The EchoLeaf “front end” is an easy to install disk-based appliance that can be specifically configured to your organization’s needs. And to individuals and other applications, the EchoLeaf Virtual Drive looks like conventional NAS storage. You can “see” it on the network, drag and drop data to it, copy data, retrieve data, and apply any standard network security functions. Behind the EchoLeaf Virtual Drive is standard IBM LTFS technology, with a tape system (or systems) that fit your organization. However EchoLeaf provides the complete interface to the tape system. And EchoLeaf aggregates ALL of the storage capacity of your tape system as a single network drive, with a single namespace.
With EchoLeaf interfacing with LTFS, you receive ALL of the advantages of LTFS technology, while being shielded from the need to be tape-system experts.
To understand the value of EchoLeaf, there are three layers of benefits. First, the advantages of modern, IBM tape technology; Second, the added advantages of LTFS; And finally the full-solution value from EchoLeaf Systems.
Tape itself is the needed green solution to the expense of disk-based storage. Tape delivers network storage at 1/10 the cost of disk (based on numerous reports and studies.) Why? It’s obvious:
- Disks spin all the time. They require energy to spin, they create heat, and therefore must be cooled. Unless tape is actively reading or writing, it is inert in the system. It uses no energy. Tape energy costs are calculated as being on average less than disk energy costs by a factor or over 100!
- Disks need to be replaced about every 3 years. Usually the actual system writing to the disks also need to be replaced – so disk Total Cost of Ownership – regardless of the system, required a 3 years upgrade cycle. Tapes (depending on usage) will last for between 10 and 25 years! Upgrade cycles occur much less frequently. So while the actual full-system cost for EchoLeaf is less than disk, TCO savings over 5 or 10 years are far more substantial.
- With disk systems reliability costs money. RAID, disk mirroring, full system backups are needed to prevent against the constant and routine failure of individual disks or central indices. This redundancy is expensive. Tape today is actually enormously reliable and secure. Where tape was once susceptible to write-errors that might not be discovered until years later, modern IBM drives now manage on-the-fly CRC checks and “verify after write” technology that guarantees that the data transferred to the drive has been stored properly.
- Securing data on disk is always a function of software programming turning on and off features (like overwrite protection, changes in volume names, etc.) Legally and forensically, if data MUST be secured, disk systems are prone to potential failure. Tape, by its nature, is an APPEND ONLY medium. When you write to tape, the data itself cannot be changed. Files CAN change, but if they do, old ones are preserved on the tape. So unlike either cloud or disk deployments, if an organization wants full, reliable control of their data, tape reduces risk in this area.
- Disk densities continue to increase with Moore’s Law – doubling every 18 – 24 months. Tape capacity has absolutely kept pace, with tape date-cartridges available that hold more than 6TB of data (equivalent to the largest disks available today.) A standard height rack of disk and/or tape can now hold over a PB of data. New LTO7 Tapes are rated at 15 TB compressed (with standard tape-drive compression.) Density will vary based on the type of content, but tape continues to be the most cost-effective storage medium available.