Archiving is an immediate use for BlackPearl, P1 Technologies' Cardenas said. "Ultimately, we could see tier-one applications that don't need high-performance response times use BlackPearl," he said.
BlackPearl is a 2U appliance for managing the migration of data to a deep storage environment, Spectra Logic's Rector said.
It uses the DS3 client, based on the Amazon S3 interface, to move objects to BlackPearl, where the data lands on an SSD cache for fast migration. Inside BlackPearl, files are converted to the linear tape file system (LTFS) format, used in LTO tape drives and libraries to prepare them for long-term storage, she said.
By using the LTFS format, data can be stored on tape or in the cloud and be accessed whether customers have a BlackPearl appliance or not, Rector said. It also allows data from LTFS tapes to be migrated to deep storage environments, she said.
For example, customers looking to migrate data from tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of LTO-5 tapes to LTO-7 can use BlackPearl to automate that migration, she said. BlackPearl can also be set to auto-migrate data from a tape that might be going bad, and it can also be used to handle future migrations to technologies not yet on the market, she said.
In big data environments, Spectra Logic uses the Hadoop distributed copy (DistCp) tool to move objects to BlackPearl and then move them to a tape library. The managed data is transparent to users because Hadoop already uses the S3 protocol, Rector said.
"[BlackPearl] offers the easiest way to move bulk data to the deep storage environment," she said.
Cardenas said he sees BlackPearl as an eventual cloud gateway to a public or private cloud.
"The demise of Nirvanix shows the enterprise is not yet ready for the cloud," he said. "There are a lot of pieces in place for enterprise clouds. But, you bring in the cloud, and you add complexity and cost and a new layer of security issues. Spectra Logic's BlackPearl will enable enterprises to build their own clouds."
The BlackPearl Deep Storage Appliance is available to beta users and slated for general availability starting in December.
PUBLISHED OCT. 14, 2012