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EVault sets out to melt Glacier with new archiving cloud

EVault this month revealed plans to build an 8 exabyte archiving cloud that will uses more than 500 disks per server and will eventually incorporate its parent Seagate’s Kinetic storage. The cloud, called Long-Term Storage Service (LTS2), is already functional but a blog from EVault VP Mikey Butler makes it clear that LTS2 is still a work in progress.

The EVault version is faster than Amazon’s Glacier but more expensive. It currently costs $15 per TB per month or $0.015 per GB per month compared to Glacier’s price of $0.01 GB per month. But while Glacier may require five hours to retrieve data, EVault says data stored on LTS2 is immediately available. According to the LTF2 web site, data can be accessed with a first byte latency of less than five seconds.

LTS2 can be accessed through OpenStack Object Storage and Amazon S3 APIs, and EVault offers service level agreements (SLAs) for data durability, availability and portability. EVault says the LTS2 cloud distributes objects across disks, storage nodes, data centers and geographical zones. Customers can access the cloud through gateways from TwinStrata, Maldivica or Riverbed.

In his blog laying out the LTS2 mission, Butler wrote that EVault and Seagate have set out to “create the world’s largest, most durable, cost effective, easiest to adopt, disk archival cloud.” He also laid out 10 challenges, which include scaling the cloud to 8 exabytes to meet pricing objectives. His vision for the service includes self-healing drives to minimize downtime, 93% of the drives powered down at any time to reduce power consumption, and a low-touch model that will require only one operator for every 100 racks of equipment.

Butler also writes of the “wonderful technology breakthrough” that Seagate calls its Kinetic Drive. Kinetic Drives use Ethernet and object key values rather than SAS, SATA or SCSI block storage interfaces to connect to applications. Seagate’s goal is to eliminate the storage server tier and enable applications to speak directly to the storage device. Seagate’s roadmap calls for Kinetic drives in mid-2014. Butler did not say how many of the LTS2 design goals will require Kinetic Drives, or when the new archiving cloud will implement those new drives.

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