Fujifilm Slots Tape into Cloud Backups

By Pedro Hernandez

While seemingly occupying opposite ends of the data storage spectrum, Fujifilm has combined tape storage and the cloud for its latest backup offering, Permivault.

Developed to securely handle medical data, Permivault is a joint venture between Fujifilm USA's Medical Systems and Recording Media divisions and is an extension of Fujifilm Medical Systems' Synapse Managed Services platform.

But don't let its healthcare data heritage fool you, says Fujifilm. Permivault is open to all types of businesses that are looking for long-term, off-site file backups.

LTFS-powered Cloud Storage

At the heart of Permivault is StrongBox from Crossroads Systems. StrongBox leverages LTFS, an open source tape format developed by IBM.

The self-describing format makes it possible to write to and read from tape without resorting to proprietary schemes, which are part and parcel in the tape archiving business. Data portability aside, LTFS also addresses the shortcomings of open source archiving formats like tar and gtar by providing file visibility, indexing and searching capabilities.

Crossroads Systems leverages these features into a system that sits atop LTO5 tape drives and libraries. Acting as a NAS target and outfitted with hard disk drives, StrongBox provides caching and buffering as well as persistent view of -- and relatively quick access to -- all of the data stored on the tape cartridges under its purview.

With StrongBox under the hood, Fujifilm feels that Permivault balances the cost-effectiveness and huge capacities of tape storage with the performance of disk and the data accessibility of cloud backup. It's a balance the company hopes will strike a chord with organizations struggling to manage their ever-growing backup requirements.

In a company statement, Dan Greenberg, director of new products, Fujifilm Recording Media, says, "With the continued explosion of data, customers demand a cost-effective solution that is secure, accessible and reliable for off-site second copy." He adds, "Permivault gives users online access but with the data protection features to meet enterprise-specific needs."

Permivault officially launches on April 16 at the National Association of Broadcasters convention (2012 NAB).

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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This article was originally published on March 08, 2012