Spectra Logic BlackPearl V3 Brings Object Storage to Enterprise Data

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Spectra Logic BlackPearl V3 Brings Object Storage to Enterprise Data

We look at how BlackPearl V3 enables storage administrators to meet the needs of a broad range of data management applications, from big data to video storage.

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BlackPearl V3 Runs on Spectra-Branded Appliances

Although BlackPearl V3 is an object-storage gateway and management product, the BlackPearl software is tightly integrated with Spectra Logic's storage hardware and runs on the company's branded appliances. That ensures compatibility with other Spectra Storage products, as well as full support for Amazon's S3 object-storage system paradigm.

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Here's BlackPearl's Primary Dashboard

BlackPearl follows the primary conventions of cloud management by offering a browser-based dashboard, which serves as the launching point for the product's various functions. The dashboard also informs administrators of the status of the object-storage infrastructure at a glance.

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Configuration Options Are Selected From the Main Dashboard

Configuration of the S3-based object-storage paradigm involves concepts, such as buckets, which are basically object containers. BlackPearl offers an ordered approach to configuration, which is launched from the main dashboard.

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BlackPearl Employs Concept of Buckets to Store Files

Spectra Logic leverages the concept of buckets, which roughly translate to containers for files. In other words, administrators create buckets, which are then deployed to storage resources to receive data files. Those buckets are accessed using access control lists (ACLs) and driven by defined policies, allowing users to access buckets as if the data contained was a file system. Buckets promote both ease of use and the object-driven paradigm needed for easily managed cloud storage.

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Buckets Give Administrators Granular Control

Buckets can have user lists, as well as policies associated with them, enabling administrators to grant granular control to the bucket, as well as assign custom policies, which drive when and where the bucket is physically stored.

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Buckets Contain File Objects

Once defined, a bucket becomes a repository for data, which is displayed to users as a file system paradigm. That removes much of the confusion associated with containers by presenting information in a way that looks and feels familiar.

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Tracking the Physical Allocation of Buckets

Buckets are designed to be a virtual representation of storage-object containers. With that in mind, it becomes clear that there is a physical abstraction layer being used that works akin to what virtualization does for hardware devices. Nevertheless, administrators still need to know the physical location of the bucket beyond the abstraction layer. BlackPearl allows administrators to drill down into the bucket and locate the physical storage pool.

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Data Policy Selection Is an Important Task

Buckets exist according to administrator-defined policies. Those policies can drive multiple occurrences and control the movement of objects. Policies are the cornerstone of efficient object-based storage and should be created with care and tested before enterprise deployment.

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Advanced Bucket Management Gives Administrators Full Control

Although buckets hide complexity from those working with files, the simple fact of the matter is a great deal happens behind the scenes when dealing with buckets. Thanks to abstraction, the casual user never has to deal with any alien concepts. That said, administrators still need to have full control over the data sets. Advanced Bucket Management helps by graphically conceptualizing how buckets interact with policies, storage domains, storage partitions and storage pools.

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Defining Partitions, Domains and Policies

The advanced bucket management menu offers pull-downs that allow administrators to create and define the critical elements of the object-storage paradigm.

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Defining a Disk Partition

Disk partitions are objects that are assigned to storage pools. The job of a disk partition is to be a target storage resource for a bucket. Several partition types exist, including speedy nearline storage and even faster online storage. Frequency of data usage, as well as policy definitions are used to determine if the data is to be stored nearline (archival) or actively available (online). Partitions can be created on disk or tape, depending upon the needs of the enterprise.

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Storage Domains Control Access Traffic

Much like a domain in Website terms, a storage domain offers a hierarchy that controls traffic. In BlackPearl's case, that traffic is the objects associated with storage. Domains control what partitions are available as well as how data is written and how files are represented as objects to a file system.

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Data Policies Control Objects in Storage Subsystems

Data Policies are the key to controlling the flow of objects across the storage subsystem. Abstraction allows policies to work across multiple storage paradigms, while still offering rule sets that fit in with the established concepts of object storage.

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Cache Management Speeds Data Access

BlackPearl includes the capability to assign high-speed disks to a cache and then allow administrators to define that cache based on the needs of the enterprise. A cache is critical when it comes to reducing latency and allows fast access of frequently accessed data, regardless of the source, whether it's remote, on-site, on tape or on disk.

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BlackPearl V3 Displays Status Screens, Reports

The dashboard offers several status screens and reports, providing administrators with the critical information on how every aspect of the object-storage platform is performing. Extensive reporting makes it easier to track down issues or drive forensics, while monitoring of storage pools gives administrators an instant view into what is available.

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Debunking Myths About Software-Defined Storage

Software-defined storage has been hailed as the answer to handling the data deluge of the 21st century. The ultimate goal of SDS is to provide a single, unified set of storage services across all storage devices for maximum availability, performance and efficiency, as well as to ensure the overall health and protection of vital storage assets. SDS also provides synchronous mirroring and metro clusters for high availability and business continuity. Asynchronous data replication for remote site disaster recovery is also high on the list. That's a lot of new-gen tech, and it can get complicated. Enterprises are beginning to realize other business benefits, such as easier movement of workloads from node to node as the use case requires, improved security and smoother data movement. Companies that provide this specific type of storage software include DataCore, Egnyte, Nexenta, IBM, HPE, Red Hat,...
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