IBM tape libraries help Arkivum make the difference

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1 IBM tape libraries help Arkivum make the difference The key role played by Linear Tape Open (LTO) technology and Linear Tape File System (LTFS) format in delivering the Arkivum Assured Archiving Service Dr. Matthew Addis, CTO Arkivum March 2012 Copyright IBM Corporation, 2012

2 Table of contents Abstract...3 Introduction...3 Prerequisites How the service works and where data tape fits in... 4 The benefits of LTFS...5 LTO and LTFS... 6 Seven questions to ask of any archive solution... 6 Summary...8 About the author...8 Resources...9 Trademarks and special notices

3 Abstract In this white paper, Dr. Matthew Addis, CTO at Arkivum, discusses the benefits of using Linear Tape Open (LTO) technology and Linear Tape File System (LTFS) format in the delivery of its assured archiving service. This ensures that an organization s valuable data is kept safe and secure forever. Introduction There is an ever increasing need for organizations to retain data. When this is coupled with the associated demands placed on equipment, power, cooling and people, it is not surprising that many organizations simply fail to cope. Arkivum understands that data is valuable, which is why the company has created a unique dataarchiving service based on data tape to ensure that data is kept safe and secure forever. (The founders of Arkivum enjoy a world-class reputation in the field of digital preservation, having worked with public and private sector organizations to develop best practices for the safe keeping of digital data over the long term.) This white paper explains how Linear Tape Open (LTO ) data-tape technology and the IBM Linear Tape File System (LTFS) format help to shape an essential part of the Arkivum service. This paper also discusses the many advantages of using data tape for archival applications, including its low-cost high reliability and very low-energy consumption. These all make data tape ideal for Arkivum when providing its extremely cost-effective service with fast online access to data. Prerequisites This white paper tells the reader the importance that LTO and LTFS plays in helping Arkivum deliver its assured archiving service and the benefits derived from this. Arkivum uses IBM tape libraries as a core component of delivering long-term data retention and access. By taking online data-tape libraries into the cloud, it is possible to provide an extremely cost-effective archive service with quick access and guaranteed data safety. The Arkivum partnership with IBM is pivotal to achieving this. In particular, the good working relationship between Arkivum and the IBM tape research and development team (located in Tucson US and Zurich, Switzerland) ensures that Arkivum solutions fully benefit from longstanding IBM products and expertise in both LTO and enterprise data tape. This gives Arkivum complete confidence that its technology can continue to deliver the solutions that organizations will need for many years to come. Arkivum is also an IBM preferred partner for archiving in the IBM Enterprise Smart Cloud, where its archival service is ideal for long-term storage of data that has already been created or used in a cloud environment why take data off the cloud and put it onsite when it is conveniently and efficiently possible to simply archive it straight into the Arkivum service? Unlike other data-archiving solutions in the market today, Arkivum provides a 100-percent data-integrity guarantee. LTO data tape and LTFS form an essential part of the Arkivum service. There are many advantages to data tape for archive applications, including its low cost, high reliability and very low energy consumption. 3

4 These all make data tape ideal when providing extremely cost-effective Arkivum services with fast online access to data. LTFS makes it easy for Arkivum to create three independent and geographically separate copies of every file stored in the cloud service, something that forms the bedrock of the Arkivum data-safety guarantee. All three copies are stored on data tape, with two copies always online inside tape libraries housed in secure data centers. The third copy uses LTFS as a key part of the Arkivum data escrow strategy. A copy of all customer data is stored safely and securely offline with a third-party escrow provider. Arkivum clients have complete peace of mind that they can always retrieve their assets on data tape from the escrow provider no matter what happens to the Arkivum service or business. Furthermore, these clients can read those tapes by using industry-standard technology and open-source tools. How the service works and where data tape fits in The Arkivum service starts at the client site with an appliance, physical or virtual, that provides a gateway to the archive service. The appliance looks like a file system to the user; thus, adding files is just a matter of copying them in just as you would for any other file system. Any files that are added are immediately encrypted always before they leave the user's network. (See Figure 1). Figure 1. Arkivum active archive Each file is then replicated over a secure network to the first Arkivum data center, where it is written to LTO data tape and stored in an online IBM library for quick access. The file is then replicated to the second Arkivum data center for resilience. Every time the file is replicated, Arkivum uses checksums to ensure it has been safely received and stored at the destination. Finally, a third copy of the file is created and stored offline with an independent third-party under an escrow agreement. Arkivum uses LTFS and provides open-source tools for easy retrieval of data from these tapes. Users have complete peace of mind that they are in no way locked into the Arkivum service. After all three copies are verified as complete, users can elect to have their local copies removed. 4

5 However, Arkivum does not stop at this point. It regularly migrates data tapes to ensure that the data is on fresh media and also regularly verifies the integrity of the data to ensure that all three copies are in good condition. Importantly, throughout all of this archiving process, file access is easy the file system at the user site still shows every file with its original name and location. This means that access is merely a matter of copying them back out again. In essence, Arkivum has taken IBM data-tape libraries into the cloud to provide an extremely reliable distributed-storage service, which Arkivum can then virtualize as a single file system to make adding files to the service and then accessing them very easy for the users. The benefits of LTFS Both Arkivum and its customers benefit directly from LTFS, which is an open specification of how to write files to data tape; IBM originated this open specification. For Arkivum customers, LTFS provides peace of mind that, should they ever need direct access to their data on tape, they can read that data easily using nothing more than open-source tools and an LTO drive that they can source from whatever vendor they choose. Normally, access to data within the Arkivum service is through the appliance on the customer s network. The appliance pulls the data off tape from one of the Arkivum data centers and delivers it through the file system that the appliance exposes on the local network. The magic here is that this completely hides tape as far as customers are concerned they merely see a network file system like any other. However, other routes to the data are sometimes needed. This might be because a customer needs to have a tape copy of its data created to keep it onsite for DR. Another reason for this is that a customer needs to be able to bulk restore from the archive and shipping data tapes is faster and more cost effective than downloading data online. Yet another example is that a customer might need to get its data back from escrow to then move the data from the Arkivum service to another. It might seem strange for Arkivum to discuss how customers can move away from our service, but the reality is that, for long-term data-retention applications in a fast-moving world, one of the typical first questions is, How do I get out of an archive system or service It is as important as asking, How do I start using it. The combination of LTO data tape and LTFS is perfect for this. Try asking the same question to a cloud-storage provider that uses spinning disk. For Arkivum, LTFS makes data management a lot easier. To use tapes, Arkivum simply mounts them using LTFS and read/write files without any concerns regarding container formats (such as tar) or tracking in detail the whereabouts of every piece of data stored on a data tape. Arkivum only needs to know what tape a customer s file is on and LTFS takes care of the rest. When Arkivum needs to migrate data tapes to take advantage of newer generations of technology and to ensure that the media is up-to-date, then moving data from an old tape to a new tape is effectively a copy and paste operation. Or, if there is a need for Arkivum to retrieve a file to verify its integrity (which is done on a regular basis if the customer does not access the file), it is as simple as requesting the specific file directly from tape using LTFS. Finally, on the extremely rare occasion that Arkivum ever needs to recover from a catastrophic failure in its service, then it is possible to easily rebuild all internal indexes and databases from the data tapes by using the LTFS index. 5

6 But perhaps most important to both Arkivum and its customers is that LTO data tape and LTFS has a clear and long roadmap ahead. Data-tape capacities and performance will continue to improve year on year for at least a decade or more to come, something that is becoming a challenge for spinning disk. Industry adoption is already widespread and increasing, which gives confidence that investment in LTO and LTFS is unlikely to be in a briefly popular technology. The use of open standards, as well as support for these from a range of vendors gives reassurance against vendor lock-in. Additionally, the backward- compatibility built into the roadmap between LTO generations means that obsolescence is far less of a concern than with many other technologies especially ones that are proprietary. LTO and LTFS The Arkivum service is unique in offering a 100-percent data-integrity guarantee and sets this solution provider apart from the archival competition. Its guarantee of data safety is not merely about using the right technology, it is about having a highly skilled team of people with a wealth of expertise in long-term data retention and data storage. Organizations that use the Arkivum service, buy into this team and the in-depth data-assurance processes that have developed over the past decade. Seven questions to ask of any archive solution If you are thinking about archiving, Arkivum invites you to consider the following seven questions before making any decisions. If you want to know how Arkivum can say yes to each and every one of these, then the Arkivum web site ( for more information. If you want to better understand the part that LTO and LTFS have to play in this technology-leading archival solution, then consider the following seven questions: Can you be sure of the integrity of your data? Are you guaranteed that every single bit of data you pull back from your archive is identical to what you put in and can you prove it? Is your data always confidential? Can you be sure that there is no way for anyone else to access and understand your data and that includes any service providers used to hold the data? Do you know the authenticity of your data? Do you know who first put the data into the archive, who has then accessed that data, and who has handled the data inside the archive to keep it safe and secure? Is your data available when you need it? If you need data quickly then can it be retrieved in a matter of minutes? Can this be done for every file you want to store? Do you know who is in possession of your data at all times? Do you know exactly where your data is stored and who runs the facilities? Do you know who controls how your data is stored and who is responsible for its safekeeping? Are you confident that you can always use your data? What happens if your vendor or service provider goes out of business or stops support? Are you locked into proprietary data formats or tools? What happens if you want to change applications that use your archive? Do you need to go through a complex systems-integration process? Can you always assert the provenance of your data? Faced with a compliance audit, the need to understand whether you are ready for litigation, or the need to prove the authenticity of your 6

7 data, can you provide an audit trail that says what the data is, where it comes from, and everyone and everything that has happened to it since? The questions about confidentiality, integrity and availability are the bedrock of information security and are known as the CIA triad. The questions about authenticity, possession and utility are further essential facets of risk management for information assets. The final question (provenance) is a pillar of digital preservation, but is probably more familiar in a business context as being able to support auditability it is about asserting a chain of custody for data assets. LTO data tape and LTFS have a role to play in answering all these questions. Data tape in tape libraries within online-data centers, plus the escrow copy allows Arkivum to deliver against the availability criteria. This is done by storing each customer s data on a dedicated set of tapes in specific secure data-center locations so that you know exactly where your data is at all times and can be confident that no-one else has access. But perhaps more interestingly, the ability of LTFS to describe what is on a tape and allow it to be seen as a file system makes it a lot easier to create self-describing media within an archive where each tape contains extra information (either as part of the LTFS index or as separate files) to provide a complete record of what is on the tape, how it got there and how to use it. For example, Arkivum uses this feature for its escrow tapes to store extra information, including checksums for verifying data integrity, information about how files have been encrypted, information on the origins of the files (where they came from, who provided them, when they were provided, and the relationship to other files) as well as information about the history of files, for example, migrations and integrity checks. This provides an audit trail that is stored alongside the data so that this information is never lost. 7

8 Summary Of course, there is a whole lot more to assured archiving than the material discussed in this brief white paper, but LTO and LTFS are certainly a help along the way. See the links provided in the Resources section of this white paper for more information. About the author Dr. Matthew Addis is CTO at Arkivum and also works at the University of Southampton IT Innovation Centre in the UK where he has spent 15 years leading a diverse portfolio of industry-led applied-research projects, including archiving and digital preservation, service-oriented computing, data mining and knowledge management, to name but a few. Matthew has spent more than 10 years working closely with broadcasters, post houses and film archives to develop strategies, models, tools and systems for audiovisual restoration, preservation and archiving and is an active writer and speaker in this community. 8

9 Resources The following web sites provide useful references to supplement the information contained in this paper: IBM System Storage on IBM PartnerWorld ibm.com/partnerworld/storage IBM tape storage solutions ibm.com/systems/storage/tape/index.html Arkivum IBM Redbooks ibm.com/redbooks 9

10 Trademarks and special notices Copyright IBM Corporation References in this document to IBM products or services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in every country. IBM, the IBM logo, and ibm.com are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol ( or ), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at "Copyright and trademark information" at Linear Tape-Open, LTO, the LTO Logo, Ultrium, and the Ultrium logo are trademarks of HP, IBM Corp. and Quantum in the U.S. and other countries. Other company, product, or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. Information is provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind. Information concerning non-ibm products was obtained from a supplier of these products, published announcement material, or other publicly available sources and does not constitute an endorsement of such products by IBM. Sources for non-ibm list prices and performance numbers are taken from publicly available information, including vendor announcements and vendor worldwide homepages. IBM has not tested these products and cannot confirm the accuracy of performance, capability, or any other claims related to non-ibm products. Questions on the capability of non-ibm products should be addressed to the supplier of those products. All statements regarding IBM future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only. Contact your local IBM office or IBM authorized reseller for the full text of the specific Statement of Direction. Some information addresses anticipated future capabilities. Such information is not intended as a definitive statement of a commitment to specific levels of performance, function or delivery schedules with respect to any future products. Such commitments are only made in IBM product announcements. The information is presented here to communicate IBM's current investment and development activities as a good faith effort to help with our customers' future planning. Any references in this information to non-ibm websites are provided for convenience only and do not in any manner serve as an endorsement of those websites. The materials at those websites are not part of the materials for this IBM product and use of those websites is at your own risk. 10

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