Spectra Logic adds mid-market upgradeable NAS solution to BlackPearl family

Spectra differs from ’s existing Spectra Verde NAS box by being attached to their BlackPearl gateway, and also by being upgradeable to BlackPearl.

Today, Spectra Logic is announcing the availability of their new Spectra BlackPearl Network Attached Storage [NAS] offering. A NAS interface for the object storage BlackPearl, the new solution provides a low-cost entry offering for the mid-market, while being fully upgradeable to BlackPearl as the customer’s object storage needs grow in the future.

“In today’s world, there’s a lot more object storage, but there are still hundreds of thousands of file applications out there,” said Matt Starr, Spectra Logic’s CTO. “We had customers complain they had to buy a NAS box and a BlackPearl – people who want both in the same box. This puts a NAS front end on our BlackPearl object storage gateway to allow a NAS-based interface as well as S3 object storage. Adding NAS to BlackPearl adds the capability of evolution from a file-based workflow to an object-based workflow.”

BlackPearl NAS starts with a 48 TB box, and scales up to 7.1 PB.

“It’s a simple NAS-attached storage box customers can buy and later upgrade,” Starr said. This includes the ability to use a TranScale upgrade path to a BlackPearl Converged Storage System, something Spectra Logic has been offering in its tape library products since 2007. With TranScale, BlackPearl also connects to nearly unlimited tape and archive disk locally, and offers replication to alternate private or public cloud sites for redundancy and disaster recovery.

Spectra Logic already offers its Spectra Verde NAS solution – which used to be called Verde DPE before a recent rebranding.

Matt Starr, Spectra Logic’s CTO

“Spectra Verde NAS is file only, with no object storage capacity,” Starr noted. “It’s basically a data lake for file interfaces.  Spectra BlackPearl NAS provides the same functionality, but with the ability to upgrade to object storage. This will appeal to customers who are future-proofing their buying decision, who know that they will have to deal with object storage at some point.”

Starr indicated this doesn’t necessary mean that Spectra Verde NAS will inevitably see its market cannibalized by the upgradeable solution, although he acknowledged that is always a possibility.

“There’s always a market for less expensive storage and a market for feature-rich,” he said. “Verde NAS offers 5 PB of very inexpensive disk. BlackPearl NAS is more of a gateway to newer technologies. It is likely that as people hear more about BlackPearl NAS, that the sales cycle will change and more Verde NAS customers will switch, because bringing these two boxes together means that they buy less hardware. Most customers who deploy both are likely to have a solid plan for deploying the other.”

While BlackPearl NAS is relatively inexpensive, at a starting list price of $14,200, Starr indicated that it is not an SMB product, and is aimed at what Spectra Logic calls mid-tier – essentially to small enterprise use cases.

“This starts at 48 TB of capacity,” he said. “It’s not a DROBO box or a Promise RAID array. It is an upper-tier solution. While it uses Tier One disk drives, we are targeted towards offloading Tier One – not going up against that all-flash space. Our core market is the storage tiers behind the BlackPearl. 80 per cent of data shouldn’t be on primary storage because it’s not active data, but today most of it stays spinning on primary tiers. You can get down to 2-3 cents per GB by moving to colder tier. In addition, backup software is expensive, so if you can offload that cold data, you back up faster.”

In addition to the BlackPearl NAS announcement, Spectra Logic also announced a successful partnering with Pixit Media through which Pixit used Spectra BlackPearl’s automatic data tiering to significantly reduce their storage costs. Pixit used the Spectra S3 API to build its certified Spectra S3 client for PixStor and IBM Spectrum Scale to migrate data.

“Pixit specializes in IBM GDPS parallel file systems for high performance computing, genomics and media and entertainment,” Starr said. “We allow them to offload data into BlackPearl.”

Starr also noted that since Pixit is a large data mover, this is a good partnership for Spectra Logic.

“We don’t step on each other very much,” he said. “This will go to market through both companies, with a ‘meet in the channel’ strategy. This is ideal for our channel as well, who will be able to put together a solution.”

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