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The company calls it “distributed multicloud data management software” and essentially it layers object storage access over onsite solid-state, disk and tape storage whether block or file access, as well as cloud storage from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). That creates a single pool of storage that can be accessed from anywhere as if it were local.
In addition, Spectra Logic is making a big deal of security with the claim that its products are “attack hardened”. In particular, it has in mind the threat of ransomware, of which it was a victim last year but successfully evaded paying the criminals’ demands.
Concretely, this means Vail provides encryption down to single object level, including databases, endpoints that are hidden behind firewalls, object locking, multisite placement of data and automated migration of data to air-gapped tape repositories.
Vail comes as a software product or can be deployed on a Spectra Black Pearl appliance.
The software product version is aimed at larger customers that would want to unify a diverse set of back-end storage over multiple locations, as well as in potentially multiple public clouds.
David Feller, vice-president of product management and solutions engineering at Spectra, cited customers that are beta testing Vail with all three major public clouds at up to around 1,000 physical sites. The aim here is to simplify access and management of such a heterogeneous storage landscape and to make use of Vail’s data management tools.
While it could easily be the case that unifying multiple back-end storage locations would present complex management tasks, this is simplified via a user interface and policy engine interface.
The latter allows customers to take advantage of cloud-resident services and to program data placement. Vail users can, for example, set certain classes of data to be migrated to the cloud, processed – by AWS transcoding and face recognition for media workflows, for example – and moved to other locations.
The Black Pearl appliance-deployed “captive version” – as Spectra calls it – is aimed at “smaller customers that want an on-premise cloud storage solution and cloud integration, possibly at just one site”, said Feller.
With Vail providing an object storage virtualisation layer on top of block and file storage, will Posix compliance be possible? Object storage does not provide Posix-compliance.
Not immediately, said Feller, who alluded to the ability of StorCycle to bridge between object storage and Posix-compliant storage, but also said that it was in Spectra’s roadmap to provide a “fully integrated Posix-based system”.
Posix is the application programming interface (API)-level set of standards that most applications are written to. It includes things like file locking that are essential for situations where more than one user should not be able to change a file at any one time.
Spectra Logic is a long-standing storage provider whose product families are grouped into its tape library products; Black Pearl, a Linear Tape File System (LTFS)-like tape-based storage solution; StorCycle, a storage lifecycle management product; and now Vail, which provides an overlay to all of these.
Read more about object storage
- High-performance object storage: What’s driving it? Object storage is getting its performance on to meet the needs of content delivery, analytics and IoT use cases while enabled by rapid flash storage media and other tech advances.
- Unified file and object storage: The best of both worlds? Unified file and object storage tackles growing volumes of unstructured data in a way that’s compatible with traditional and cloud-era applications, and friendlier to analytics.