Crossroads Systems boosts StrongBox DR failover to tape

Crossroads StrongBox archiving appliance ingests writes to disk and copies data to up two tape libraries for disaster recovery.

Crossroads Systems has released the third generation of its StrongBox NAS archiving appliance, revamping the platform with failover between multiple tape libraries and tools for writing directly to object storage in Amazon Web Services.

The StrongBox system is designed for managing unstructured storage that rarely changes but needs to be retained. By default, the device ingests writes to near-line SAS disk or flash and automatically copies data to linear tape cartridges for retention and volume storage. StrongBox uses LTFS technology, and its policy engine analyzes data shares to determine which applications shall remain on performance storage.

The StrongBox platform embeds Aspera's WAN optimization technology for asynchronous replication between StrongBox devices.

StrongBox 3.0 enables users to write to a primary tape library and replicate copy data to a secondary tape repository for archiving and disaster recovery. Previous versions supported one library per StrongBox device.

New version adds Amazon S3, REST-based APIs to CIFS, NFS shares

StrongBox natively supports NFS and CIFS/SMB protocols that let users create individual policies for up to 256 shares per device.

Version 3.0 adds an Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) interface combined with a RESTful API for accessing cloud-based object stores. No special calls are needed and users maintain custody of their data, said David Cerf, Crossroads Systems executive vice president of strategy and business development.

"We don't do hierarchical storage management. We believe that's the wrong approach," Cerf said. "We abstract the whole behavior of tape and present tape libraries as big volume repositories. We might be managing thousands of tape cartridges, but we're presenting them all as singular shares. To the users, we look just like a bottomless NAS or object store."

Tape is 'cheaper' NAS option for balancing performance and capacity storage

Jason Buffington, a storage analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, said Crossroads Systems balances performance and capacity without using storage tiers.

"Most NAS vendors use a flash tier or SATA to move data back and forth based on economics, but nothing is more economical than tape. That's the noteworthy thing about StrongBox. They also stepped up their game by adding S3 APIs for apps to be able to write to an S3 cloud stack," Buffington said.

Crossroads Systems sells two versions of StrongBox. The entry level StrongBox T10 scales from 7.9 TB to 16.1 TB of usable disk storage and handles up to 100 million files with Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connectivity. List pricing for the T10 is $22,555.

The capacity-intensive StrongBox T30 scales from 32.5 TB to 65.2 TB of usable storage and supports up to 1.6 billion files, with a dual 10 GbE port. List pricing for the T30 is $37,520.

Crossroads NAS supports most LTFS libraries and also sells its branded vSeries stackable libraries that scale from 184 TB to 1.3 PB of usable storage. The vendor claims multiple Strongbox appliances could be clustered to support tens of millions of objects in a single namespace.

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