Crossroad Systems, an Austin, Texas-based provider of data archiving systems, unveiled StrongBox 3.0, a network-attached storage (NAS) appliance that adds tape archival capabilities to cloud file and application environments.

Debuting in late 2011, StrongBox sits atop tape drives and libraries, and acts as a NAS target. Using spinning disk or solid-state drives (SSDs) as a cache, the “all-the-time” archive places the bulk of the data on tape for low-cost file-based storage (CIFS/NFS) while maintaining brisk performance for storage and retrieval operations.

With the latest version, announced today, Crossroads is targeting cloud environments.

StrongBox 3.0 is being billed as the “world’s first and only solution that provides both file and object storage with [Linear Tape File System] LTFS tape” by the company. LTFS, an open tape storage standard developed by IBM, is a format that allows organizations to manage their backups and archives without proprietary software.

Now, Crossroads is banking on the technology to help businesses roll out their own low-cost, cloud-enabled archival data services.

StrongBox 3.0 makes LTFS tape capacity accessible through S3, Amazon’s popular cloud storage interface, and its REST-based application programming interface (API). Able to handle both file and object data, it’s a capability Crossroads says will allow companies to support “on-premise, off-premise and hybrid cloud storage models” while satisfying chain of custody requirements.

David Cerf, executive vice president of strategy and business development at Crossroads, described StrongBox 3.0 as “a true first for storage, providing file and object storage in one easy-to-use solution with the right performance to meet application requirements and the economics to stay on budget,” in a company statement. “We are pleased to provide a simple way for companies to control costs and ensure data availability both now and in the future.”

StrongBox 3.0 also adds multi-library support, allowing organizations to automatically write data to two tape libraries. The feature provides an alternative to shipping boxes full of tape off-site, which can sometimes result in a tape that slips through the cracks.

In addition, multi-library support opens up a new upgrade path for customers with ballooning storage requirements, according to the company. Crossroads asserted in a statement that “customers in need of expanded library capacity can now simply add a second library to their existing environment – sometimes at half the cost of purchasing a new, larger tape library.”

StrongBox 3.0 is scheduled to go on sale in April.

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