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Future Proof Migration for Media and Entertainment with Spectra

digital assets image

Today’s media and entertainment (M & E) market is experiencing seismic shifts. The way media is consumed continues to evolve, and the majority of people in the world have instant access to a surplus of content at all times.  The volume of digital assets created each day by media and entertainment (M & E) organizations continues to grow exponentially over time and shows no sign of slowing down, with video being the single biggest driver of growth in the industry through multi-camera images, higher resolution and HDR content. Moreover, the data storage needs of content owners are changing as technology evolves. Read More

Trends at International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) Amsterdam 2018

As I write this, I am currently flying back home to the United States after another great show for Spectra at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam. The show brings together almost 60,000 visitors, attracting different players from the media and entertainment industry from all over the world. The conference’s program of panels, discussions and keynotes features more than 400 speakers and is complemented by a comprehensive exhibition which brings together close to 1700 exhibitors, each showcasing the state of the art in technology. I am exhausted but also energized from all the great conversations we had with customers and partners. Read More

Modern Data Solutions Propel Spectra to the Forefront of Media and Entertainment Storage

By Hossein ZiaShakeri, Spectra senior vice president of business development & strategic alliances

In today’s dynamic and ever-changing market where technology shifts with priorities and business models, there exists tremendous confusion and industry consolidation. It is crucial for media and entertainment (M & E) entities to adapt to the fast-paced market to remain on top, keep a competitive edge and stay successful. Re-evaluating one’s strategies and looking forward is essential – hence the phrase ‘adapt or die’. To stay relevant, entertainment businesses must be agile, efficient, and innovative in the way that they produce, store, manage, and distribute their content. As M & E organizations try to find the right infrastructure to manage content throughout its life cycle, they are faced not only with the question of what strategy will provide the greatest return on investment (ROI) and drive positive business outcomes, but which company they can trust with this business-critical decision. Read More

Customers Affected by Hurricane Florence Can Call the Spectra Storage Crisis Lifeline

Hurricane Florence is expected to strike the southeastern portion of the United States very soon.  In fact, governors of North and South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia have already declared states of emergency far ahead of the approaching storm.

As Spectra Logic’s customers along Hurricane Florence’s path prepare to protect their homes and families, our team is ramping up to support their business operations wherever possible by initiating our Storage Crisis Lifeline program, which was first introduced in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina.

Spectra Logic’s Global Technical Support Center team is available around the clock to assist any of our customers impacted by the hurricane. Support will be provided to customers after business hours and during weekends, regardless of the Service Level Agreement or support contract covering their damaged tape library, to help organizations restore data and restart operations as quickly as possible. Read More

Spectra Tape Air Gap Fights Cybercrime

by Fred Moore
President, Horison Information Strategies

The changing landscape of the data protection industry has evolved from backing up data to providing recovery from hardware and network failures, software bugs, and human errors, as well as fighting a mounting wave of cybercrime. Over the years, reliability and resiliency level of hardware and software have significantly improved. Cybercrime, however, has now become a bigger threat to data protection than accidental deletion, bit rot or drive failure. And the stakes are getting higher as anonymous cyber criminals seek to profit from the valuable digital data of others. With a ceasefire in the cybercrime war unlikely, we are witnessing the convergence of data protection and cybersecurity to counter rapidly growing cybercrime threats, including ransomware. Read More

Object Storage and its Role in Long-Term Storage Today

In my last blog, I discussed types of “data movers” including backup, archive, HSM and migration. These are ways to move data, but where are you moving the data to? Disk? Tape? Cloud? A combination of those? The significance of “data mover” applications to an organization’s workflow is closely tied to other elements of their data storage ecosystem, namely storage targets.

Over time, storage targets have evolved from repositories completely “unaware” of the data they hold to hyper-intelligent data management platforms. On one end of the spectrum, more typically found in tier-1 storage, are Storage Area Networks (SANs). These repositories, which are unaware of the data they hold, offer up blocks of storage which a server’s file system or a database administrator must configure into usable storage. With the advent of Network Attached Storage (NAS), storage devices use their own processing power and file system to lay data across blocks – presenting the storage as a folder of files which can be accessed by multiple servers, and even servers with varying operating systems and/or file systems, across the network. SAN and NAS are commonly found in tier-1 data storage, although they can be used in tier-2 storage as well. Read More

Understanding the Nuances of Data Movement in Today’s Complex Systems

It’s 1985. You’re the last one to leave the office that afternoon. You go into the server room, put the 8-inch floppy disk in the drive, go back to your office, type a backup command via the “terminal” on your desk, and now you’re free to go home. Your data is being backed up and safe. One last thing… don’t forget to take yesterday’s backup floppy with you in case the building burns down over night. OK, maybe you worked for a slightly larger company than I did in 1985, but it worked pretty much the same.  There was storage and backup for the storage. We didn’t refer to “primary” storage.  Disk was storage and all floppies, CDs, or tape was backup to that storage. Read More

Mind the Tipping Point: Object Storage versus File Storage

Data is a central part of our day-to-day as a society, from our personal electronic devices, like smart phones and tablets, to our professional lives. Major industries like agriculture, transportation, energy, healthcare and finance, to name a few, all rely on it. Whether you’re working behind a computer or at a job site building houses, digital information is an intricate part of your environment. The intrinsic value of data, be it the intelligence, communication or analysis of it, points to a revolution in how we access, manage and consume it. In order to enable organizations to thrive within the unsurpassed data growth of modern times, storage technologies have evolved accordingly. Read More

BlackPearl Software Updates Enable Intelligent Object Management

Spectra Logic has released a new version of its BlackPearl software, version 5.0. The update, which was announced in a recent press release, introduces several major new enhancements, including object versioning and staging, chunk aggregation, and a host of intelligent object management attributes. The feature-rich software is a key component of Spectra’s BlackPearl® Converged Storage System, a purpose-built storage platform that integrates directly with ”data mover” software applications to simplify workflows, and seamlessly manages large volumes of content to a variety of storage targets, including disk, tape and public cloud. The latest software advancements provide modern data centers with lower storage costs, time advantages, and improved capacity and data integrity.

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The New Enterprise Drive: A Deeper Look into Spectra’s TAOS Feature for LTO Tape Libraries

Spectra Logic expands LTO’s functionality with its Time-based Access Ordering System (TAOS)

When Spectra announced new enhancements for tape storage systems earlier this month, it became clear to anyone paying attention that tape technology is not a thing of the past. Between the Tape Storage Council’s 2018 tape technology memo and recent articles on how tape is changing the game, tape storage systems have generated a lot of buzz. With decades of tape expertise, Spectra continues to release features that leverage tape technology to advance modern workflows. The latest example of this is TAOS or Time-Based Access Order System for LTO drives.

Historically, recalling multiple small files from tape has taken longer than necessary due to the linear way that files are read. Retrieving non-consecutive files from a tape can result in large seek times between file reads due to potentially long distances between files. An LTO-8 tape, for instance, appears as a 200 km long tape, which threads down and back to read data.

Spectra Logic developed TAOS to create an optimal ordering of read requests that results in an up to four times improvement in overall time for files that are less than 100MB in size.

Over the last few years, enterprise tape technologies like IBM’s TS11x0 and Oracle’s T10000 have used similar functionalities to optimize recall times, but this type of tape enhancement has never before been present in LTO-based automated tape systems.  “This is a feature which has been on enterprise tape drives – with a two to three times price premium, but has never been available in open systems tape before,” said Matt Starr, Spectra CTO.

“Before TAOS, recalls from LTO tape were read in the same linear pattern in which they were written,” explains David Feller, vice president of product management and solutions engineering at Spectra Logic. “TAOS enables the software to get the files off of tape in the most logical order. When the system receives a read request, it first determines where each file starts and ends physically on the tape to create an optimal ordering of reads.”

For example, recalling 300 100MB files from an LTO-8 tape would have taken approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. When using TAOS, the same recall only takes about 55 minutes with the exact same LTO-8 drives and media, making the total tape access and data recall time about three times faster.

In addition to improving performance of restore operations, TAOS reduces wear to tape media and tape drives. The enhancement leads to up to 13 times less tape traveling across the head in the drive for the same files that need recalled.  So the less tape that runs past the head, the longer the tape drive and media will last, improving overall system reliability and reducing costs.

This and the many other tape innovations in development demonstrate the long-term commitment to tape archive technology that Spectra Logic provides to its enterprise customers worldwide. TAOS is a proprietary Spectra logic feature that will be included with the Spectra® T950 and TFinity® ExaScale Tape Libraries.  For existing customers, the feature will also be available through a simple library software update, requiring no additional hardware. TAOS will initially be released with IBM’s High Performance Storage System (HPSS) and HPE’s Data Management Framework (DMF) storage software later this year, with other ISV software packages to follow.

Check out the “Time-Based Access Order System for Increasing File Read Throughput on Tape” white paper to learn more about this development.

Fred Moore, founder and president of Horison Information Strategies, discussed what he learned about Spectra’s tape enhancements first-hand at the 2018 Large Tape Conference here.