SC10 Recap and HPC Update

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I think one of my favorite sayings I heard on more than one occasion and in various different words at SC10 this year was, “It is good to be Spectra!”  I heard this from customers, partners, VARs, analysts and other employees, and it is certainly true.  The tape war is on and by all accounts, Spectra is winning the war one battle at a time.  I heard so many times from so many people that we seem to be the dominant tape company in the market.  Tape is who we are.  It is what we do.  After 31 years of being in business, these truths are starting to manifest themselves in our continued success as a tape company.  The past few years, we have been experiencing much of our success and growth in the High Performance Computing industry not because of tape, but what we can do with tape.  Spectra has committed to continued research and development by investing millions into new features and functionality that are a direct result of our HPC customer requirements. We are therefore able to offer direct benefit and value to them.

SC10 continues to be one of Spectra’s best shows of the year.  This year’s event was no exception.  In addition to learning more about current trends in the HPC market in general, our Spectra executives and team were able to meet with hundreds of our HPC customers and potential customers.

As usual, Spectra was at SC10 in full force.  We had a very nice and large booth with a great location.  In the booth, we showcased a 5 frame TFinity, T950, T380 and nTier system.  We also partnered with IBM HPSS and had a demo system of their software in the booth, which brought a lot of attention and interest.  Fortunately for us, the competition was nowhere to be found.  I was surprised that there were no other direct competitors at the event with any library systems in their booths.  IDC research shows that the high end HPC market grew by 65% in 2009 and is continuing on that path for many years to come.  Storage contributed to the largest percentage of that growth at almost 10% to just over 3 billion!  In addition to that, they cite that some of the major data center challenges are power, cooling, real estate and system management.  Storage and data management continue to grow in importance.  All these factors and challenges are continuing to increase data centers’ usage of tape, not just for backup, but for near line data archiving.  Through Spectra’s innovations, continued product development and commitment to customer service and support, we will continue to gain market share from the competition and continue to validate ourselves as the market leader.

In the spirit of continuing to be the leader in tape storage, Spectra has a roadmap a mile wide and 2 miles deep.  We continue to innovate, create and incorporate significant enhancements into our products in order to give our customers bigger, better and faster systems that meet their growing demands for performance and scalability.  Much of our continued focus on development is enhancing our TFinity platform.  By quarter two of next year, we will incorporate the IBM Enterprise TS1130 drive in the TFinity.  Many of our HPC customers have been anxiously awaiting this feature and we anticipate that the ability to include both LTO and Jaguar drives in our system will be a significant competitive advantage.  In addition to this, we are continuing development of our “fly-over” feature that will interconnect multiple 25 frame TFinity systems’ allowing scalability that surpasses all other systems on the market today by a long shot!

Our marketing efforts this year were second to none.  We really pushed the active archive message and there was certainly a lot of buzz at the show about it. 

There were analyst meetings with the usual suspects such as IDC and Intersect 360.  They always want to spend time with us to find out what we are up to and it is always good to spend time with them to find out what the market is up to based on their research and findings.  Leigh Grainger always does an outstanding job arranging these important meetings and interviews.

Molly Rector’s speech on “Tape Takes on Mass Storage” had about 120 people in attendance, which was very obvious when our booth began buzzing with activity following her presentation. 

In Summary

The HPC industry is continuing to grow and data storage is the fastest growth component.  We have customers that are already planning on having an Exabyte of data by 2017.  This means that they will continue to double their data storage each year along with other HPC customers.  This explosive and exponential growth is going to demand a large-scale system that can accommodate and manage more data every year in a secure, energy efficient, reliable and space conservative manner.   Spectra understands the growing pains of storage and we are keenly aware of the associated challenges.  This is why we continue to develop products that address the challenges and meet the demanding requirements for data storage.

SC10 in New Orleans:

Best show ever!

Best booth ever!

Best team ever!

Most opportunities ever!

This will, once again, be our best year ever!