Quantum has developed a new class of storage for organisations generating, storing and managing huge amounts of data. ActiveScale Cold Storage combines object store software with hyperscale tape, serving as secure, durable and low-cost storage for archiving cold data. A new series of managed Object Storage Services is also available to help adopt and run the software and systems.
Among the overall goals is bringing hyperscale, cloud-based performance to wherever data is stored, easing the process of digital transformation. Hyperscale here refers to an architecture that scales appropriately as demand on the system increases. These new methods of handling large-scale data are intended to substantially reduce cold storage costs, and is also intended to help organisations maintain control of data assets and extract value from cold data over years and decades without expensive access fees.
A Cold Storage Strategy
Quantum believes that, as the quantity of unstructured data generated globally continues to grow at speed, the gap between data growth and storage budgets is widening. Furthermore, the company recognises that a majority of the data generated will be ‘cold’ – inactive data that must be stored, protected and remain accessible for years or decades because of compliance requirements and the value it contains.
Many organisations lack the budget, footprint or resources to handle this data growth using traditional storage architectures, leading to operational or budget compromises. Quantum developed ActiveScale Cold Storage to address those issues – object storage for cold data, built on hyperscale architectures and supplied as-a-service from Quantum. ActiveScale Cold Storage combines object storage software with two-dimensional erasure coding and Quantum Scalar tape storage, resulting in secure, very durable, low-cost systems.
Durability and Efficiency
Two-dimensional erasure coding (2D EC) software encodes and distributes object and parity shards within and across tapes, tape drives, tape libraries and dispersed data centres. For high availability, it works with Quantum’s scalable RAIL Architecture (Redundant Array of Independent Libraries). By giving parallel access to multiple modular tape libraries, RAIL supports incremental scalability, linear performance, plus higher availability and serviceability compared to monolithic libraries.
At the same time, this dispersed approach is used to achieve the best possible data access, performance, data durability and storage efficiency. For example, 2D EC uses local reconstruction codes with tape drives, only needing a single tape read to recover from nearly all types of tape and drive errors, thus requiring fewer hardware resources to write objects to tape. Tape writes are managed without impacting other object store tasks, giving better performance and preserving availability.
2D EC delivers better data durability with less overhead – archives are designed to prevent data loss, with the ability to withstand multiple points of failure and overhead as low as 15%. In contrast, many existing systems achieve only two-copy protection or limited erasure coding policies that increase risk of data loss and take up more storage hardware.
On-premises, at Data Centres – or Both
ActiveScale Cold Storage can be deployed as a managed service at the customer’s data centre, at a third-party data centre, or at a combination of the two, creating dispersed, hybrid cloud archives.
ActiveScale’s architecture enables a user to deploy active and cold storage infrastructures at a single site, two sites using data replication, or three sites using 3GEO Dynamic Data Placement (DDP), which distributes object parts using regular block-level storage attributes to determine the best location for data in the cloud. Data buckets can also be migrated and replicated between ActiveScale and public cloud environments to support hybrid cloud environments.
ActiveScale Cold Storage is available through atwo-tier pricing model, with no access fees.
ActiveScale Cold Storage uses AWS S3 APIs, S3 Glacier Storage Class and Lifecycle Policies to store, migrate and restore objects to and from the cold data archive. Applications and services that use the AWS S3 Glacier Storage Class can use the same API to read and write data to ActiveScale Cold Storage.
Examples are the Quantum StorNext File System, Quantum CatDV Asset Management Software, commonly used backup, data management and archiving applications, plus others that are currently certified to work with Quantum ActiveScale, which gives users many options to move data to cold storage.
Scaling Active and Cold Data Classes
ActiveScale Cold Storage is based on ActiveScale object storage software, which scales active and cold data classes indefinitely in a single namespace, at consistent levels of availability and performance at scale with no rebalancing. Its physical foundation is Quantum Scalar tape storage, which cloud storage providers now use as the basis for their own cold storage services.
Tape is much less expensive than disk and requires less power and cooling in a datacentre. Added to this software/hardware combination is the two-dimensional erasure coding, and high-density rack-based tape storage hardware. The resulting new Quantum tape storage systems can be deployed quickly in modular configurations, and constantly monitored using the same kind of AI-based automation (AIOps) software used to manage tape storage in data centres.
Quantum Cloud-Based Analytics (CBA) AIOps software
New Object Storage Services
Quantum is introducing new Object Storage Services to make adopting and running ActiveScale Cold Storage easier and more affordable. The services set up scalable private and hybrid cloud storage systems for active and archived data sets, from petabytes to exabytes. The two classes of service – for active (S3 Standard Class) and cold (S3 Glacier Class) data – are paid for in a combined two-tier pricing model, with no access fees.
Delivery is via a combination of Quantum’s AIOps software, Cloud-Based Analytics (CBA) and the MyQuantum service delivery portal. The Quantum services organisation will use the CBA monitoring software, which captures telemetry data and uses predictive analytics to support system maintenance, to help deliver these services. It can be made accessible to partners and customers to monitor their environment as well.
Users access the AIOps software by logging into the MyQuantum online portal, where they can manage their products and contracts, including registration, version updates, requesting support, downloading trials and demos, and purchases. Managed Object Storage Services subscribers access their Customer Dashboard for summaries of account activity and system statistics the same way.
ActiveScale Cold Storage and the new Object Storage Services will be generally available in the first quarter of 2022. www.quantum.com