Airplane Talk

Reading time for this article .

As I was bouncing around the country once again, I struck up a conversation with a complete stranger sitting next to me on the plane, which is my usual modus operandi.  Without knowing what industry I work in, he brought up the term "high performance computing" within the first minute of our friendly exchange.  Come to find out, the gentleman is a defense attorney to helicopter pilots involved in crashes. 

During the boarding process, he had his phone glued to his ear as he was engaged in a serious conversation with a couple of aeronautical engineers from Harvard. The engineers were conducting structural research on using multi-dimensional modeling techniques on super computers to help him build his case in determing why a helicopter recently crashed.  It became apparent to me that supercomputers continue to proliferate in our data-driven culture, and play a role in nearly every aspect of our everyday lives. 

Scientists, engineers and generally smart people continue to leverage the power of massive and distributed processers for calculation-intensive tasks such as quantum physics problems, weather forecasting, climateresearch, molecular modeling (computing the structures and properties of chemical compounds, biological macromolecules, polymers and crystals), and physical simulations (such as simulation of airplanes or helicopters in wind tunnels, simulation of the detonation of nuclear weapons, and research into nuclear fusion). 

You might be asking, what is the significance of all of this to me, to storage and to Spectra?  The way I see it, as supercomputers become more common, more and more data will continue to be created!  It also begs a few questions: Where does all that data go and how can it be preserved?  How can it be archived in a manner that makes it searchable and useable into the foreseeable future? As I ask that seemingly rhetorical question, I feel sort of like the famous Sweathog, Arnold Horshack, in Welcome Back, Kotter with my hand raised high in the air saying, “Ooh-ooh-ooooh, pick me Mister Kotter!"  Knowing what I know, I am ecstatic about the supercomputing revolution that we are experiencing because a large majority of the data generated, according to just about any of the more educated storage analysts you talk to, is going to be on tape.  And again, knowing what I know about Spectra and our track record for growth, profitability, and more importantly innovation over the past 32 years, our name is becoming synonymous with "enterprise" tape since we have the world's most scalable, and feature-rich tape system!  Even though I just revealed my age with the reference to Welcome Back, Kotter, I couldn't be more excited about the continued growth of the HPC market and the subsequent growth of the data explosion as a direct result of HPC.  If you can’t see the HPC market being a tremendous opportunity for continued tape growth because of the inherent characteristics of the most reliable, dense and economical media type, then "up your nose with a rubber hose!"  Of course, that is a line from my favorite Sweathog, Vinnie Barbarino!  Sorry if you are offended…wink