Spectra Logic CEO Nathan C. Thompson Publishes New Book: “Society’s Genome: Genetic Diversity’s Role in Digital Preservation”

Reading time for this article .

Long-time computer industry CEO unveils best practices for preserving society’s knowledge base and evolutionary approaches to safeguarding it forever

BOULDER, Colo. — June 23, 2016 — Spectra Logic, the deep storage experts, today announced that Spectra Logic Chief Executive Officer, Nathan C. Thompson, with colleagues Bob Cone and John Kranz, published a new book, “Society’s Genome: Genetic Diversity’s Role in Digital Preservation.”

With nearly 40 years of experience as a data storage industry leader and CEO, Thompson draws on the lessons of history and nature in addressing civilization’s unquenchable thirst for information and our need to find genetically diverse methods to preserve this collective knowledge base – society’s genome – for future generations.

“Society’s Genome: Genetic Diversity’s Role in Digital Preservation” is a guide to understanding greater trends in information storage and data preservation. The book details how vital it is to store our information, and the astounding statistics around society’s digital data growth and utilization. The amount of data stored in the “digital universe” will reach 17 zettabytes, or 17,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes, by 2025, largely driven by:

• Scientific research – Zettabytes of long-term data are being created every year, which will ultimately be kept forever.

• Genomics – The medical industry is expecting one billion people to have their genomes sequenced by 2025(i). Genomic sequencing will reach one zettabyte (1000 petabytes) of outputted data per year by 2025(ii).

• Video sharing – Six billion hours of YouTube videos are watched each month, with one billion of those hours accessed by mobile phones. Contractually these videos must be kept forever(iii).

• Social media – LinkedIn has more than 300 million users and adds two new members every second(iv); and Facebook stores more than 250 petabytes of information and accrues another half petabyte every day(v).

• Cloud – Public cloud revenue continues to grow exponentially, with some projections showing over 40 percent year over year(vi).

• Entertainment – Not only do we see continued growth in the output of movies, news, sports and regular programming, but the density of these programs is increasing as well. Moving from an HD format at 24 frames per second (fps) to 4K format at 60 fps requires roughly 30 times the storage. Most media and entertainment content is being stored forever(vii).

“Society’s Genome: Genetic Diversity’s Role in Digital Preservation” speaks to the enormous amount of society’s knowledge now stored in the digital universe. Mediums of storage change; what started with punch cards has advanced to magnetic and semiconductor storage, and may ultimately evolve to phase change or DNA-based storage.

As we continue to evolve from paper to digital storage, society will grow increasingly dependent on the availability of its historical data. To date, exceptional digital preservation has led to tremendous advances in healthcare, predictive planting, infrastructure and connectivity, benefiting humanity’s overall quality of life. Society will continue to leverage its digital information to move itself forward—both tomorrow and for the next several hundred years.

Just as genomes are the genetics of all organisms, the digital universe is the “genetic basis” of society. Organizations can emulate nature’s proven successes to protect and preserve the digital universe through practices like multiple copy creation; incorporating “genetically diverse” platforms within the data center; geographic dispersal of physical hardware for disaster recovery; and conducting checksums to ensure error reduction.

“New technologies, devices, population growth and the spread of the digital revolution all support the idea of explosive, exponential data growth,” said Thompson. “We developed this work to inspire a larger conversation on the digital universe, its importance to society and our joint responsibility to enduringly preserve it.

“Society’s Genome: Genetic Diversity’s Role in Digital Preservation” may be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and numerous online bookstores. The Kindle and paperback versions are available for $7.99 and $16.95 respectively on Amazon here. The eBook is also available for download through Barnes and Noble and iTunes for $7.99.

Visit the website at www.societysgenome.com to join the discussion. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #societysgenome.

About Nathan C. Thompson
Nathan C. Thompson is the CEO of Spectra Logic Corporation, which has its roots in Western Automation, a manufacturer of memory boards, peripheral test equipment, and storage systems that Nathan founded in 1979 and ran while earning his B.S. degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Colorado Boulder. In 1988, Western Automation acquired the assets of the interface company Spectra Logic and, in 1996, the combined company was renamed Spectra Logic Corporation. Today, Spectra Logic is a leading manufacturer of innovative tape and disk-based data backup and archive solutions, with products installed globally in more than 40 countries.

Critical Acclaim for Society’s Genome
“Society’s Genome is the story about the future of the technologies and societal behavioral issues (e.g., malware, cyber-attacks) that evolve and threaten it. It is essential reading to understand the diverse aspects of The Genome—aka all the digital memories from your PC’s store to all the storage that constitutes society’s memory. Finally, the book makes a case for storage-technology genetic diversity that system designers should only ignore at their peril.”

—Gordon Bell, Researcher Emeritus, Microsoft Research Silicon Valley Laboratory

“Colorado runs on its data. Agriculture, bioscience, energy, aerospace, health care, finance, and advanced manufacturing all require safety of their data and infrastructure against serious threats. Society’s Genome looks to evolution and epochal threats to derive methods for data storage and digital preservation. It’s a fresh perspective and interesting story of historical loss—from Ptolemy’s map to American chestnut trees—and an optimistic look at preventing its recurrence.”

—John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado

“If you live in the 21st century—and not in a cave—this book is for you.”

—Michael C. Glaviano, PhD; futurist, author of Edge Station and Crows’ Gambit

Follow Spectra Logic on Social Media:
Twitter: @spectralogic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spectralogic
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/spectra-logic
Instagram: @spectralogic

About Spectra Logic Corporation
Spectra Logic develops deep storage solutions that solve the problem of long-term storage for business and technology professionals dealing with exponential data growth. Dedicated solely to storage innovation for nearly 40 years, Spectra Logic’s uncompromising product and customer focus is proven by the largest information users in multiple vertical markets globally. Spectra enables affordable, multi-decade data storage and access by creating new methods of managing information in all forms of deep storage—including archive, backup, cold storage, cloud and private cloud. To learn more about Spectra Logic’s Deep Storage Story, visit www.SpectraLogic.com.


For review copies and author interviews, contact:

Matter Communications
Tim Hamilton, McKenzie Mayer

Spectra Logic
Leigh Grainger

Spectra and Spectra Logic are registered trademarks of Spectra Logic Corporation. All rights reserved worldwide. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

i. Robert Gebelhoff, “Sequencing the Genome Creates So Much Data We Don’t Know What to Do With It,” Washington Post, July 7, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/07/07/sequencing-the-genome-creates-so-much-data-we-dont-know-what-to-do-with-it/
ii. Zachary D. Stephens, et. al., “Big Data: Astronomical or Genomical?” PLOS Biolog y, vol.13, no. 7 (2015), doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002195
iii. Faiza Sareah, “Interesting Statistics for the Top 10 Social Media Sites,” Small Business Trends, July 26, 2015, http://smallbiztrends.com/2015/07/social-media-sites-statistics.html
iv. Faiza Sareah, “Interesting Statistics for the Top 10 Social Media Sites,” Small Business Trends, July 26, 2015, http://smallbiztrends.com/2015/07/social-media-sites-statistics.html
v. Dylan Tweney, “Facebook Explains Secrets of Building Hugely Scalable Sites,” Venture Beat, September 16, 2013, http://venturebeat.com/2013/09/16/facebook-explains-secrets-of-building-hugely-scalable-sites/12
vi. Various sources
vii. Calculations performed by Spectra Logic