November 6, 2013

Cray Packages HSM in Advance of Lustre 2.5

Nicole Hemsoth

For those who might have been having doubts, there’s little question that this has been a year for the books for tape storage. New capabilities and a resurgence of ecosystem offerings around moving tape in, off and around the trusty media are surfacing at multiple levels; from the file systems that serve up the data to the actual drives themselves.

Key to much of the recent momentum is the growing din of demand for hierarchical storage management (HSM) that’s been amplified via the big data microphone. Progress toward offering reliable and simplified HSM fed two more announcements this week, first from the Lustre community group, OpenSFS, and another today from Cray. If you’ll recall, this year has also seen similarly themed announcements from SpectraLogic, SGI and others.

According to Cray’s Barry Bolding, whom we spoke with in advance of the news of a new transparent storage solution that bundles together some unique software elements to make HSM more seamless, enterprise customers are looking for a complete package to take over their tiered storage. While the suits are one of the moving targets for Cray, the company is hoping that the HPC community will see some attractive (and homey) features in this solution that they’ll be able to sandbox—especially those who are avid SAM-QFS users.


The company’s new Tiered Adaptive Storage (TAS) appliance provides a ready-to-roll platform for tiered archiving that can be provisioned as a primary file storage system with tiers, as well as a persistent storage archive. The goal is to provide transparent data migration across storage tiers — from fast scratch to primary and archive storage across up to four flexible storage tiers mixing media, solid state drive, disk or tape.

The newest version of Lustre, which hits GA in the second quarter of 2014, has all the hooks necessary for HSM and it is Cray’s hope that these can be used to snag a growing set of enterprise users who are eager to adopt Lustre but who still had lingering concerns about a few features that were lacking—most notably, enterprise-grade HSM.

At the heart of the offering is a swap out of the Lustre RobinHood layer in favor of the technology from startup Versity, which is built on the SAM-QFS technology that many are already familiar with in the HPC arena. Cray is now an equity owner in Versity and will continue to work the company as it develops—thereby offering users a stable platform that is backed by the credibility of a longstanding company like Cray.

Cray says the Versity policy manager and archiver provides the unique ability to integrate its large-scale archival storage software into the Cray TAS solution. The company’s core technology, the Versity Storage Manager, features an advanced, standards-based software architecture, supporting virtually unlimited archive size.

“Cray is widely respected for introducing high-quality solutions that are innovative and highly scalable, and because we take the same approach in designing our products, we believe the technology behind our Versity Storage Manager is a perfect match for Cray’s Tiered Adaptive Storage solution,” said Harriet Coverston, Versity’s co-founder and CTO. “We are very proud of our partnership with Cray, and we are excited to introduce Cray TAS to the storage marketplace.”

Read more about the announcement in a detailed article in EnterpriseTech

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