We are working on a solution for seamless integration of tape into the storage hierarchy. This is done by seamlessly integrating tape through the widely accepted open Linear Tape File System (LTFS) format developed by IBM with IBM’s General Parallel File System (GPFS). This integration allows policy based data migration between disk and tape keeping all data in a single namespace. It will also support full and incremental backups as well as out-of-place backup to specific tapes, which could then be vaulted.
An important aspect of this approach is that GPFS file and directory attributes will be preserved and saved on tape as standardized extended LTFS file attributes. The GPFS attributes to be preserved include time stamps, access control rights and GPFS extended attributes. It will be possible to restore these attributes into GPFS during the restoration process. The solution provides self-contained tapes written in standard LTFS format, which renders it attractive for customers desiring an open and exchangeable tape format.
In the future, we envision tape systems becoming even easier to use and to manage, and becoming more closely integrated in a tiered storage hierarchy. In such a system, data will be moved between different storage tiers automatically, depending on policies and access patterns that are “learned” by the system, in order to minimize cost and maximize performance.