Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Navigating cybersecurity in an uncertain world

Far from being defeated, ransomware and other cyberattacks are going from strength to strength. Threat actors are now pooling their criminal knowledge to create powerful cartels, on a mission to find new and ever more insidious ways to disrupt businesses and make huge profits as victims scramble to recover. To have any chance of winning the battle, IT professionals need to shift their focus because the pandemic has to some extent rewritten the rules.

So if it is inevitable that you will be the victim of cybercrime, in addition to taking preventative steps like deploying anti-virus security software and other counter measures, the best way to protect your data is to place a copy somewhere where you can be certain thieves won’t be able to reach it.

Today, the most secure and inaccessible form of storage, which is readily available to every business at a reasonable price point and capable of scaling from terabytes to even exabytes, is LTO Ultrium tape.

For streaming large, contiguous volumes when the tapes are accessible, LTO-8 technology is more or less equivalent in streaming performance to consumer grade flash and certainly much faster than the SATA HDDs most commonly used for private cloud object storage solutions).

 But in the new world in which we now live, these relatively manageable inconveniences pale into comparison when set aside what tape delivers to companies who suffer a ransomware attack and are locked outside all of their data. The best and most compelling recent example of this is what happened to Spectra Logic.

 Because ransomware is now so widespread, it’s very likely there are more companies benefiting from tape assistance than the news would have us be aware of. That certainly seems to be one of the takeaways from the ESG Tape Landscape report for 2020 available from the LTO Program. Amongst survey respondents, the most common mechanism used to recover from cyber attack is tape backup. And of those using isolated storage protection, 61% were using tape to put in place the crucial air gap that is almost impossible for online cyberattack to penetrate.

In my mind there is no doubt that in spite of being a very familiar and traditional storage platform, tape support for backup and archiving should remain a key part of the circular fort of layered defences against the threat of cyberattack and ransomware.


Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Qualstar Makes Tape Storage Interfacing With Atto ExpressSAS 12Gb H1280 GT PCIe 4 SAS HBA

Qualstar Corporation makes it easier to manage a tape-based storage solution with the addition of Atto Technology, Inc.’s ExpressSAS 12Gb H1280 GT SAS/SATA HBAs to its catalog.

This HBA is one of only two on the market that utilizes the x8 PCI Express 4.0 host interface, offering the fastest available direct connection to SAS storage devices.

The ExpressSAS H1280 GT 12Gb PCIe 4 SAS HBA provides 12Gb/s transfer speeds for SAS. It has 8 external ports, which can be configured for redundancy, and can support as many as 2,048 end devices. Built-in latency-reducing technology ensures a consistent stream of data to the storage device. This, in turn, speeds up write times and reduces tape wear because it will not need to make multiple passes due to data flow interruptions. Additionally, all 12Gb/s HBA adapters include Atto PowerCenter Pro, an integrated software RAID solution that brings the performance and protection of RAID to attached storage devices.

Qualstar is dedicated to continually expanding its range of products to address all of our customers’ potential needs,” says Arun Vaishampayan, VP, global sales, Qualstar. “Atto ExpressSAS HBAs provide the superior functionality that our customers have come to expect, and we are excited to be able to offer it directly to them through this partnership.”

Specifications aside, ExpressSAS H1280 GT is notable for its effortless, user-first design. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux and with intuitive but software tools provided by Atto. A low-profile design provides better airflow over the device and also makes installation easier. And if anything goes wrong, a bevy of diagnostic and monitoring tools can pinpoint the failure – even down to individual cables.

ExpressSAS 12Gb/s HBAs are a great interfacing solution for customers managing tape-based data storage solutions,” says Tom Kolniak, senior director, marketing, product management, and alliances, Atto. “Given our 30-year proven track record and Qualstar’s commitment to excellence, this partnership is a natural fit.