What is Tape-based Object Storage?
The number one reason organizations choose not to use tape is the need for tape management, adding and removing tape media and manually storing that media for future use or re-use. Tape-based object storage, or “Tape as Cloud” allows organizations to store content to tape, without them adding dedicated human resources to administer the system. Archive data can be stored and retrieved using standard Cloud-based APIs and the Cloud Storage provider takes care of media management. Pricing for Tape as Cloud is an OPEX cost where the cost per TB is shown on a monthly basis, there is no CAPEX hit in using this approach.
Linear Tape Open (LTO) is a super cheap enterprise-class magnetic tape storage solution that allows organizations to archive or back up vast quantities of data. Now on the 9th generation of technology, LTO offers backwards compatibility between media types and drive types, so that new drives can still read content on older media.
QStar’s Archive Manager Cloud Gateway allows users to choose which tape format they prefer.
Linear Tape File System (LTFS) bridges the gap between disk and tape to allow direct access to file content and metadata on LTO storage and offers an industry standard format that can be read by multiple software solutions. This means that tape media could be returned physically to the organization that sent the data and be read in a tape drive or library at some later date.
In addition, QStar offers an optimized proprietary tape format called TDO – for Tape, Disk Object. TDO significantly improves performance – particularly read performance, as all metadata is maintained on disk and for security, automatically written to tape media for DR purposes. TDO also offers other sophisticated options such as “Mount on Date”, an ability to roll the clock back to a time of the Administrator’s choosing – to see a dataset as it appeared at that time. This can be extremely useful in the advent of a ransomware or virus attack that has gone undetected.
Benefits of Tape Storage in Today’s environments
Even though tape storage has been around a long time, it is not obsolete and still an ideal option for several reasons;
Storing large amounts of inactive data on expensive primary, secondary or Cloud-based storage disks contributes to higher storage costs in the long run. Compared to ALL hard disk-based systems of the same capacity, tape storage costs significantly less per terabyte and incurs less support and maintenance costs.
With recent high-profile ransomware attacks, organizations are extra cautious about protecting their critical data. Tape cartridges are disconnected and stored offline, creating a natural air gap and increased protection against cyber attacks and unauthorized physical access.
Much of today’s enterprise digital assets comprises large, unstructured data. Tape storage gives you access to higher-capacity storage in a smaller format at lower costs. The tape industry concentrates on developing new versions of LTO so that storage capacity continues to increase to meet growing demands.
Best Use Cases for Tape-based Object Storage
High-latency: Tape storage is best suited for archiving files / objects or for object storage backup scenarios where bulk restoration (not single file) capacities are required. Time to first byte is not as important as total time to restore and overall cost.
Infrequently accessed: Tape storage can store infrequently used data, while faster on-prem storage or disk-based cloud can store more frequently used data. Archived data will still be readily available when needed.
Multi-Cloud or Hybrid Cloud options: Organizations can integrate disk based cloud storage with Tape as Cloud (Multi-Cloud) or on-premise Object Storage with Tape as Cloud (Hybrid Cloud) to create the lowest-cost long-term solution for preserving and protecting data.
Why Choose QStar
QStar offers several solutions that allow you to combine tape storage with a private or public cloud solution, whether the tape library is owned and run by the organization or by a third-party Cloud provider.
QStar Archive Manager Cloud Gateway can provide replication to multiple stores (local and remote) providing either Multi-Cloud or Hybrid Cloud options. This allows organizations to retrieve data from the Cloud that they wish to, based on time and / or cost.
QStar’s Kaleidos is a hybrid architecture that integrates disk and tape storage into a traditional Object Storage system for fast data access and lower costs. Archive content exists on disk for user set periods of time, and is also written to tape for DR purposes. Over time objects can be removed from disk to reduce total cost of storage.
Contact QStar to find out more about our archive storage solutions for your enterprise archive data.