular, by the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), produced some remarkable findings. The 10-year study compared an LTO tape-based approach with an all-disk storage approach, in-house and in the cloud. According to the report, the LTO tape-based approach showed, “an impressive 577% return on investment over ten years when accounting both for avoided costs and net new economic improvements.” The study shows that tape can have a very positive impact on controlling long-term storage costs.
Remember too that you no longer need to migrate data from one storage system to another, with all the costs, wasted time and risk that this implies.
For example, QStar’s LTFS as NAS solution is far more durable than other data archiving systems, easily coping with upwards of 10 years’ use, with nothing like the management and maintenance costs of disk-based storage. The LTO drives internal to the library can also be replaced by those of the next generation, and written cartridges can be read by the three previous generations of drives (for further details on these aspects see the section LTFS and LTO Technologies). The LTFS as NAS solution offers secure data archiving for periods of years or even decades, on expandable memory that can be used to store unlimited amounts of data at a fraction of the cost of any other currently available storage technology.
Don’t fall into the maintenance extortion and forklift upgrade trap.
QStar LTFS as NAS architecture virtualizes a Tape Library, effectively converting it into network-attached storage – NAS for sharing with multiple users and applications. The solution supports common networking protocols (SMB and NFS) plus S3 compatible API commands and is integrated on either a Windows or Linux server. Files that are stored in a LTFS as NAS environment are retrieved in the same manner as the native operating system, even though the data is actually stored in a Tape Library. Not only do users not realize that the volume (file system) they are accessing was created on tape and not on disk, but, through a sophisticated cache architecture, the read/write data activity is managed so effectively, that performance is comparable to a NAS device. Transparency is such that the architecture is also supported by virtual machine (VM) environments, even though the VM environment is not designed to support tape drives; existing applications installed in a VM can access the Tape as NAS architecture just like a standard NAS disk. Data can be accessed transparently over the network.
The main purpose of the 3D Flash Tape Cloud Gateway solution is to provide extremely simple migration and archiving from existing infrastructures to the Cloud, exactly like copying, reading and editing data on a local network. At the same time, it guarantees nonstop access to the data in the event that the Cloud connection is not available for any reason. QStar 3D Flash Tape Cloud Gateway allows automatic migration of files using a combination of their attributes such as date created, modified, accessed, file owner, size and extension to the cloud, whilst at the same time it can perform real-time restoration of the data to its original location in a manner which is completely transparent to applications, network and users. The 3D Flash Tape Cloud Gateway is compatible with major Cloud providers in native mode, using specific protocols and APIs for each provider. You can simultaneously access several Cloud providers at once and make multiple copies of your data. Several copies of the data can be made, including a local copy to the secure low cost Active Archive present within the 3D Gateway architecture. The data archived in the Active Archive is accessed by the network and applications exactly like a traditional NAS shared on the network even if recorded on a tape library.