Around the Storage Block
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Combine flash and tape and what do you get? FLAPE



MARK1.jpgBy Mark Fleischhauer, HP StoreEver Tape Storage Solutions Engineering Manager


First – what is it?

No, it’s not a French dessert. It’s a new emerging storage architecture for long term data retention that combines FLash drives and tAPE = FLAPE. Using flash, you get instant access to data that was most recently accessed (written or read) or to metadata to help you quickly search your vast amounts of data that has been archived. With tape as a back-end storage platform, you have a cost-effective storage solution that blends the performance benefits of flash with the economics of tape. Let’s take a look at how HP can help you build your very own FLAPE solution.


Cache for your HP StoreEver Tape solution

You may already be aware of our HP Tape-as-NAS solution using QStar Archive Manager Software with HP StoreEver tape libraries. This solution utilizes cache storage sitting in front of tape and presents a virtual mount point to network clients. These clients simply mount the volume and access it like any other volume. File writes made to the volume are first staged in the cache and are written to tape when the cache fills to a predetermined level. Stubs are left in place at the file location and the data is written to tape using Linear Tape File System (LTFS).  For on-going protection, the QStar database information in the flash cache is frequently written to tape.



FLAPE components – tape, cache, host and software


Just add flash

While some users may choose to use disk as the cache storage, you can simply substitute your disk system with flash drives and instantly increase your performance. The flash drives can be installed internally to the QStar host machine or can be in an external array like an HP MSA P2000 or 3PAR StoreServ array. With flash drives, our lab testing showed a performance increase of 100% from 135 MB/sec to 270 MB/sec of throughput per virtual volume in the worst case scenario (simultaneous cache writes, cache reads, tape writes & database updates). Read-and-write operations to the cache without the tape overhead is even faster. By adding more volumes to the QStar host, you can easily scale your aggregate throughput to over 2 GB/sec (final throughput dependent on host specifications). 


FLAPE in practice

Depending on the specific software that you use to manage your archive data, such as a MAM application, you can also use flash drives to host the metadata information that your application uses for data queries. This provides for quick searches to help pinpoint the information you need to retrieve. If the data is in the flash cache, it will be ready immediately and can be read quickly. If it’s on tape, QStar Archive Manager will automatically retrieve it with only a slight delay while the cartridge is loaded in the drive. Once it’s pulled from tape, it will stay in the flash cache for subsequent retrievals based on access and will be overwritten only when new data is accessed and there is not enough room in the flash cache.  For example, if a news story breaks and you need to pull video clips or photographs to supplement a report, these items will be readily available for other editors for additional news stories that may use the same content.



 QStar Archive Manager Administrators Interface


FLAPE: it’s available now

Everything you need to build a FLAPE solution is available today from HP and QStar. The host can be a HP ProLiant DL server, the cache flash storage can be on-board or in a HP P2000 MSA or HP 3PAR StoreServ, and the tape can be any one of the HP StoreEver tape libraries. Add QStar Archive Manager and you have a tested and qualified solution using readily available components from HP.  


FLAPE – it’s another way to optimize your HP StoreEver tape library in a cost-effective solution that gives you speed, reliability and expansion opportunities.


Learn more

The Emergence of a New Architecture for Long-term Data Retention Wikibon Analyst Report

The Value of HP StoreEver Tape for Archive Video

The Value of HP StoreEver Tape for Archive White Paper

0 Kudos
About the Author


Our team of Hewlett Packard Enterprise storage experts helps you to dive deep into relevant infrastructure topics.


This does  sound like an interesting solution .   Will look into  use  cases.     I just  wanted to clarify ,  if  by  use  of flash  drives ,  what is meant  is  SSD  drives. .     If that is the case  , for external storage array solution   ,  the   entry level  array  would be  HP  MSA2040 ,  as  p2000 G3  and  MSA1040  do not support  SSD . 


Thanks for the comment!


The answer to your question is “Yes”.  The reference to Flash is SSD. I used the term “Flash” as this is what is being used in other solution descriptions from other vendors. I guess I could have used SSD but I don’t think anyone would recognize “SSAPE”.  Also, thanks for the additional clarity about our MSA offerings and the models that support SSD.




FLAPE is indeed an interesting way to optimize dthe usage of Flash technology. Convinced that customers will give this their thoughts.