Spectra Logic Unveils Tier that Stores Massive Data for Pennies per GB

Spectra Logic Unveils Tier that Stores Massive Data for Pennies per GB

Spectra Logic Unveils Tier that Stores Massive Data for Pennies per GB

Spectra Logic today announced the BlackPearl Deep Storage Appliance that enables a new tier of storage to manage massive amounts of data indefinitely at an extremely low cost. BlackPearl is the first product to support the new DS3 interface (announced by the company earlier this week), which makes it easy for new data center architectures to store large data objects on tape via a simple RESTful interface. Spectra Logic also announced multiple ways data can move into a BlackPearl deep storage tier – a software client written specifically for Hadoop and big data environments, the Spectra Logic Developer Program for end users and ISVs that want to create their own clients, and the ability to export from nTier Verde NAS disk directly to deep storage in the future.

The BlackPearl Deep Storage Appliance provides intelligent data management and delivers low cost, ease of use and scalability advantages unmatched in the storage industry. It enables data-intensive, long term storage users, including those in Web 2.0, cloud services, big data, media and entertainment, oil and gas exploration, life sciences, federal and state government, social media and finance, among others, to save time and money by incorporating low cost, high density, scalable tape library-based deep storage into their fast-growth data environments.

“BlackPearl enables the use of tape to easily store massive volumes of data objects and is ideal for any compute environment that needs to store data for long periods of time. The appliance sets the stage for the adoption of deep storage tiers across new and expanding use cases that currently cannot easily access the absolute lowest cost storage option due to the historic lack of RESTful, web-based interfaces to tape library storage,” said Molly Rector, executive vice president product management and worldwide marketing, Spectra Logic.

BlackPearl:  Extremely Low Cost, Easy Data Movement, Massively Scalable

The BlackPearl appliance offers a RESTful, object-based interface to deep storage by leveraging the new DS3 interface and acts as an intelligent intermediary between online and deep storage environments. It was designed for very large data sets that scale from hundreds of terabytes up to petabyte or exabyte in scale, and delivers the lowest cost way to store long term retention data, the easiest way to move bulk data into deep storage, and the most scalable long term storage available.  

“BlackPearl significantly reduces the cost and restrictions of storing long term, relatively inactive data,” added Rector. “The deep storage tier offers the ease of use of cloud and web interfaces while removing the constraint of network connections that are too expensive or slow to handle migration of large data sets to the public cloud. Additionally, most customers want unrestricted access to the data in their deep storage, which is something they can’t always have with public cloud offerings.”

Spectra’s BlackPearl Deep Storage Appliance delivers the following benefits to users:

  • The absolute lowest cost way to store data. BlackPearl is integrated with Spectra’s tape libraries, which keeps the cost of storing data at the lowest in the industry.
    • Lowest purchase cost in the industry. List pricing for a BlackPearl with tape library solution ranges from $0.09 - $0.14 per gigabyte (GB) for typical configurations, and even lower for very large systems (10 petabytes or more).  When compared with public cloud offerings that charge on the basis of ‘per gigabyte per month’ into perpetuity, disk array storage costs that average approximately $1.00 per GB(1), and low-cost archive grade NAS disk of $0.45 per GB, Spectra’s deep storage solution is extremely economical.
    • Reduced operating expense and environmental impact. Because tape is the most dense and lowest power-consuming storage media, there are significant savings in floor space, power consumption and data center cooling requirements.
    • Direct, quick and cost-effective access. By leveraging the DS3 interface, the time, effort and costs associated with accessing large data stores is significantly reduced.
  • The easiest way to move bulk data. BlackPearl simplifies the movement of bulk data and efficiently manages how data is stored on tape. Once data targeted for deep storage is identified by the DS3 software client, BlackPearl fully manages the data transfer process and assignment of object metadata as it is moved to tape-based deep storage. BlackPearl also handles long term migration of data to new media formats.  Users will no longer struggle with how to migrate from today’s LTO-6 tape to a future generation of media as BlackPearl will manage the migration.
    • Easy to access. BlackPearl includes a DS3 server to which DS3 clients can connect and enable tape libraries to be used as object storage platforms accessible by Web applications.
    • Open data format. Data is stored in open, self-describing Linear Tape File System (LTFS) format so tapes can be read by any LTFS-capable system.
    • Secure and reliable. Integration with the Spectra BlueScale tape library management features ensures data security and reliability with functionality such as data encryption, data integrity verification, tape drive cleaning, system error detection and queued ejects to optimize export of data to offline/offsite storage.
    • No storage specialists required. BlackPearl automatically handles virtually all management of the deep storage system, including inventory, object locations, retries, error handling, and tracking ejected cartridges.
  • The most scalable long term storage available. BlackPearl’s automatic media migration feature, paired with tape’s typical 30-year shelf life enables data to reliably remain in deep storage forever. Tape also has the industry’s highest storage capacity per square inch, and its roadmap includes significant capacity improvements that span across future generations. By unlocking tape’s economies of scale for modern applications, BlackPearl enables new use cases and environments to massively scale long term storage in a highly efficient way.
    • Easily expands to exabytes and beyond. Supported by Spectra’s full line of T-Series tape libraries, BlackPearl offers deep storage configurations as small as 15 terabytes and scales into multiple exabytes in a single tape storage system.
    • Designed to keep data indefinitely. Automated migration capabilities will move long term retention data to new media formats as they become available over time.
    • Fastest transfer of large storage objects. Built-in solid state disk (SSD) drives act as a cache buffer to significantly improve performance as data moves from online environments to deep storage.

Moving Data To and From BlackPearl

To make it ultra-easy for end users to deploy the BlackPearl appliance and gain the benefits associated with deep storage technology, Spectra Logic is unveiling a series of client options for enabling the transfer of data to deep storage.

  • Workflow specific, pre-written clients by Spectra or third party ISVs

Spectra Logic and the ISV partner community are working together to write clients to enable the ISV to migrate data to and from the deep storage environment. The clients enable data management applications to have a seamlessly integrated option for storing the data to an object-based, deep storage tier on tape.

Spectra also will work to contribute workflow specific, pre-written clients to the development community. The company released its first contributed client today, which is designed to offer deep storage tiering directly from the Hadoop environment. With the Hadoop DS3 client and the BlackPearl appliance data can be migrated out of active clusters for long term storage and be easily accessed again in the future. For the first time, Hadoop users can now grow massive data analytic projects and keep costs contained.  

  • Developer Program: User created clients for custom workflows

Spectra Logic’s Developer Program offers all the tools necessary to write a custom DS3 client for BlackPearl to move data to and from deep storage. This program makes available the API, a simulator download, the software development kit, documentation, client code samples and a developer forum. The program is designed to enable organizations to quickly and easily add a tier of deep storage into a storage environment and benefit from its low cost, power efficiency, high density and scalability advantages.

  • Export to deep storage option on nTier Verde NAS

Users deploying low-cost, ArchiveGrade NAS storage need the option to migrate or copy data to the deep storage tier. To address this, Spectra Logic’s nTier Verde will fully integrate a BlackPearl client and server to enable the NAS environment to seamlessly export data to deep storage.

The BlackPearl Deep Storage Appliance is available now within a beta program and will be generally available in December 2013. It is supported by Spectra’s full line of T-Series tape libraries. Current Spectra T-Series customers can leverage their existing tape library with BlackPearl by adding in a deep storage partition in the tape library that is currently in use for archive, backup or disaster recovery. 

The Spectra Logic Developer Program and the Hadoop DS3 client are available immediately to all qualified developers.

The option to have the nTier Verde NAS storage act as a BlackPearl client and server to enable an “export to deep storage option” from the NAS environment will be available in 2014.


Pauley, W. “Spectra Logic BlackPearl Deep Storage Appliance for Web Applications and the Cloud,” Enterprise Strategy Group, October 2013.

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