Object storage has become an optimal solution for the storing of persistent data and as a target for cloud storage. Object storage differs in that it is stored in a flat address space with the metadata, or “data about the data,” being flexible in length and co-resident with the object. It is the simplest of three alternatives to storing data, using the S3 interface which can be accessed using HTPC protocol and can scale to hundreds of PBs and billions of files. At the recent Spectra Logic analyst event, I learned about a new object storage solution: the ArcticBlue.

ArcticBlue leverages an earlier introduction, BlackPearl. Announced in 2013, BlackPearl locates object storage target data onto Spectra Logic’s family of tape libraries. Why would one want to do this when cloud storage is routinely advertised at $.01 per month? Multiply that $.01 over four years, and you are looking at $.48 per GB for the storage alone, not counting for charges moving the data in and out of the cloud. Tape storage can be acquired for between $.02 to $.05 per GB or $.0004 to $.001 per GB per month.
ArcticBlue is disk-based storage exploiting higher capacity, lower cost SMR disk drives, and the BlackPearl gateway to utilize the simple S3 access. The SMR drives use a new methodology to store data that results in greater disk density, higher overall capacity, and a lower cost per GB. ArcticBlue further reduces costs by powering down drives when they are not in use, significantly reducing power consumption and heat output. ArcticBlue and tape libraries can coexist behind the same BlackPearl gateway, providing multiple tiers or copies of data on object storage. An ArcticBlue system has a price tag higher than a tape library, but the disk-based system is far faster than the 20 to 80 seconds required to load a cartridge.

Flash is now all the rage, grabbing most of the headlines. However, a significant amount of the data being created is persistent in nature and does not need the speed or cost of flash or even high-performance disk storage. Object storage is the perfect repository, and there are options available that vary in both price and features.