Frequently Asked Questions

From the basics to the details, from the strategic to the tactical to getting started, look for your answers here.

Overview

EVault Long-Term Storage Service (LTS2) is a durable exabyte-scale cloud storage service for organizations with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets that need to be managed and preserved for long periods of time - from several months to decades. Unlike tape-based solutions and other cloud solutions, EVault LTS2 is designed specifically to safeguard data integrity over time. Built using open-source (OpenStack Swift) software preventing vendor lock-in, the service lowers total cost of ownership (TCO) by eliminating upfront capital expenditures, costly migrations, and capacity planning. EVault LTS2 also allows immediate access to data whenever you need it. You can now reliably store your data for as low as $.015 per GB per month.

EVault is a cloud storage SaaS and IaaS provider and a wholly owned subsidiary of Seagate Technology. EVault’s offerings have included storage SaaS such as data protection, disaster recovery, and end-point protection. The new service is Long-term Storage Service (LTS2), a cloud storage offering optimized for digital preservation and archival, providing extra assurances for the safety and accessibility of your data over time.

We have served customers in heavily regulated industries—financial services, legal, health care—as well as in government, media and entertainment, education, telecommunications, and charity/nonprofit. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, USA, we have sales, service, and data center operations in North America, Europe and Asia. As of early 2013, more than 43,000 companies rely on EVault cloud-connected backup and recovery services.

EVault LTS2 enables any business or organization to cost-effectively and easily retain large amounts of data for months, years or decades. EVault LTS2 includes features and service level agreements (SLAs) for data preservation and accessibility that are of paramount concern for long-term protection and storage of digital assets.
EVault LTS2 is targeting any long-term storage use case where the read is infrequent and the content stored is rich-data (i.e. large objects). Some examples are media & entertainment, medical imaging, magnetic tape replacement, and the protection of cultural and corporate history.
We are the only major cloud storage provider to offer digital preservation-optimized storage as a service, ensuring long-term data durability and enabling proper data stewardship for the long-term at a low total cost of ownership (TCO), while also providing immediate access to data. We offer the most comprehensive service-level agreements (SLAs) in the industry: durability, availability, data portability and data survivorship. And we will proactively issue service credit adjustments if our SLAs are not met (unlike other services where a service ticket with customer-supplied proof is required).

EVault LTS2’s key preservation and archival functions include data integrity (or fixity) checks and logging of all data access and management events to enable proper data stewardship.

EVault LTS2 is architected to help offload the management tasks typically done outside of the storage layer, and to facilitate data usability over time, specifically:

  • Ongoing integrity (or fixity) checks across whole objects or their parts to prove an object’s integrity (lack of degradation, corruption or other unintended change) over time. Fixity checks are recorded in logs for audit and accessible on-demand via the admin console. In contrast, other long-term storage clouds require active data retrieval and examination for data checks, leaving it to the user to ensure (and prove) data integrity – a time-consuming and costly endeavor.
  • Records of actions and key events at the object and user level. These summary reports are available to the admin to assist in chain-of-custody or provenance audits.
  • Metadata management to help ensure long-term data retrieval and access.
  • Fully managed service, making migrations to newer storage technologies transparent to the user throughout long retention periods.
EVault LTS2 eliminates costs and complexities associated with storing an organization’s archives in a large-scale in-house data facility. We take on the up-front capital expenses—and ongoing operational costs—of buying, building, maintaining, staffing, and running an onsite archival infrastructure. With EVault LTS2, you can retain and preserve more of your data for future monetization, examination, analysis—or any other purpose — cost-effectively, allowing them to focus on the business, rather than on operating and maintaining an archival storage infrastructure.
EVault LTS2 provides open, object storage that is highly scalable to multi-exabyte size. We built it on OpenStack Swift, the leading open source redundant storage system, because it has a wide range of applications already supporting its application programming interface (API), and eliminates vendor and data lock-in.

EVault LTS2 goes beyond OpenStack technology to provide value-added features, especially around digital preservation and long-term archiving such as data integrity assurances and auditable event tracking for data access and management activities. In addition, we back our service with comprehensive SLAs along with rigorous standards for regulatory compliance.

EVault LTS2 also makes it easy to use and deploy archiving and preservation applications through OpenStack technology. Beyond support for OpenStack Object Storage ("Swift") APIs, the service provides a command-line interface (CLI) for streamlined administration, as well as support for Amazon S3 APIs. In addition, a web-based management console enables simplified storage management.

Yes, changes and enhancements that the EVault LTS2 development team makes are being given back to the OpenStack project.

By delivering a best-in-class service based on open source software (OpenStack Swift), data stored in the EVault LTS2 cloud is protected against vendor and data lock-in. Open source software is recognized as a good choice for longevity and reducing risk of data loss. Even the US Government has adopted open source, and has an open source policy. We are committed to being a premier provider of storage services for the long-term. Our use of open-source software reinforces that promise of longevity, ensuring that you can always access data assets you have stored, regardless of our business status.

Our data survivorship and data portability options along with bulk data export service further reinforce elimination of data lock-in.

This option, if purchased, guarantees that you will have uninterrupted access to your data, with or without EVault LTS2. If for any reason in the future, we were to discontinue this service (let us assure you that we have absolutely no intentions of doing so), this option would guarantee 6 months of end-of-life notice, and a no-additional-cost transfer of all your data to either you or another cloud storage provider you designate. A choice of data transfer is provided, such as over the WAN, or via physical media (loaner tape or disk components).
The Data Portability option, if purchased, allows you to transfer all or a portion of your data, once every two years over the WAN without transfer or request fees. Transfer of your data using physical media (disk or tape) is available for additional cost (but will still avoid transfer or request fees). If you are using EVault LTS2 for disaster recovery, you can feel reassured that in case of a disaster, you can retrieve your data on the EVault LTS2 cloud without additional transfer or request fees.
EVault LTS2 is designed for very large data stores. This means you may have large amounts of data you need to quickly move into – or out of the EVault LTS2 cloud. For example, hundreds of terabytes or petabytes of data do not transfer quickly or easily over WAN. The Bulk import/export optional service uses physical media for data transfer.
EVault LTS2 is architected to support up to 99.999999999% data durability over a given year. At any given time, there are multiple copies of all objects stored to aide in replacing any damaged or lost object. We stand behind the strength of our LTS2 architecture and are the only cloud storage provider to include a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for durability. In the unlikely event that an object is lost, we proactively will issue service credit for the cost of storing that object, based on capacity and duration up to six months of storage fees.

EVault LTS2 provides availability and data durability SLAs:

  • Availability: EVault LTS2 guarantees availability (uptime) of 99.9%.
  • Durability: By creating three (3) copies of your data with automatic health checks and self-healing, we are very confident about our high data durability. This SLA is, therefore, very simple: if we lose your data, you get compensated.
With both of these SLAs, we will proactively issue service credit. In addition to these SLAs, EVault LTS2 offers unique options - Data Portability and Data Survivorship - for long-term data preservation and archiving.

Local Redundancy, where multiple copies of data are located in one data center is available now; Geo-redundancy will be offered in 2014. The metered charge or pay-as-you-go pricing for Local Redundancy is $0.015/GB/month.

Additional fees apply for transfer out and non-preservation usage patterns. The minimum monthly charge for credit card customers is $100 and for customers paying by invoice, the minimum monthly charge is $500. All charges are in U.S. Dollars.

For details, please refer to our pricing.

The storage capacity used is based on the average amount of data stored per month in terabytes, which is the average of maximum data in every hour of the month. Although EVault LTS2 stores three copies of your data for durability and reliability, your billing is based on one copy of your data.
You can retrieve 5% of your average data free per month. EVault LTS2 comes with the advantage of letting you retrieve data all of this 5% at once (should you need to and your network speed permit it), in contrast to other services that employ a prorated daily basis.
Currently, EVault LTS2 is being served from a data center in Utah, U.S.A. We will open more data centers around the world to better comply with data protection and privacy laws in various countries.
Static large objects (SLOs) rely on a user provided manifest file. A user can upload objects into multiple containers and then reference those objects (segments) in a self-generated manifest file. Future GETs to that file will download the concatenation of the specified segments. This has the advantage of being able to immediately download the complete object once the manifest has been successfully PUT. Being able to upload segments into separate containers also improves concurrent upload speed. It has the disadvantage that the manifest is finalized once PUT. Any changes to it means it has to be replaced. For static large objects the number of object segments is limited to a configurable amount, default 1000, which means the maximum download size of a SLO is 5 TB. Dynamic large objects (DLOs) rely on a container listing to provide the manifest. This has the advantage of allowing the user to add/remove segments from the manifest at any time. It has the disadvantage of relying on eventually consistent container listings. All three copies of the container databases must be updated for a complete list to be guaranteed. Also, all segments must be in a single container, which can limit concurrent upload speed. For dynamic large objects there is no limit to the number of segments so the download size of a single DLO is virtually unlimited. See Large Object Support

Getting Started

EVault LTS2 includes features for uploading, organizing, and manipulating data. The service supports a web-based management console and user interface, application programming interfaces (APIs), and a command-line interface (CLI). Specifically, we support the OpenStack Swift REST API and a subset of the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) REST API. These APIs are used to create the HTTP requests and responses used in the EVault LTS2. Users can access the service via a web browser over the Internet.

Through these user interfaces, you can upload, browse, or download data and also create highly functional applications to automate various functions. EVault LTS2 has also been tested with several cloud storage gateways. The web-based UI also supports mobile devices. For more information on the APIs, please visit our user documentation section.

EVault LTS2 supports third-party cloud gateways which provide users with either a virtual machine or a physical appliance that they can use to access EVault LTS2’s cloud storage service. These gateways offer a feature set of their own including automatic backups, data recovery, and monitoring and managing tasks. We have tested with gateways from Maldivica and TwinStrata. Please see the EVault LTS2 release notes and documentation for any known limitations or issues.
EVault LTS2 provides highly elastic, virtually unlimited amounts of long-term storage.
Built for the long-term and archival storage use case, EVault LTS2 is best suited to object sizes of one megabyte or larger with infrequent access to data.
EVault LTS2 has strong user-authentication; containers have access controls; our data center has state of the art security and compliance certification, including SSAE-16 and SOC1; uploads and downloads are encrypted in transit. Cloud gateways can be used for additional security, including at-rest encryption. In addition, EVault LTS2 is designed to meet the most-rigorous standards for regulatory compliance, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rules and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) best practices (2014).

Client-side applications offer an interface to EVault LTS2 accounts to access and manage objects - containers and folders. While EVault LTS2 includes a Java-based multi-file uploader utility, the client-side applications can offer a more robust user experience. Our list is continually being updated as we test additional applications.

The following client-side applications have been assessed with EVault LTS2:

  • Cloudberry Explorer for OpenStack Storage (for Windows)
  • Cyberduck (for Mac and Windows)
  • ExpanDrive (for Mac and Windows
See the EVault LTS2 release notes and documentation for any known limitations or issues.
EVault LTS2 integrates seamlessly with any application that manages large amounts of data protecting investment in existing applications and enabling fast deployment of new solutions. Optimized for large volumes of large data files, it works well with digital and media asset management (DAMs and MAMs), medical imaging PACS and VNA, backup and archiving software, and more. EVault LTS2 provides a simple, standards-based REST web services interface; it integrates well into many different environments via OpenStack Swift and S3 APIs, and any of several gateways.
The EVault LTS2 architecture supports swift dynamic large objects (DLOs) and swift static large objects (SLOs). By default swift limits uploads of objects to 5GB each, but larger (dynamic and/or static large object) files can be chunked into multiple 5GB segments so that the download size can be much larger than 5GB. For these larger files a manifest is created, allowing the user to upload many segments to be later downloaded as a single large file. Note that any object uploaded via the UI today will be restricted by any limitations of the UI application.
EVault LTS2 allows for an offset (http range request) to be used to retrieve a portion of an object via the API.
In a given month you are allowed 5% of average total capacity to be transferred out without incurring any additional charges. After that 5%, a flat rate of $0.07/GiB is added. The data transfer out fee would not apply if the customer is exercising the data portability option. For example:

In the month of May the average total capacity is 300TiB and you download 20TiB of data. The transfer out fee would be calculated as below:

Monthly Average Capacity: 300TiB

5% of average capacity: 300TiB x .05 = 15TiB

Amount of data transferred: 20TiB

(20TiB – 15TiB) x $.07/GiB x 1024GiB/TiB = $358.4
EVault Long-Term Storage Service is intended to preserve large numbers of large objects. A best practice would be to use an archiving application to aggregate and organize groups of small files into larger files. If the overall average object size uploaded for the month is less than 1MiB, EVault will charge for the small files uploaded. The fee would be calculated as below:

Total capacity uploaded this month: 1 TiB

Total number of objects uploaded this month: 2,000,000

Total number of objects less than 1MiB uploaded this month: 500,000 Total number of API PUT requests for objects less than 1MiB this month: 550,000

(Includes overwrite operations, e.g. updating existing files)

Overall Average object size uploaded this month: 0.9 MiB

550,000 small API PUT requests x $0.01/1000 small API PUT requests = $5.50
The volume of storage billed to a customer in a month is based on the average storage used throughout the month. We measure this usage in “Timed Storage-Byte Hrs,” which are added up at the end of the month to generate the monthly storage charges. These storage charges include all object data and metadata stored in containers under the customer's Long-Term Storage Service account, including any containers/objects EVault creates for the customer to store usage, audit, provenance or preservation detail.

A simple worked example (assume all actions are done at midnight plus a few minutes on the day mentioned, just to make the math easier):

    January 1 0 GiB (account created)

    Jan 2 10 GiB (uploaded two 5GiB files)

    Jan 15 100 GiB (added 90 GiB at one time)

    Jan 20 150 GiB (added 50 GiB more)

    Jan 31 150 GiB (end of month, at midnight)

Total Byte-Hour storage used is:

    • 0 GiB * 1 day * 24 hours = 0 GiB/Hours

    • 10 GiB * 13 days * 24 hours = 3,120 GiB/Hours

    • 100 GiB * 5 days * 24 hours = 12,000 GiB/Hours

    • 150 GiB * 12 days * 24 hours = 43,200 GiB/Hours

Total = 58,320 GiB/Hours divided by 744 hours/month = 78.387 GiB used in January

February's bill will start with 150 GiB and calculate from there.

If the customer is using the reduced redundancy product @ 1.5 cents/GiB/Month, the bill for just storage (without activity fees, if any) will be $1.18
Customers get 50 free read/copy API requests per GiB, which equals 5,120 free read/copy requests per TiB of data stored. Over that amount there will be charges at $0.04 per 1000 requests. Under normal archival usage it will be negligible unless the Long-Term Storage Service system is being used like a database for transaction processing.

A read API request is a command sent to the system as a GET to an object or list of objects. The API request itself is not related to the size of the object. For example a 1GiB file may be placed as a single object. A single API GET request for that object will download the whole file.

Another example is that some applications can break the file down into smaller more manageable pieces, called chunks. If the application chunks the 1 GiB file into 8MiB objects, this would result in 129 objects (128 file data objects, 1 manifest object). The total API PUT commands would be 129 (1 for each object), however an API GET request is generally only done against the manifest object. This would download the whole 1GiB file (all 128 smaller 8GiB objects) as a single API GET request.

Request Example:

Assume that for each day during the month of May you transfer 20,000 files (no file chunking) totaling 100GiB of capacity into EVault Long-Term Storage Service and download 10,000 files out of EVault Long-Term Storage Service each day during the month of May.

    Total PUT requests = 20,000 requests x 31 days = 620,000 requests

    Total GET requests = 10,000 requests x 31 days = 310,000 requests

    Total capacity: 100GiB x 31 days = 3,100GiB

    Total number of free read/copy requests = 155,000 (50 X 3,100)

The API Request fees are calculated below (see pricing notes)*:

    620,000 PUT Requests: 620,000 requests x $0.00/request (no charge) = $0.00 (i.e. since the average file size is >1MB there is no write/PUT charge applied)

    310,000 GET Requests: (310,000 requests – 155,000 free requests) x $0.04/1,000 = $6.20

*Pricing Notes:

1. PUT requests are no charge unless the average size of objects uploaded is less than 1MiB, then the fee is $0.01/1000 write requests for objects < 1 MiB (Average size)

2. 50 free read or copy requests per GiB of data per month then $0.04/1000 requests beyond the first 50 requests

3. This example focuses only on the API requests. Additional transfer out fees may apply depending on the total capacity of the files downloaded.

Yes. The Download Usage Details button provides the administrator a time-stamped file of actions taken against objects stored (such as GET, PUT, DELETE). This file also shows any checksum stored along with the object.
The Tebibyte (TiB) is closely related to the Terabyte (TB) but slightly larger. Today, the TiB is often simply referred to as TB but for calculating your billed-for capacity we want to be as accurate as we can. In our documentation and pricing, when we say “TB” or “GB” we really mean “TiB” and “GiB” which are slightly larger. This all ties to the correct representation of binary numbers and a good explanation can be found on Wikipedia.

• TiB = 1024 x 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes; GiB = 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes; MiB = 1024 x 1024 bytes.