Tape as NAS

QStar’s Archive Manager creates a “Tape as NAS” (sometimes referred to as “tNAS”) archive solution. A tape library is seen as a standard “network share” or “mount point” using CIFS / NFS through a disk cache front-end. Data arrives at the disk cache and is written to tape, files remain on disk cache until the cache is full, at that time the oldest files are reduce to metadata only. File searches continue to see all files archived and only when a read request is received are files moved back from tape to disk cache and on to the user.

Tape libraries offer one of the most economical forms of archiving for medium to large capacities (100TB to Petabytes). Large tape libraries consume the smallest amount of electricity per TB of any archive technology. LTO offers an industry standard, backward compatible technology that is both robust and offers excellent streaming read / write performance. With uncompressed capacities reaching 2.5TB per LTO-6 cartridge, creating a Petabyte archive can be achieved today with a 400 slot library.

The LTO roadmap now stretches to Generation 10 with compressed capacities set to reach 120TB per cartridge.

LTO tape media is now more reliable than hard disk.  New error correction technology has significantly increased the reliability of LTO media over DLT (the previous industry tape standard). Tape libraries are also monitoring the health of media, advising when media should be replaced.  LTO has a 30 year shelf life and so offers an easy and low-cost method of creating an offsite store, by copying and storing media at a second location. For increased data security for offsite media, encryption is an option that many organizations now benefit from.

A drawback of using tape in an archive is the relatively slow load speed. For archives that have little retrieval, tape only archives can work well. However, typical library media loads can take 90 to 120 seconds, which for certain applications can be too long. If hundreds of retrievals are made at the same time then a tape library can quickly become unusable.

As part of a 3-2-1 Archive, LTO can play a very important role, particularly for medium to large archives. It is fast to write, has a low total cost of ownership and a long usable life. LTO is excellent for larger size files, where the slow load speed can be compensated by the fast retrieval speed.

Using QStar Archive Replicator software tape libraries can be paired with a RAID system, Object Storage or Cloud to create a fast and resilient archive. The removability of LTO also allows a simple Disaster Recovery (DR) strategy to be created, by copying media which can then be stored offsite.

QStar Supported Tape Drives / Libraries

Drive / LibraryManufacturerQStar SDF or TDOLTFS
TS1140 - TS1150IBMYesYes
T10000C - T10000DOracleYesYes
LTO-7IBM, HP, QuantumYesYes
LTO-6IBM, HP, QuantumYesYes
LTO-5IBM, HP, QuantumYesN/A
LTO-4IBM, HP, QuantumYesN/A

See QStar’s currently shipping supporting hardware list for more information

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GET MORE DETAILS about how to design an enterprise class active archive using QStar and LTO-6.