Turning storage strategy on its head?

Newcomers claim they are rewriting the book on long-term storage. Chris Mellor reports

Two companies, Plasmon and Nexsan, are looking at a new technology which combines magnetic and optical disks in one box to provide both data access and archiving. They believe the combination will offer a good fit for the storage and protection of so-called fixed-content data.

Plasmon and Nexsan hope to address the issues that hamper existing technologies, such as magnetic disk’s lack of utility for long-term storage — specifically its high failure rate and lack of removal for disaster recovery via off-site vaulting.

The general answer to this unsuitability has been to backup data to tape and use that for the long-term storage of large amounts of data.

Where the data has to be archived for decades with a guarantee of it being unaltered, then write-once/read many (WORM) optical disk have been used, either magneto-optical or consumer CD/DVD media. Thus a split has emerged between tape backup of changeable data and optical archiving of static data.

Plasmon and Nexsan hope to change this via new products — Plasmon with a NAS drive array and Nexsan via a CAS front end.

The Plasmon UDO Archive Appliance uses 30GB UDO (ultra density optical) disks to archive data. Sitting in front (logically) of these is a NAS RAIDtec array, offering from 960GB to 19TB of capacity. The product comes with system management and archive software.

Nexsan Technologies and DISC have introduced a similar combined magnetic/optical product for fixed-content data.

The product adds DISC’s 23.3GB optical disks to Nexsan’s serial ATA Assureon server and drive array. Assureon offers content-addressed storage (CAS) facilities, meaning that server applications don’t see a standard CIFS or NFS interface. Maximum optical capacity is 16TB.

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