Quantum Corp. today announced its first tape storage appliance that uses the Linear Tape File System (LTFS), allowing data to be stored and accessed on tape cartridges in a highly accessible format.
The LTFS specification and file system was released in 2010. It's supported by major tape vendors, including IBM, HP, Quantum and Oracle, as well as the LTO Consortium. Oracle has integrated its T10KC enterprise tape drives with LTFS.
LTFS itself is a file system with a POSIX interface that applications such as Windows File Explorer can access. A user can then add a network-attached storage stack (e.g. NFS and/or CIFS) on top of LTFS, allowing seamless access to files from any desktop. LTFS is enabled by the dual-partitioning capability of LTO-5.
Quantum's new Scalar LTFS appliance is aimed at providing new methods of access to archived content on LTO tape cartridges. The appliance features a network-attached storage (NAS) front-end. By using the LTFS format, data is stored on tape as files, making it easy for users and applications to organize and search archived content.
Because it works with existing application and file system tools, LTFS-based content can be more easily accessed using NFS or CIFS protocols. That means data can be more easily migrated between systems and made accessible for long-term data protection and archival storage.
The Scalar LTFS appliance can also be used to import and export LTFS open-standard media into a Quantum StorNext File System, offering a content distribution alternative for cloud services and applications such as video archiving.
LTFS is of particular interest for broadcasters and video post-production, where the NAS interface on Scalar LTFS enables media files captured on flash cards to be easily copied onto LTO tape. Migrating the video from in-camera flash cards frees those cards up to be quickly reused, Quantum said.
Quantum's Scalar LTFS can also be used to provide broader access to images stored in public or private clouds, where somewhat higher access latencies are acceptable.
"When a customer requests images that are archived in the cloud, a provider can use Scalar LTFS to copy content on to tape and send it to the customer. The tape can be transported and read from any LTO tape device regardless of what application is used," Quantum said in a statement.
The Scalar LTFS appliance can access up to 10 petabytes of archived data; Files can be dragged and dropped to LTFS tape cartridges in Quantum's Scalar libraries and partitioned directly from the user's native file browser.
The Scalar LTFS appliance will be available in three models (enterprise, departmental and SMB) beginning in June. The list price begins at around $15,000.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
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