The annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, always draws in multiple data protection, data management, and storage providers as exhibitors. As in previous years, DCIG analysts take some time away to visit this show, meet with these exhibitors, and learn more about their latest offerings.
In past years, these exhibitors tended to focus on technologies that featured more storage capacity and performance. Some of that mindset still does persists. However, more providers now focus on and discuss the ability of their software to manage unstructured data. Each of the three DCIG analysts in attendance identified a specific technology that caught their attention while at the show.
DCIG’s Senior Storage Analyst, Todd Dorsey, named Hammerspace Software as his Best of Show at NAB 2023. Hammerspace helps media and entertainment companies accelerate workflows through its software-defined, unstructured data orchestration software. By unifying access, management, and orchestration of data on existing systems wherever it may reside: on-premises, in the cloud, or in multiple clouds.
Hammerspace eliminates data silos, benefiting data integration, collaboration, and agility. For example, creative teams across the globe can view and access media as if files were on a NAS server in folders teams are accustomed to seeing.
Further, and without making copies, digital artists can collaborate and work on media files in real time, thus reducing the time required to finalize content. Through metadata tagging and policy-based decision-making for cost or workload priorities, Hammerspace allows administrators to securely automate the movement and orchestration of distributed data globally. All this orchestration occurs transparently to end users.
At the NAB show, Hammerspace demonstrated how its software fulfills many elements of the MovieLabs 2030 Vision, enabling software-defined and cloud-based workflows to produce content at scale.
DCIG’s Principal Data Storage Analyst, Ken Clipperton, named Seagate’s two storage technologies as his Best of Show at NAB 2023. He was initially drawn to the Seagate booth to learn more about their announcement of a strategic relationship with QNAP.
When thinking of Seagate, he typically viewed it in the context of hard disk drives (HDDs) and storage component provider. However, since Seagate’s 2015 acquisition of Dot Hill Systems in 2015, it now provides storage systems that many enterprise storage companies incorporate into their solutions.
The Seagate and QNAP partnership combines Seagate’s Exos E JBOD systems and QNAP’s enterprise NAS. This delivers more than 3 PB of storage capacity in 156 drive slots which provides meets the needs of several specific use cases. In the case of media and entertainment, it supports 4K/8K media streaming and post-production for fast data transfer, access, and backup.
Seagate and QNAP support a scale-up QNAP ZFS-based QuTS NAS system that attaches up to two Exos arrays using 12Gb SAS connectors. This provides a highly available solution with more than 3 PB of storage capacity in 12 rack units.
Seagate’s Exos CORVAULT arrays also incorporate a custom ASIC featuring ADAPT (Advanced Distributed Autonomic Protection Technology) which enables erasure coding across a pool of disks and Autonomous Drive Regeneration (ADR).
Autonomous Drive Regeneration automatically renews failed HDDs “in situ” and on the fly. This technology reduces the need for human intervention and e-waste by enabling an otherwise failed hard drive to return to service.
The regenerated drives can be re-incorporated into the existing pool. ADAPT’s erasure coding engine enables RAID sets to incorporate drives of varying capacities while taking advantage of the full capacity of each drive in the pool.
The Seagate QNAP partnership provides organizations with a new cost-effective option for low-touch, self-healing, multi-petabyte NAS storage on-premises. Using its options to support object storage, organizations may repatriate data from the cloud to Seagate Exos mass storage arrays.
Cloud Import Lyve Mobile
Seagate’s Cloud Import Lyve Mobile subscription service uses an array sealed in a canister with SSDs to capture up to 122TB of data. Organizations may then ship the canister back to Seagate and import the data into the Seagate Lyve Cloud. Residing in high-end colocation facilities such as Equinix, it can upload as much as 1 PB per day.
Its canister-based system makes Lyve Mobile ideal for data capture in remote locations. It also provides organizations with an alternative to the Amazon Snowball to migrate large amounts of data. Further, it has the advantage of multi-cloud support with Seagate’s Lyve Cloud only one of its many possible cloud destinations.
Spectra Logic Vail Management Software
DCIG’s Principal Data Protection Analyst, Jerome Wendt, named Spectra Logic’s Vail Management Software as his Best of Show at NAB 2023. Spectra Logic almost a decade ago moved beyond primarily selling its tape libraries to also providing unstructured data management software. In our conversation with Spectra Logic’s VP of Product Management, David Feller, it was refreshing to see how far Spectra Logic has come with its various offerings.
Its Vail Data Management Software specifically caught Jerome’s attention. While it also won a similar award at last year’s NAB show, Spectra now refers to Vail as an “On-premises Amazon Glacier.” This terminology resonated with me.
In short, the Vail Management software manages the placement of unstructured data across multiple storage tiers. These include cloud object storage, on-premises object, and tape libraries. It also utilizes its BlackPearl offering to connect to and manage many tape libraries from multiple providers.
Vail differentiates itself from other unstructured data management solutions by specifically targeting the management of archival and backup data. Using Vail, enterprises may set policies that place data across various tiers of storage to permit:
- Millisecond to multi-second response times for data stored on local cloud object storage for the fastest response times. This data may include recently created archival or backup data less than 30 days old that enterprises may be more likely to need and access.
- Multi-second to minutes of response times with data potentially stored on cloud object storage. This may include archival or backup data over one month old to two years in age.
- Retrieval times of minutes, hours, or perhaps days to retrieve archival and backup data. In this case, it may store data on local tape libraries.
Any size organization can theoretically use Spectra Logic’s Vail Management Software. However, it probably makes the most sense for enterprises looking to store petabytes or even tens of petabytes of data. These size organizations may have data they want to store on Amazon Glacier which runs about ~$1/TB per month.
While affordable, even Glacier’s cost hits about $1,000/month per petabyte or, if storing 10 PBs, $10,000/month. They may also include Amazon egress or API fees on top of the standard monthly storage charge. Further, enterprises have limited options to easily, or cost-effectively, migrate data out of Amazon Glacier. Spectra Logic’s Vail used in conjunction with on-premises object storage and tape libraries provides a viable alternative to Amazon Glacier. Enterprises that need to store tens of petabytes for years if not decades make Vail a compelling option when looking at potential cost savings. In this specific use case, enterprises have more flexibility to calculate total cost of ownership (TCO) beyond the normal three or five years. Those that do so will likely find this on-premises alternative to Amazon Glacier may make good financial sense.
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