ActiveScale And Active Archive Survey

Let’s take a look at object storage and cloud management solutions from Western Digital and a recent report and survey from the Active Archive Alliance about the value and methods for storing infrequently accessed data.

Western Digital expanded its ActiveScale storage system. The company is pushing its hardware and software to support hybrid cloud applications, using their object storage systems with public cloud providers, both for storage and specialized data processing as shown below. Their system expands to 9 racks with up to 74 PB of raw storage capacity and has advanced cloud and local management features.

Western Digital ActiveScale Hybrid Cloud

Western Digital ActiveScale Hybrid Cloud

IMAGE FROM WESTERN DIGITAL PRESENTATION

Western Digital’s introduction of OS 5.5 is intended to streamline workflows and reduce latency barriers for multi-site data distribution. The company said that the ActiveScale X100, coupled with OS 5.5, is projected to deliver data throughput of up to 75 GB/s in scale out configurations.

The ActiveScale data pipeline service offers a way to stitch together distributed web-scale applications to streamline data processing. Real-time object notification from ActiveScale can help simplify workload processing for a variety of use cases. These features are shown in the figure below.

ActiveScale Data Pipeline

ActiveScale Data Pipeline

IMAGE FROM WESTERN DIGITAL PRESENTATION

Asynchronous Geo-Spreading, enabled in OS 5.5, is a data protection scheme that spreads data across geographically dispersed availability zones to provide long distance data recovery. This enables low-latency data ingest for IoT applications. Customers can choose between synchronous or asynchronous geo resiliency with Geo-Spread to meet their unique needs.

ActiveScale 5.5 also allows integration of 14 GB Ultrastar data center HDDs. This is a 16% capacity increase in storage density and improved cost and capacity with the same power and cooling costs.

Object storage systems like Western Digital’s ActiveScale can serve as active archives—places to store data long term that has somewhat frequent access. The Active Archive Alliance released its 2019 report and survey. According to the alliance, “Archival data is piling up faster than ever as organizations are quickly learning the value of analyzing vast amounts of previously untapped digital data. The need to securely store, search for, retrieve and analyze massive volumes of archival content is fueling new and more effective advancements in archive solutions.”

The Active Archive Defined

The Active Archive Defined

IMAGE FROM ACTIVE ARCHIVE REPORT

The 2019 Active Archive survey of 122 respondents indicated that 46% are not prepared to either implement an archive strategy or modify their existing strategy within the next year. Active archives combine SSDs, HDDs and magnetic tape for an optimal archive solution and may include these storage products used in the cloud, as shown below. Archives involve the movement of data versus backup, which copies currently used data.

However, 40% of the survey respondents said that they had plans to deploy an active archive where data is available online and always accessible. Moving data to a lower cost storage tier frees up higher performance storage capacity for more active data and reduces backup time for the remaining data. Archival performance using magnetic tape can be enhanced using an SSD or HDD front-end cache and using advanced data management algorithms to anticipate and pre-locate data in cache. The report also says that magnetic tape can provide an “air gap” that preserves a copy of data that is not directly exposed to cyber-attacks.

Object storage systems such as Western Digital’s ActiveScale allow sophisticated hybrid storage solutions using both local storage and cloud resources. The Active Archive Alliance survey shows growth in demand for active archive solutions.

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