Spectra BlackPearl targets secondary NAS market

Arcitecta and Spectralogic are partnering to sell systems into the high-performance secondary NAS storage market, not the primary filer business.

It all became clear at an IT Press Tour Briefing where we heard from and quizzed both companies about Arcitecta’s announcement on the partnership, which stated: “The Arcitecta Mediaflux + Spectra BlackPearl NAS solution provides high-performance scale-out NAS.” The two also provided an object store positioned as an archive-class system. 

David Feller, Spectralogic
David Feller

Spectra’s David Feller, VP of product management and solutions engineering, told us the Arcitecta/BlackPearl AFA is not a high-speed primary storage NAS box: “All-flash BlackPearl is a cache to other BlackPearl S3 or tape gateway products.”

The context here is that Spectra recently and quietly introduced an all-flash version of its BlackPearl file and object gateway/cache for tape libraries. Existing BlackPearl products were all disk-based and the gateway concept was extended to produce an on-premises S3 object store, the S3 Standard Disk and S3 IA/GIR Disk, the on-prem Glacier (Infrequent Access) equivalent. 

Then the all-flash BlackPearl NAS was added and Spectra partnered with Arcitecta so that its MediaFlux file and object management and orchestration software was supported. Out came the announcement and the IT reporting world thought the two companies were going after “high-performance scale-out NAS” as in the Dell PowerScale/Isilon and Qumulo Core case. Nope. 

Arcitecta CEO Jason Lohrey briefed us, saying that MediaFlux plus all-flash BlackPearl was “just as fast as an Isilon front end,” if not faster. He then confirmed that he was comparing it to a disk-based Isilon system, not an all-flash one, and that MediaFlux/all-flash BlackPearl was a scale-out, secondary storage-focused system.

BlackPearl is a scale-up system. Arcitecta’s MediaFlux software treats an individual BlackPearl as a large storage drive and can use many BlackPearls in this way, making it a scale-out system.

Feller said Spectra had no plans to introduce QLC BlackPearl and move into VAST/Pure FlashBlade space. Also they rely on deduplication for their effective capacity and Spectra does not do dedupe.

Nathan Thompson, Spectra CEO and founder, hinted that a new tape library system was coming, with some similarities to the one Quantum supplies to hyperscalers. Thompson claimed that the hyperscaler tape library business was low margin and not attractive.