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Spectra tilts at HSM with StorCycle storage management software

Spectra Logic unveils newly-developed storage management platform and two-tier file access and object storage with all data visible to all users for restore

Spectra Logic has announced the launch of StorCycle, a storage management software product which it says will bring big savings in storage capacity and simplify data management.

Key to the offer is the notion of two tiers of storage – project (primary) and perpetual (long-term) – with StorCycle software handling the migration under policy conditions of data from one to the other and the ability for users to restore data from perpetual storage via a browser-like interface.

Primary and long-term bulk storage can be from any supplier and includes disk, tape and cloud, although (per-user) licensing charges apply after initial costs for users of non-Spectra Logic hardware.

Project and perpetual layers are distinguished by performance and access characteristics in the Spectra scheme. StorCycle runs on a windows server and sits between primary and bulk storage.

Primary storage is Posix-compatible NAS storage based on a (probably parallel) file system and can be spinning disk and/or flash. Underlying perpetual storage is object-based and accessed via http and can be disk, tape or cloud (AWS only, initially). In the perpetual tier, data can be copied, protected, analysed, and so on.

Although the two tiers are distinct, for users it appears they are on the primary tier. Data can be scanned to a variety of schedules and criteria, such as size or last-active, and be moved or copied off to the bulk storage layer and in one-off or recurring operations. From here, they are visible as html links to users.

When users want to restore, they are provided with information on how long it will take – given that data may be on tape or cloud – and taken through a set of options, including the ability to restore related project files.

Spectra plans to allow migrated files to be represented as symbolic links, but that will come in a later release over the next year.

Apart from symbolic links, other items on the roadmap include clustering of StorCycle hardware nodes, the addition of S3 compatibility, the ability to run in the cloud and Google Cloud Platform and Azure as targets, although all these are more than 18 months away, at least.

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Spectra Logic product management vice-president David Feller said StorCycle would compete with existing hierarchical storage management (HSM) products, but would be much less expensive and would offer object-based archiving – “suited to machine-generated data” – and ease of access.

“No user ever has to file a ticket to recover data,” he said.

Feller cited a Swiss biomed beta customer that had an IBM HSM product in place. It was licensed on a capacity basis and used up a lot of IT resources to run it. It needed to extend its licence and that would have cost 2x to 3x what it cost to deploy StorCycle.

By migrating unused data off its 100PB of NetApp storage, it has put itself in a position to go all-flash on its next NetApp upgrade thanks to these capacity savings.

Spectra Logic has also deployed StorCycle internally, where, said Feller, it has moved 60TB off its 100TB Isilon and NetApp storage while giving unlimited storage access to all employees and drastically reducing the (CommVault) backup window and associated costs.

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