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Where's My Data?

Linear Tape File System Supports Cross-Platform Data Management

I had the opportunity to meet with Floyd Christofferson, CEO of StrongBox Data Solutions during IT Press Tour #35. StrongBox provides autonomous data management solutions.

There is no one-size-fits-all storage solution and this results in storage and vendor silos, more manual processes, higher costs, lower efficiency, difficult integration and collaboration, and difficult data migrations.

To get a handle on your data and storage, you need to know what kind of data you have, where it resides, how users access it, if it’s protected, and where it needs to go next.

The focus needs to shift from allocation to utilization efficiency. Going from balancing workloads efficiently across storage types and avoiding capacity availability problems, to ensuring data is hosted efficiently across storage resources based on business criteria, access frequency, and media cost. This is even more challenging in multi-vendor storage environments.

The solution to the problem is aggregated metadata. Each metadata type has a different value. Information about the data gets siloed. Aggregating multiple sources of information provides a complete picture.

StrongLink is a vendor-neutral solution that aggregates file system metadata, selected rich-file headers, and user-created metadata. These power policy engines to automate routine IT operations, recognize and take action on serious issues, streamline collaboration between groups and teams, maximize the ROI of IT resources, and scale horizontally.

Metadata drives automated data services and policy-based workflows. There’s multi-protocol access to a cross-platform global namespace and it connects to storage both into and out of the data path. StrongLink bridges storage silos and automates cross-platform data management.

One solution controls multi-vendor, multi-platform storage environments for data movement (data migration, cross-platform tiering, technology refresh, active archive), protection and optimization (Storage optimization/consolidation, business continuity/disaster recovery), and workflow automation (data classification, metadata management, automated data placement, and file copy management).

During the presentation, Floyd announced the release of the second generation StrongLink data and storage resource management software, with scale-out performance improvements as well as an optional LTFS feature that adds native support for tape libraries from any vendor. The new capabilities enable IT managers to manage their data by policy in a cross-platform global namespace that can include flash, disk, tape, and cloud storage from any vendor.

By policy, the system can automatically offload inactive data from primary storage tiers without disrupting user access, to provide air-gap replication with vaulted copies to help guard against ransomware, or to automatically create a true active archive on the lowest cost storage either on-premises or in the cloud.

Use Cases

  • Disruptive data migration during a technology upgrade can disrupt business, is time-consuming, expensive, manual, and error-prone. As data grows, so do problems. Metadata-driven migration addresses these by eliminating the need to read tap and automating the process.

  • Any-to-any migration across multiple systems for a client was moving three legacy libraries from multiple vendors was achieved with hybrid in-band and out-of-band workloads, with high performance, keeping primary storage small, and direct user policy-based automation.

Key Takeaways

  • Remove complexity by easily adding and removing any storage. Have a global view of all files while facilitating collaboration.

  • Reduce storage costs 80% by automating archiving and tiering. Less human intervention and more automation also reduces OpEx by 50%.

  • Enforce data protection with automated data lifecycle management which meets privacy, curation, audit, and governance requirements.


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