The expanding simplicity of tape storage

The job of expanding a tape library can be made as easy as adding new disk drives to a fileshare via new capabilities in QStar Technologies’ version 6.0 of its Archive Manager product (formerly QStar HSM).

Software-based LTFS (Linear Tape File System) volume-spanning is a new capability for tape libraries that can be deployed with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. Archive Manager 6.0 provides full compatibility with the LTFS platform, an open-source data format that provides a file system interface to data stored on tape, such as LTO5.

With the use of QStar’s LTFS volume-spanning technology, all media within the tape library can be seen as one or more ever-growing network share(s). New LTFS media is automatically added to the set as the previous media becomes full.

This approach eliminates the constant stopping and manual reconfiguration required by standard LTFS methodologies as a tape reaches capacity.

In standard LTFS systems, each tape is seen as its own subdirectory or mount point; with a large library this can be hundreds or thousands of subdirectories, making it difficult for users or applications to know which one to write to.

Also, with QStar’s Archive Manager 6.0 individual tapes can be removed from the library and read in stand-alone drives; once returned to the library, they are automatically added back to their original set, reducing the time it takes to read archived data. With LTFS volume spanning, QStar makes LTFS a viable and highly effective industry-standard tape file system, not only for the media and entertainment industry, but for all markets.

Archive Manager 6.0 also includes a new file system called TDO (Tape/Disk Object), which replaces QStar’s previous file system SDF. TDO offers improved efficiency through multi-threaded reads and writes, and allows large media sets with billions of files to be accessed as quickly as small data sets.

TDO is a file system that can be used with all archive storage technologies supported by QStar, including object storage, tape, optical and RDX. TDO provides near 100 percent media utilisation by writing blocks of data or objects, rather than files, to the archive; it maximises the capacity used on each media by allowing a single large file to span two or more media and by allowing many small files to exist in a single block. The size of the block or object used is configurable to match the best performance of the archive technology.

TDO and LTFS can be used together in a single library with multiple drives, with TDO used for media retained in the library and LTFS used for media stored offline or offsite for disaster prevention strategies. This integration maximises the archive performance and library capacity, and offers improved disaster recovery through the use of stand-alone drives to recover files without the need to physically return the tapes to the library at the primary site.

QStar Archive Manager 6.0 software supports archives from 1TB to multiple PBs. Pricing is per terabyte and based on the online capacity of the archive. QStar supports tape libraries from manufacturers that use LTO-5 drives from IBM, HP and Quantum and T10000C from Oracle. QStar will also support LTO-6 as it becomes available and TS1140 as demand dictates. Customers using QStar’s previous file system (SDF) can upgrade to the new TDO file system. Visit for more information and to request pricing.

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