Permanent Licenses or Annual Subscription Pricing Available for Browser-Controllable Software

Arguing that existing tiered-storage systems are too costly to deploy, Boulder, CO’s Spectra Logic introduced StorCycle, a storage-management software package that it claims can reduce a company’s storage costs by as much as 70 percent.

StorCycle is not nearly the first storage offering that promises to cut costs by moving data from expensive high-performance storage to more cost-effective tiers of disk, tape and/or cloud storage. But Spectra Logic says similar systems are too expensive, noting that while the cost of storage hardware has been decreasing, the cost of storage management has not dropped at the same rate.

“We currently partner with other companies with similar data-management solutions,” Spectra Logic Director of Product Management Jeff Braunstein told StudioDaily. “Our partners are charging more to move data to our storage than the storage costs itself, on a dollars-per-TB basis.”

So Spectra Logic is offering a lower-cost alternative, sold as a permanent license as well as on a subscription basis. StorCycle has a list price of $18,000 for a three-user license, or $7,200 for an annual subscription. A permanent license for enterprise will run as much as $144,000, but early adopters will receive a discount. An additional mandatory annual fee covers telephone support and software upgrades, the company said.

StorCycle system diagram

StorCycle system diagram
Spectra Logic

Bring Your Own Hardware

That business model is possible because StorCycle is a software-only offering that Spectra Logic has entirely divorced from hardware — the company won’t even offer an optional hardware bundle. One reason for that, the company says, is that many customers want their storage management integrated with Microsoft’s Active Directory services for user identification and permissions. Accordingly, the first release of StorCycle runs on a customer-provided Windows server.

Running on either a virtual machine or dedicated server hardware, StorCycle can access files on a user’s primary storage tier, such as Flash, SSD and high-speed spinning-disk storage appliances, via CIFS/NFS and move them to a “perpetual” storage tier, which may include public cloud, NAS, object storage on disk, or tape systems. On initial release, StorCycle will support Amazon AWS and similar storage platforms, including Wasabi and Cloudian. The company’s own BlackPearl object-storage gateway can be used as an “S3-type interface” for tape libraries and object storage, Braunstein said.

StorCycle web interface

StorCycle is controllable via a simple web interface
Spectra Logic

It does that using automated policies set by the user. They may include automatically moving files based on age and size, and/or the frequency with which they are accessed. Project-based archiving allows users to specify that all files in a given directory are to be migrated at the same time, keeping project files together for later access.

When files are migrated, they may be replaced automatically either with links to an HTML page where a retrieval request can be issued for a file that lives in, say, a tape archive, or with symbolic links to a NAS target, making the file retrieval transparent to both the OS and the user. That means that, when users go looking for the migrated files, they have a pathway to follow to retrieve them as needed. Files can also be removed from primary storage entirely, leaving users to find them later using the search tool in StorCycle’s web interface.

StorCycle workflow diagram

StorCycle sample storage workflow for media and entertainment
Spectra Logic

“We think we’re uniquely positioned to provide this, as one of the only major storage companies that just provides secondary storage,” Braunstein said. “You can buy Spectra Logic secondary storage if you want local [perpetual-tier] storage and plug it into any type of primary storage.”

‘World’s Largest’ Storage System

And Spectra Logic is going strong when it comes to secondary storage. David Feller, VP of product management and solutions engineering, said the company shipped its TFinity ExaScale Tape Library, which he called “the largest storage machine on the planet,” last month — a 23-frame system with multiple robots holding more than an exabyte of compressed data.

“You can build the equivalent of Amazon in your basement, completely under your control,” Feller said. “It’s a very exciting time for us in core storage.”

Spectra Logic: