IBM Cloud will reach back into tape for low-cost storage

Project Big Storage combines data on flash, disks and tape under a single namespace

In the new world of Cloud storage, there's still room for old standbys like tape. IBM says combining them can save enterprises money.

At its Edge conference in Las Vegas this week, the company will preview an archiving architecture that can span all tiers of storage from server-based flash cache to tape, moving data to the best and most cost-effective tier at any time based on enterprise policies.

Enterprises are accumulating growing volumes of data, including new types such as surveillance video that may never be used on a regular basis but need to be stored for a long time. At the same time, new Big Data analytics tools are making old and little-used data useful for gleaning new insights into business and government. IBM is going after customers in health care, social media, oil and gas, government and other sectors that want to get to all of their data no matter where it's stored.

IBM's system, which it calls Project Big Storage, puts all tiers of storage under one namespace, creating a single pool of data that users can manage through folders and directories without worrying about where it's stored. It incorporates both file and object storage.

The system can be implemented on a company's own premises, as a Cloud service, or as a hybrid. With it, IBM says it will be able to offer a higher quality of service than established Cloud providers like Amazon or Google for a lower price. Key to the low cost is the use of tape, which is part of IBM's long heritage in storage and is being incorporated in a multi-tier, active cloud storage service for the first time, said Bernie Spang, vice president of software-defined infrastructure at IBM.

Specifically, Project Big Storage will cut the cost of retrieving your data from the Cloud and make those costs more predictable, he said. Though there's nothing simple about calculating the cost of storage as data automatically moves across multiple tiers, IBM will let clients see the costs as they're incurred.

Project Big Storage is entering a pilot phase with select customers who will help to shape the eventual product. The pilot should take just a few months, Spang said. When it comes out, it will be offered as a Cloud service through the IBM Cloud Marketplace and the BlueMix Cloud development environment.

Tape costs less per bit of stored data than flash or hard drives do, though it can take longer to deliver the information. Project Big Storage will have multiple tiers of tape storage, some with retrieval times measured in minutes and some that can take a few hours.

If the system works as intended, only data that's rarely needed will end up in that coldest tier of cold storage. It uses IBM's http://www.computerworld.com/article/2885129/ibm-puts-software-and-cloud-at-the-center-of-storage.html Scale software, an evolution of GPFS (General Parallel File System), a distributed storage technology that includes automatic tiering based on enterprise policies. Another key piece is IBM's Spectrum Archive tape technology, formerly LTFS (Linear Tape File System). Within their own premises, customers can include non-IBM storage products in the system.

The Cloud capability is provided through the company's SoftLayer infrastructure. To run the tape portion of the Cloud service, IBM partnered with Iron Mountain for its storage facilities and expertise in compliance and tape handling, Spang said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cloud computinginternetIBMstorage

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?