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Hammerspace is expanding how far users can manage their data by adding tape archives to its global file system.
The data management company introduced its global data environment (GDE) in 2021 as a software-defined global file system that can provide local access to on-premises and cloud data stored in silos. Now, through a partnership with Grau Data, Point Software & Systems and QStar Technologies, active archive suppliers, the GDE can include data stored to tape, making archives accessible and usable.
Marc StaimerPresident, Dragon Slayer Consulting
"Tape is a good thing, and having it as a part of a global [file system] under Hammerspace makes it very accessible," said Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting.
Hammerspace's partnerships come at a time when data-hungry artificial intelligence and large language models are center stage, he said. He noted that working with third-party suppliers eases access to archive data, which has traditionally been difficult to do.
Staimer added that Hammerspace is increasing customer accessibility to multiple tape libraries and is vendor-agnostic. Other vendors increase accessibility to tape, but in a limited fashion, such as Spectra Logic's Black Pearl, which is more limited to the libraries connected to it.
Hammerspace currently supports those tape drives that present as an S3 interface, according to the vendor.
Front of the pack
While competitors such as Komprise and Arcitecta provide some of the same functionality, Hammerspace's GDE is more extensive than what both on-premises and cloud providers offer, Staimer said.
Hammerspace is both a global namespace and a global file system. It provides customers with the underlying storage as well as an abstraction of data from different storage vendors; different types of media such as HDDs, SSDs and now tape; and different types of data including file, object and block, according to Staimer.
"Customers can keep their old storage, which is different from the way most storage players work, while still providing a global namespace even with all your old file and object storage," he said.
Dave Raffo, an analyst at Futurum Group, agreed that with the addition of tape, Hammerspace has set itself apart from other global file system providers such as Ctera and Nasuni. Hammerspace has also set itself apart from cloud providers that only work with data under their purview.
These cloud providers offer different tiers and services, but Hammerspace is looking to provide an option that is more comprehensive, he said.
"It's more for collaboration, where people in a company, no matter where they are, can access the same files," Raffo said.
Performance and old storage
While tape provides high capacity, it pales in comparison to other media when it comes to performance. On whether tape would produce a lag in performance, Molly Presley, head of global marketing at Hammerspace, said Hammerspace environments use local metadata that is "synchronized in real time before serving the file." The user won't have a latency delay since they are working with metadata.
But, Raffo said, the addition of tape is less about performance and more about access to files.
"This isn't adding new services like a cloud vendor," he said. "This is more about tying multiple vendors' NAS into Hammerspace's file system and adding tape as a file."
Adam Armstrong is a TechTarget Editorial news writer covering file and block storage hardware and private clouds. He previously worked at StorageReview.com.