StrongLink LTFS FAQ No.1 – For Existing StrongBox Customers
The StrongLink Release 2.0 is anticipated in Q3-2018, and will bring LTFS capabilities to the StrongLink platform as an optional premium feature called StrongLink LTFS.
How does LTFS Tape work on StrongLink?
- StrongLink LTFS features enable LTFS tape libraries (LTO and Enterprise) to be attached to the StrongLink.
- StrongLink presents LTFS tape as another storage tier, that can be added to a StrongLink-managed global namespace.
- StrongLink LTFS uses policy-based workflow engines to copy files from any source storage and write it to StrongLink then serves file reads from LTFS back to a storage target, the target can be any file system.
- File sources and targets can be added via the StrongLink Control Panel GUI.
- Files can be added by “drag and drop” within the Control Panel or Virtual File System.
- Files can be copied and read via workflow from the Control Panel, the StrongLink Policy scheduler and via the StrongLink API.
- File movement is managed by workflow policies that determine which files should be moved and when.
- Files that are read from LTFS can be copied directly to any file system.
What is the difference between StrongBox and StrongLink?
- The StrongBox appliance is an archive storage tier using LTFS as the storage medium. StrongBox requires cache to buffer read/writes from tape. Files must be written to the StrongBox before it can write to tape, and files reads must be retrieved from the StrongBox. StrongBox can not initiate move of the files and has limited workflow support.
- StrongLink is not storage, but a workflow engine that is able to support sophisticated data movement between different file systems and object storage, including public cloud. StrongLink can move files between multiple sources to multiple targets. Source and targets can be local, network and cloud storage.
How does StrongLink handle file moves and migrations?
- Users can “drag and drop” files between storage tiers, or automate workflows using metadata-driven policies to define the files to move, and when/where they should be moved to. StrongLink creates a copy of a file from the selected sources, writes a copy to the target, and performs data integrity checks to ensure the file is identical to the source. It can then delete the source file if the policy requires a “move” or migration to free the space from source storage. Policies can manage multiple synchronised copies across multiple targets to facilitate automated workflows, for DR or data collaboration.
Does StrongLink LTFS support SMB, CIFS, NFS, S3?
- Yes. StrongLink presents files in its virtual file system to the user thru multiple protocols simultaneously. Users can access a file stored via any mounted protocol, StrongLink will provide the translation to the source storage. For example: a file can be written via a SMB mount to an S3 store and then read back via NFS.
How does StrongLink read from LTFS?
- When users want to retrieve a file that is on LTFS, StrongLink reads the tape copy and writes the file to the defined target. If the file is already on local or network store, StrongLink will use those copies as the priority before reading from LTFS or cloud.
Is StrongLink an HSM?
- StrongLink provides HSM functions, but is not an HSM in the traditional sense. It does not have agents, clients, stubs, or symlinks. StrongLink is a virtual file system, and manages where all files and file copies reside. It can copy files and manage attached storage to ensure storage optimization, tiering, and archiving. Unlike HSMs that are locked into a particular vendor platform or file system, StrongLink enables intelligent tiering across any file system or vendor platform, from multiple sources to multiple targets.
How many copies can StrongLink manage?
- StrongLink is dynamic, so it can connect to multiple sources and targets. It uses policies to determine how many copies should be created, where they reside, the retention period, and who has access.
- StrongLink includes multiple data integrity checks, and analysis of the files under management. There is no practical limit to the number of copies of each unique file that may be maintained, whether for DR or other use cases.
Does StrongLink LTFS need cache, stubs or symlinks?
- StrongLink does not require a cache, it has intelligent policy engine to know what files to move to and from source to targets (local, network, LTFS and cloud), and automates the process to meet workflow requirements. Users can define an SLA and QoS for both the storage and the file to ensure performance.
- StrongLink can automate: archiving, data tiering, migrations, DR and backup.
- StrongLink policies can automate pre-fetch from tape and cloud, staging of data on any storage type in the global namespace.
- Since StrongLink can maintain multiple copies of the file in sync to facilitate workflows and for data protection, this enables much greater flexibility for data access and workflows.
Do users still see their file if it is moved from the source file system?
- StrongLink presents users with a persistent view of their files within the global namespace based on their permissions.
- Users have several options to access their files:
- A file system mount point.
- Browser-based GUI, called the StrongLink Control Panel.
- API that supports all the functions of the Control Panel.
Will I still have StrongBox functionality when I upgrade to StrongLink LTFS?
- StrongLink LTFS will support the StrongBox LTFS capabilities for managing data on any tape library with LTO-5, 6, 7, 8 and IBM 1140, 1150 and 1155, as it does today.
- StrongLink LTFS adds significant new capabilities for policy-based control and workflow automation of all data across any storage platform from any file system or object storage type, including cloud, in a global namespace.
- These additional capabilities include real-time insights for the automation of policy-based data migration and tiering.
- Rich reporting
- High availability architecture
- Also, StrongLink LTFS is no longer limited to a single instance, and can scale outto multiple nodes for increased I/O, high-availability, and more.