SPECTRA BLOG


Trends in Tape: Looking Beyond LTO-5 with LTO-6 and LTFS Recording and Pre-Purchase

A big ‘thank you’ to all of you who attended our webinar entitled “Trends in Tape: Looking beyond LTO-5 with LTO-6 and LTFS.”  We had the best attendance ever. This is clearly a topic of great interest to many of you out there.  Bob Cone hosted the call and the discussion was packed with a multitude of great information including LTO-6 and the overall LTO Roadmap.  But more importantly, Bob covered the implications of the roadmap and LTFS and how they fit into the overall storage picture. With so many technologies now available, storage hierarchies and designing and choosing the right building blocks for your environment continues to get more complex.  The presentation distilled much of the vast amount of available information on numerous storage alternatives into an easy-to-understand discussion. Tape, Disk and Solid State Disk / Flash were covered including where they fit now, and where they will fit in the future.  The session was recorded and is available at the link below: Read More


Looking Into the Storage Industry?s Crystal Ball: 2012 Predictions

As we say goodbye to another exciting year in the storage industry, we begin to set our sights on the future and what lies ahead.  While demand for data storage technologies continues to be strong and preparing for managing and effectively utilizing Big Data prevails in many organizations’ new initiative investigation; several technology drivers will directly and immediately impact the storage industry as we head into the New Year. Here’s a look at my predictions for 2012:

Tape is Here to Stay

Tape will continue its resurgence, driven in part by the increasing adoption of tape to offload spinning disk storage. Tape will be used as primary storage file storage for long-term data retention and will remain the most cost-effective enterprise storage media for Big Data and Cloud Storage environments. Read More


Ghost of Christmas Future — Tape!

Unless tape is playing an important role in your storage strategy, you are probably stuck in the storage equivalent of the Ghost of Christmas Past.  

As noted in many industry forums, tape is playing an important role in archive as a reliable and efficient means to provide on-line access data.   Numerous recent Spectra Logic developments including TFinity, Data Integrity Verification and CarbideCleanTMenhancement to Certified Media are specifically aimed at improving storage in archive and other ‘Big Data’ applications.

However, what often gets overlooked is the importance of tape as a cost-effective solution in the backup and disaster recovery markets.   If you think that dedup is the answer here, think again.  A recent ESG study shows that VTL/dedup solutions are 2 to 4x more expensive than LTO tape.   Once you’re ready to prepare for the future and make the most of your IT budget, check out the new ESG Lab video on Spectra’s T50e and T120 products for overviews of two efficient, scalable solutions in the 10TB to 200TB space with enterprise-class features. Read More


Happy Birthday, TFinity!

November marks the second anniversary of the launch of Spectra Logic’s flagship product and the world’s highest capacity storage system: the Spectra TFinity tape library.

As with any 2 year-old, significant growth  has occurred in a short amount of time.  Since TFinity’s launch in November 2009, library development has included growing from:

  1. 25 frames in a single library to 40 frames
  2. 30,520 LTO tapes to 50,100 tapes in a single library
  3. 4 libraries in a complex to 8 libraries in a complex
  4. 122,000+ LTO tapes in a single complex to 400,800 LTO tapes in a complex
  5. LTO tape technology exclusively to including industry leading TS1140 Technology tape drives as well
  6. 183 PB in a complex to 3.6 EB in a complex using TS1140 Technology

In addition to the physical growth, the library has also added next generation servers and software to better support a variety of features and enhancements that include:

  1. Data Integrity Verification to preserve data viability and integrity – particularly in archives
  2. Continually increasing robotics performance
  3. Expanded MLM database capacity
  4. XML API

And while this growth has progressed, TFinity has continued to provide the industry’s best: Read More


?Why I?m Thankful?for Big Data Storage?

We should all be Thankful as “Big Data” improves storage for everyone.

It’s the beginning of the Holiday season, with Thanksgiving travel in full swing.  I’ll be getting 10 hours of windshield time shortly, as I’m headed to see family.

As more of our customers have moved into the world of “Big Data” we have been looking at how to make storage ready for ExaScale.  ExaScale sized storage has challenges that storing a handful of Terabytes never imagined.  Spectra announced the 12thgeneration of BlueScaleearlier this month with a lot of advancements for Big Data customers.  While “Big Data” can mean a lot of different things to different organizations, one thing that is common is the need to storage and manage huge amounts of information.  We spent hours working with our customers over the last year looking at where we could make massive storage easier to use.  Read More


Why Tape Rolls On: Reliability

Reliability: (adv.) the extent to which an experiment, test, or measuring procedure yields the same results on repeated trials.  Dependable.  Sure.  Trustworthy.  (From our friends at Merriam-Webster). And there’s a picture of tape next to the definition.  Ok, so maybe the picture statement was a stretch, but associating the definition of reliability with tape definitely is not.

Anybody who’s been in the storage industry for more than 30 minutes has likely heard the phrase, “tape’s not reliable”.  Certain marketing machines in the technology space propagate that phrase as much as possible – occasionally with bumper stickers.  Those folks have some imagination, but generally register a bit low on the fact meter. Read More


Part 4: Why Tape Rolls On ? Density

 Den-si-ty (n.): The quantity per unit volume, unit area, or unit length. (From Merriam Webster)

Generally speaking, no one wants to pay more than is minimally required in order to store their stuff.  This is probably why so many American garages are filled with boxes and sports gear while the car sits out on the driveway.  It’s less expensive to keep grandma’s knick-knacks and the kids’ hand-me-downs in the garage than it is to pay the folks at U-Store-It to hold it for next spring’s neighborhood yard sale.

When it comes to storing electronic bits, the same premise holds true.  Administrators don’t want to pay more to store their data than is minimally necessary given various constraints around things like response times and availability.  As a result, buying storage gear that provides great density at low cost becomes highly important.  This is especially true given the length of time that bits have to be stored, which in some cases happens to be eternity.  Read More


Part 3: Why Tape Rolls On ? Speed

Speed (n.) Swiftness. Rapidity. Rate of motion or performance. (from Merriam Webster)

A trade show participant once told me he didn’t use tape because, “…it wasn’t fast enough”.  When asked how fast he needed to move data he said he needed to move it at about 200 MB/s for his backup purposes.  Furthermore, he believed only disk was fast enough to deliver.  When told a single LTO-4 tape drive could stream data at 120 MB/s and only 2 drives were needed to meet his requirement, he was shocked.  Unfortunately, his perception of tape is not exceptional given the marketing dollars spent “educating the masses” about the speed of disk versus tape. Read More


Spectra Logic Federal?s State of the Union

by Mark Weis

You are approaching the end of federal buying season (tips here) just as Spectra Logic is wrapping up a record 2011 fiscal year (our CEO’s comments are here.) As a company, we achieved 30 percent overall growth and 49 percent growth in enterprise tape sales. Now is a good time for my annual State of the Union address- to relay what end users are reporting from the field, and share why Spectra Logic Federal revenues grew an astronomical 42 percent over this same time period last year. This combination will supply insight to the healthy contribution that Federal has made to the company’s recent achievements. Read More


Spectra: Building Relationships and Products That Survive the Test of Time

Nathan Thompson's Fiscal Year 2011 Blog Update
By Nathan Thompson, Chairman and CEO, Spectra Logic

Recently we brought a group of our large users to Boulder to give us input on our technology and support strategies.  In speaking with these customers it became very clear that long-term relationships are important when it comes to storage, followed by the longevity of their storage platforms. The relationship aspect was not a surprise.  However, we didn’t fully appreciate that many of our largest customers ideally would like to keep their tape library storage devices in place for upwards of 20 years. During that time they expect that the modularity of their libraries will allow them to continue to increase capacity, density, reliability and utility as new “plug-in” technology becomes available through Spectra.  Since then I have been looking back—and we do have some customers who have been running 8mm AIT Spectra libraries for nearly two decades.  Upgrades have been applied to keep up with data growth, but they still are running the same robot with older drives (even thought 8mm tape is at the end of the road).  Read More