SPECTRA BLOG


Part 2: Why Tape Rolls On: Green Storage

It’s been said that airplanes magically turn money into noise.  In a similar way, it can be stated that disk storage turns money into heat.  In both cases, benefits like fast, reliable transportation and fast random data access accrue as the result of said magic.  Unfortunately, it also means a LOT of money may be involved yielding a lot of noise and heat respectively.

Setting aside the airplane analogy to concentrate on the conversion of money into heat through spinning disk over the long run, what can a storage administrator or CIO due to mitigate the cost of this magical transformation?  The answer to reducing the budget in various cases is tape storage. Read More


LTFS versus TAR: Which one, or perhaps both?

by Matthew Star, CTO, Spectra Logic

LTFS, linear tape file system, is sometimes called long term filesytem. No matter what you call it; LTFS lets tape behave like removable disk. Having tested various LTFS applications, I can tell you it is shaping up to become the new standard in tape interchange, particularly in LTO-based archives. LTFS is an open standard that uses two partitions to split directory contents from its associated file data. But what about the other open formats like TAR (derived from “tape archive”), which are open and have compatibility across multiple platforms? How does LTFS stack up in comparison? Read More


Archive? Tape Innovation? Customer Relationships? Who cares?

Well, apparently ‘Big Data’ organizations dealing with the data explosion care quite a bit about these topics.  

Numerous customers recently attended Spectra Logic’s 2011 TAP (TSeries Advisory Panel) meeting to discuss industry trends and roadmaps for archive, tape and overall storage.  The TAP consists of a select group of Spectra’s tape library users who convene annually to discuss their product experience and wish list for future developments and features. Attendees this year represented various HPC environments including national labs, genomics, cloud services, media and entertainment, financial services and manufacturing. Read More


Part 1: Why Tape Rolls On – Security

Security (n.) Safety. Freedom from worry. Protection. (From Merriam Webster)

Famed bank robber Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks, was quoted as saying, “Because that’s where the money is.”  Today, the money is in the information.  Safeguarding information from deliberate criminal or destructive acts and inadvertent system problems is crucial.  Tape plays a valuable role in delivering that safety.

The Ponemon Institute reported in early 2011 that the cost of a data breach had risen to $214 per individual record and $7.2M per breach.  Insurance against such high dollar events can result in a great return on investment should something go wrong.  One of the first, and still best, methods of insuring against breach scenarios is through data encryption on tape.  Given that the cost of an enterprise tape system can run sub 15 cents per GB with each gigabyte storing thousands of files, valued at $214 per file per Ponemon, the cost of tape encryption insurance is little more than a rounding error relative to the cost of a data breach incident. Read More


News Flash: Spectra Initiates Storage Crisis Lifeline to Help Customers Affected by Hurricane Irene

by Brian Grainger, VP of Worldwide Sales

As Spectra Logic's customers along Hurricane Irene’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 today. We first introduced this program 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


Airplane Talk

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.  Read More


The Best? By Any Other Name, Is Still?The BEST

Storage admins have heard the same vendor pitches over and over and over. And let’s admit it, repetition in any job is just boring. I am lucky to be in a channel marketing role where I can hear what hundreds of storage solution providers are doing to make product positioning both relevant and interesting. And some of them do it really well.

Here are three of the best I’ve seen:

Cambridge Computer’s Active Archive Lecture Series – This seminar is a half-day of lectures around topics such as “Best Practices of Archiving and Data Life Cycle Management” and “Comparative Methods for the Automation of Tiered Storage.” The audience is actually learning something that they can apply in their own environment today. The feedback we hear from this event is not just positive, it is also appreciative. This lecture series is one of dozens of educational events that Cambridge puts on. To see if Cambridge is hosting an event in your area, visit their Web site here: http://www.cambridgecomputer.com/education.cfm Read More


Rethinking Storage with Big Data

The annual Spectra sales kick off meeting just wrapped up.  I am working on getting this entry done before I leave for a week’s vacation.  It was an interesting few days of discussions and presentations.  There were a lot of outside speakers this year, really adding to the variety of topics and viewpoints. 

I ended up on the schedule three times this year.  I would talk to my agent about  when they were scheduled, if only I had one.  One of my sessions was an update on the Big Data market.  As I got up to start the presentation, I was surprised at how well it tied into everything we heard already.  It seems most market segments and verticals are facing a Big Data challenge of one type or another.   Read More


Trade Show Wish List? An Event Managers Perspective

I recently returned from ISC 2011 in Hamburg, Germany the last ‘large’ trade show that Spectra Logic attended during our 2011 fiscal year. It seems I’ve been all over the world during our last FY – Las Vegas, San Diego, Amsterdam, Hamburg, New Orleans…the list goes on…

On my plane ride back I had some time to reflect on the events that Spectra has attended over the last twelve months and I wanted to share my recap with you – I’ve created a short list of the most important things on Spectra’s  event “wish list”..

1. Qualified Attendee Base – There is absolutely no substitute for a well-qualified audience. When show organizers put together an event, it’s essential they meet both the needs of end-users and industry sponsors/exhibitors. From the end-users’ point of view, worthwhile content, sessions, presentations and exhibiting vendors are important in deciding whether or not to travel to an event. From an industry sponsor/exhibitor standpoint, companies like Spectra want to see well-qualified registrants attending. Pre-qualification is always a bonus for us, however, we only tend to see this in day-long seminars versus large, weeklong conferences. Read More


What could you buy for the cost to power an archive?

Between ESG and Clipper Group, one can generate an interesting discussion about the opportunity costs of powering archive storage on tape versus doing so on disk.  With the power savings available from tape archives, you could buy a lot of stuff.

For this exercise, let’s use ridiculously big numbers to see what we could buy with the money spent in power alone, just for archives.  The 2010 Digital Archive Market Forecast from ESG indicates there will be 79,151 PB of digital data archived by 2012 – next year.  By 2015, ESG expects that data mass to grow to 300,000 PB or 300,000,000 TB of data!  Read More