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OVHcloud aims to bring Glacier-like cloud archive to Europe

OVHcloud makes Cold Archive GA with deep archive storage cheaper than AWS’s offer and all based on IBM 3592 tape hardware spread across four sites with Atempo backup

French hyperscaler OVHcloud has made its Cold Archive cloud storage service generally available. It offers cheap long-term storage with cost per GB as little as €0.0013 per month. Cold Archive previewed starting last December and competes with Glacier Deep Archive from AWS, which comes in at 0.0016 per GB per month.

Cold Archive – which offers the same functionality as its AWS counterpart – stores data on tape via IBM libraries and in object storage format. Backup and restore is handled by Atempo Miria.

As with S3 Glacier Deep Archive, the aim of the new service is to store archives long term with an eye to customers running analytics on the data they hold. OVHcloud points to use cases in video production, healthcare data that must be held for decades, and accounting and HR documents.

OVHcloud also points to archiving of backup copies that could allow rollback in future worst-case scenarios, or production data that’s worth storing until it can be analysed via future AI tools.

Cold Archive is deployed in four datacentres with at least 100km between sites. OVHcloud explained these will be dedicated datacentres, physically separated from those where its clients’ virtual machines will run. In that, the company possibly has in mind lessons learned following the fire at its Strasbourg datacentre in 2021.

All four datacentres are in France so can be seen as offering data sovereignty to customers in that territory. Data is shared between sites using erasure coding to build in resilience. 

Storage on IBM 3592 tape

Each site is equipped with tape libraries that can access 18,000 cartridges to provide capacity of around 3 exabytes.

Perhaps surprisingly, the format used is not the widespread tape standard LTO, but IBM’s proprietary 3592, also re-sold by SpectraLogic. More precisely, cartridges are of the 3592-60F generation, AKA TS1160, which store 20TB raw per cartridge or 60TB compressed.

The 60F generation, the sixth, was launched in 2018. Since then IBM has announced TS1165 (30TB raw per cartridge), TS1170 (40TB) and TS1165 (80TB) iterations but these haven’t seen the light of day despite planning for a new generation every three years.

By comparison, the latest LTO format, LTO-9, can hold 18TB raw or 45TB compressed capacity.

Data is stored with AES-256 encryption and accessible via the S3 object storage protocol. Access charges and constraints apply, as with AWS and other cloud providers. OVHcloud doesn’t specify access times, but reads are likely to be slow, so putting data on faster access drives (HDD or SSD) will be necessary to allow processing, for example, and that means the cost incurred per GB will increase significantly to €0.007 per GB per month.

To restore data from archives to production machines will cost €0.005 per GB. To export data from OVHcloud will cost €0.01 per GB transferred. That could be in cases where there’s a need to restore archived data to a private datacentre, or to make data available to an application running in another cloud.

Atempo Miria powers backup

Atempo is a long-time partner of OVHcloud. It offers three backup tools: Lina for workstations, Tina for servers, and Miria for data. It’s the last of these that OVHcloud uses behind the backup interface offered to customers.

Miria offers a large number of functions that can help with rapid transfer of data between distant locations, such as compression and de-compression on the fly, and being able to restore data in a different format.

Miria has dozens of software connectors that can extract from the native format of the solution and re-encode it to that of another solution. Among those are OVHcloud and IBM drivers. Using them, Cold Archive offers a portal that can define object storage services with a few mouse clicks.

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