Software enablement for tape: LTFS Data management

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Thursday, May 3, 2018
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Magnetic tape has some very attractive properties including low cost, energy efficiency, long-term reliability and security, that make it particularly well-suited to storing the vast amount of data the modern world generates as it becomes cold. However, tape systems have inherent complexity in terms of management and operation. In the enterprise world these complexities are typically hidden behind proprietary, monolithic software and data formats; these are not a great fit for open-source based storage systems and cloud architectures. In this presentation, we discuss how developers can build a storage stack with a tape backend that relies on open formats only and uses no proprietary software. We present new open-source software that has been designed to hide the complexity of tape from the storage developer. They build on the standardised Linear Tape File System (LTFS) and provide the capability to integrate a tape backend at different levels of the storage stack (e.g., as an extension to a disk filesystem or as a cold tier for an object storage system) providing ease-of-use without giving up flexibility and without dependency to specific tape technologies. We also discuss how frameworks like Kubernetes can be used to orchestrate tape resources. The main goal of the presentation is to familiarise the audience with the new software projects, explain how they can be used, and invite developers to participate with their own ideas and requirements to shape them.

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