The Advantages of Tape for Backup and Archive

Six major benefits of tape and its advancements

Today, we are on the cusp of a data storage and management revolution. Whilst organizations are looking to increase agility via the optimization of data management for rapid retrieval, remote collaboration…

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Disk-Only Object Storage for Media and Entertainment: Everything You Need to Know

Long known for its tape storage solutions, Spectra continues to push the envelope when it comes to diversified storage options, including options for disk-only environments.

Media companies that create and own vast amounts of content continue to face challenges associated with balancing cost against the increasingly growing storage capacities that are required of modern infrastructures. In order to support future business development, they require innovative and agile solutions to help them shift their resources to their core businesses in this dynamic and competitive landscape, looking to disk-only solutions to satiate such needs. These solutions need to be fast, versatile, cost-effective and open, to enable them to maintain control over their content and give them an edge over their competition. Read More

From Identification to Migration, Protection and Access: Spectra StorCycle

As the expansion of data continues to accelerate, organizations face an ever-increasing need to find affordable, creative solutions to the problem of long-term data retention and protection. Most IT administrators are caught between a rock and a hard place. They are running out of space on their expensive, high performing storage systems, but simply don’t have the budget to increase the size of those systems to accommodate the extreme performance required by today’s business applications, as well as for the economical long-term data preservation.

Behind this problem is an alarming reality: According to Storage Switzerland, roughly 80% of the world’s data typically lives on the wrong tier of storage. This is data that is still considered important enough to keep, but isn’t active, or being actively accessed. The typical IT administrator has neither the time, staff or resources to make a detailed study of their entire dataset to understand what has to stay on that high performing tier and what can be moved off to a Perpetual Tier of storage. Read More

Trends in Video Surveillance: Managing Retention Rates and Cybercrime

Marketing Program Manager, Spectra Logic

Video surveillance data storage trends

Over the last few years, the video surveillance industry has seen a boom in the amount of video content being generated. As lengthening retention rates, increasing camera intelligence, greater adoption of analytics, and more content aggregation escalate video storage needs and burden existing systems, many organizations are realizing that the amount of managed digital assets will continue to grow. This means that storage strategies for video content can quickly take up a major part of their budgets.

Spectra Logic anticipates a number of key trends to characterize the video surveillance data storage market in 2018 and beyond. Read More

The Rise of Ransomware and its Impact on Digital Preservation

Our digital world is growing at an astounding pace. While society’s collective knowledge and understanding depends on the ongoing aggregation, analysis, and distribution of vast amounts of data, the preservation of these digital assets is at constant risk from cyber-attacks that evolve and threaten it. Recent reports total the number of new malware in 2016 alone at 127 million specimen, with other sources currently registering over 250,000 new malicious programs every day for 2018. While the growth in new types of the vast majority of malware is no longer expected to significantly increase year-over-year, most predict a sharp rise in ransomware. Read More

Is a Tape Environment Compatible with the GDPR?

General data protection regulation or GDPR and protecting your data imageWhat is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a newly implemented regulation concerned with the collection, handling, storage, protection and deletion of personal information of individuals within the European Union (EU). While reforms were agreed upon in December 2015, organizations were not expected to be compliant until May 25, 2018. The main points of the ruling are:

  • Organizations must protect data assets containing the personal information of EU residents.
  • Organizations must maintain the ability to delete such data and are required to do so upon the request of the individual

Organizations that do not manage and protect personal data appropriately face serious fines under the new regulation. This considerable penalty is why this regulation is getting so much attention, not only in Europe, but across the world. Read More

The Role of Multi-Tier Storage in High Performance Computing Environments

Marketing Program Manager, Spectra Logic

Multi-tier storage for High Performance Computing HPC Banner

Our society is currently undergoing an explosion in digital data that shows no sign of slowing down. The volume of data created each day has increased immensely and will continue to grow exponentially over time, especially in high performance computing research environments. Where should organizations store their data and what is the best way to manage it? Sure, short-term fixes are appealing due to their easy implementation, but often worsen long-term storage challenges associated with performance, scalability and cost. It is essential to consider future needs when examining storage options. Read More

Demystifying LTO-8: Part IV

Part four of our “Demystifying LTO-8” blog series covers Spectra Certified Media and the benefits of implementing it within your data center.

Why Spectra Certified Media?

  • Media has variability. Multiple vendors produce raw media and while there are standard LTO specifications, there is still variation. EVERY PIECE of Spectra media is individually tested, unlike other vendors who do batch testing and claim to certify “an entire truckload of media.” There is often variation within batches and Spectra believes the only way to guarantee the reliability of its media is to test every piece individually.
  • Vendors have variability. Over time, different vendors provide media that varies. Spectra tests every media option and only uses the best available raw media as the basis for Spectra Certified media. This ensures customers only receive the most reliable media on the market.
  • Spectra has higher standards than anyone. A base LTO specification is in place and media vendors are required to at least meet the minimum. Only Spectra Certified media guarantees the reliability needed for “forever archives.”
  • Spectra Certified Media is Carbide cleaned. This ensures maximum drive life and media longevity. Rough media is extremely hard on the heads in a tape drive. CarbideClean removes manufacturing residue present on all media and doubles the life of tape drives.
  • Spectra Certified Media is directly integrated with Spectra libraries for continuous monitoring. Buying the best media at the beginning is not enough. Media has a tough life with countless mounts, spooling, read/write, verifications and sometimes rough treatment from environment or the library itself. The ONLY way to monitor the health of your media is through the exclusive Spectra Media Lifecycle Management [MLM].
    • Initialization – At initial test, 40+ unique health statistics are sent to an RFID chip on the tape.
    • Monitoring – MLM statistics on Spectra Certified Media are continuously tracked by the Spectra Library for overall tape health. Data is easily accessible through the library BlueScale interface.
    • Alerting – When the library identifies tapes that are at risk, the user is immediately notified so actions, including data migration to a new tape, can be initiated. Identifying statistically problematic tapes before they fail and data loss occurs saves customers millions of dollars.
    • Ongoing scanning – Drive Integrity Verification as well as “quick” and “full” scan options allow administrators to periodically sample both tapes and media on a periodic basis and get ahead of issues before they arise.
    • Spectra Certified Media is guaranteed for life – Unlike other vendors who have a 90-day or couple-year warranty, Spectra stands behind its media and guarantees it forever.

    Bottom line, Spectra Certified media saves you money and provides unparalleled data protection… After all, isn’t that why you are using tape in the first place?

    This concludes our four-part “Demystifying LTO-8” blog series. If you haven’t had a chance to read parts one, two and three, visit our blog page on our corporate website. Also, look for the hashtag #LTO8FAQ on social media for other blogs from the series. Read More

Demystifying LTO-8: Part III

Part three of our “Demystifying LTO-8” blog series covers the process of migrating from older generations of LTO tape technology to LTO-8 and LTO-7 Type M.

Should I migrate data on older generations of media to LTO-8?

  • First consider read/write compatibility:
    • LTO-8 drives will read and write LTO-8 and LTO-7 media.
    • LTO-7 drives will read and write LTO-7 and LTO-6 media and READ LTO-5.
    • LTO-6 drives will read and write LTO-6 and LTO-5 media and READ LTO-4.
    • With the exception of LTO-8, the pattern continues: read/write back one generation, read back two generations.
    If you consider migration, you should always migrate to the latest generation of LTO technology (i.e. LTO-8 drives and media). Migrating to a lesser version (LTO-7) should only be considered if you are in a space-constrained “emergency,” as it will limit what later generations you will be able to read. Consider whether you could just add a new partition to your library with the latest generation of LTO drives and write new data to that partition on LTO-7 Type M or LTO-8 media, while leaving your existing data on present tapes. Most older generation drives are still available for support and Spectra Certified media has a lifetime warranty. Spectra also maintains limited stock of older generation drives for replacement as needed. Consider if you are space, partition or throughput/drive constrained:
    • If you are out of physical space within your library or data center, consider migrating to the latest generation of LTO technology (LTO-8).
    • If you want to leave older generations as they are but have reached the partition limit for your library, consider either adding another smaller library to your data center for your LTO-8 partition or migrating some of your oldest data to LTO-8.
    • If you need more overall throughput or have reached the drive count limitation for your current library, consider migrating data to LTO-8.
    Also keep in mind the longevity of your data.
    • If you are required to keep data “forever,”” or it has intrinsic value indefinitely, you should store it on media that is readable within the system you already have.
    • For example, say it’s time to move LTO-4 media. While it is readable by LTO-6 drives, which you can keep in your library for years to come, this is a good time to begin planning for the future. With almost a 16X increase in capacity, a rather large set of LTO-4 tapes can be significantly condensed on LTO-8 tapes, and be readable for another 20 or so years.

    Contrary to many storage pundit’s strong warnings, migration is NOT required on a regular basis with tape. While many companies adopt an every-other-generation approach to migration, this is not required as long as you keep some of the previous generation drives in your library to read them. Migrate when you need to, but let Spectra provide consultation on the right time and process for you. We are partners in your digital archive strategy. Read More

Demystifying LTO-8: Part II

Part two of our “Demystifying LTO-8” blog series covers when users should consider implementing LTO-8 drives and media into their data centers.

LTO-8 Drives:

When should I order LTO-8 drives?

  • LTO-8 drives are fully certified in all Spectra Libraries and available for sale now.
  • If you are purchasing a new library but are not yet ready for LTO-8, Spectra offers a pre-purchase program where LTO-7 drives are inserted at setup and can be swapped out for LTO-8 at your discretion. When you are ready, you will be first in line to receive the latest drives and media.
  • Note that LTO-8 drives with LTO-7 (LTO-7 Type M) media are an excellent first step until LTO-8 media is fully available and cost effective.

LTO-8 Media:
When should I use LTO-7, LTO-7 Type M, or LTO-8 media in my library?

  • LTO-8 drives with LTO-7 Type M media are available now. This combination provides all the value of LTO-7 media at full speed while providing the flexibility to mix and match LTO-8 media.
    • Most customers do not buy an entire year’s worth of media at once, but use the same financial concept of dollar-cost averaging, buying monthly or quarterly since media pricing and technology change frequently, especially near the time of a launch of a new generation.
    • Spectra recommends installing LTO-8 drives as soon as possible.
    LTO-8 media with 12TB native capacity is the next step to be considered. Moving fully to LTO-8 will depend on a combination of space constraints and overall $/GB costs. If LTO-8 media launches at a significant premium to LTO-7, then it may be most cost effective to stay with LTO-7/LTO-7 Type M media until either an equivalent $/GB is reached or you are pressed for physical space and need to move to a denser media type. LTO-7 Type M media compatibility
    • With LTO-8 drive shipment (expected mid-November), any LTO-8 drive will be able to read and write LTO-7, LTO-7 Type M, or LTO-8 media.

    What should I consider when using LTO-7 Type M tapes?

    • Normally the ISV software is responsible for media loading. The ISV software must be able to recognize the LTO-7 Type M option and how to handle it.
    • In the case where there is uncertainty about the ISV, a separate partition with LTO-8 and LTO-7 Type M tapes can be considered – consult Spectra rep for additional information

    In part three of the “Demystifying LTO-8” blog series, learn everything you need to know about potential migration options for organizations utilizing past generations of media. You can find other blogs from the series on our corporate blog page, and by following the hashtag #LTO8FAQ on social media. Read More