Ask Ms. Meade E. Ahmogle, Duchess of Data Backup

Dear Ms. Meade:

I can’t believe you are still pushing tape. It’s so old school. Disk is totally the only way to go.


Disk-O Dude

Dear Disk-O Dude:

It does appear that you have accepted some of the hype around disk, which itself is, as you put it, old-school. Why, did you know that disk and tape are essentially classmates, both matriculating from laboratories between 1951 and 1956 for use in storing computer-based data?

I absolutely concur that disk is useful—it has such an important role to play in tiered storage. In fact, in some cases, it is “totally the way to go.” But then, tape is useful, too. So you may want to totally consider it for appropriate use in your data protection strategy. After all, it turns out that 68% of disk-only data centers have seen the error of their ways and are bringing tape BACK into the data center. The reasons are simple: tape is affordable, has a proven shelf life, and uses much less in terms of space and power. Read More

He shoots, he scores?

A few days ago, while sifting through the mundane, I ran across a blog from a CEO making a derogatory comment about tape and thought I’d post some food for thought.

When I first landed in the storage market in August of 2000, the ignorati were already babbling about the end of tape.  Since that time, I’ve worked with account teams to put tape into the following Fortune 500 and similarly large government data centers:  Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Social Security Administration, NASA, Los Alamos, Boeing, John Deere, Verizon, Sprint, AOL, Yahoo!, TD Ameritrade and countless other enterprise customers. Read More

The Holidays Come Early for the Federal Government

It’s Christmas all year round at Spectra Logic.

Federal spending is predicted to reach $3.02 trillion in 2009, so most every vendor is scrambling to get as much as they can. The real smart vendors, like Spectra Logic, dedicate resources to federal the entire year….  Trust me, if you are just jumping on that bandwagon folks call buying season, Elvis has left the building.

First, some background, with years of product management and field sales experience, I pinpointed the Federal market, studied it, deeply understood it, and saw its opportunities.  When I moved up the management ladder I had the ability to make a real difference.  In 2004, Spectra Logic built a dedicated Federal team and launched  Spectra Logic Federal. Five years later, Spectra Logic’s Federal business now comprises approximately 30% of North American revenue. We get it; we embrace it; we support it; and most importantly we build a business around it. Read More

Privately thriving

Spectra Logic recently announced yet another profitable year—for a third consecutive year— with significant growth in verticals that include media and entertainment, high-performance computing, and the federal government sector. We attribute our success to a number of factors including:

  • Solid demand for large and mid-range data protection solutions;
  • Our strong position in key vertical markets including high-performance computing (HPC), media and entertainment and the federal sector;
  • Innovative, market-leading feature sets;
  • Channel expansion;
  • Significant repeat business from existing customers; and
  • Growth of our Enterprise customer base.   
  • Read More

    Dedupe and tape elope

    "Deduplication has made tape irrelevant" … "Tape Sucks" … “I’m amazed how fast everyone is abandoning tape.”

       The deduplication industry in particular, has been extremely vocal about how it is killing off tape. Fighting the conventional wisdom, Spectra Logic is running full speed ahead as a tape company with solid deduplication offerings. As I sit in a hotel room in Phoenix after another day full of meetings with customers and partners, pondering where to have dinner in Scottsdale, I find it interesting that most people I talk to these days find our deduplication with a true tie to tape a "fresh" approach. Read More

    Searching for the Holy Grail: Pain-Free Backups

    It is pretty interesting being the "disk guy" at what is thought of as a tape library company.   There is always an opportunity to educate both internally and externally, and that can be fun.  The unfortunate fact is, disk has become way too confusing.  Every vendor has some new spin on disk, with new terms, philosophies and technology, all in the search for the holy grail: pain-free backups.   In the process of trying to solve all this pain, the vendor community may have just created confusion. 

    For example, I just had a Systems Engineer in my office talking about sizing deduplication arrays.  A customer thought of deduplication as a type of compression.  It is easy to understand why, after all, most deduplication marketing materials stress deduplication ratios.  If you don’t think about it every day, it isn’t easy to see that the first backup might get 2:1, the 90th backup might get 500:1 and the system average is 20:1.  Now mix in replication, snapshots, iSCSI, NAS, Fibre Channel, Backup Software, compliance, DR, e-discovery…..  The list seems to be growing.   The classic backup pains still exist, and as much as I wish there were, there isn’t a “silver bullet” product that solves all the problems.  Of course, deduplication is the hot topic in backup and archive these days. It can be a very powerful tool when used correctly, but the noise that end user organizations must wade through to understand dedupe can be overwhelming.  Does it really need to be this hard?  I would hope not, and when I work with sales and customers, I am trying to make sure it isn’t.  But a lot of the damage has been done.   In the end, we need to solve the backup problems different organizations have.  As the disk guy, it would be great if they were all solved with disk, but tape and software will also be a large part of the landscape. What are your thoughts on the topic?   Follow me at www.Twitter.com/3pedal  

    CYAssets for Media and Entertainment

    By Hossein ZiaShakeri, SVP of Strategic Marketing and Business Development

    You may have noticed a number of recent announcements and articles on how media and entertainment customers who have selected Spectra Logic as the preferred vendor for data asset management.    Jon Toigo recently stated in an article about two of Spectra Logic’s broadcast customers NASCAR and the Discovery Channel, that tape continues to be the preferred home for nearly 70 percent of the world’s data — especially in the core of the digital revolution: video.   Media and entertainment is not a new area of focus for Spectra Logic but we are seeing growth here. Outside of the technical benefits of our high-density tape libraries, we understand the industry’s digital archive issues and work closely with our customers to deliver the support necessary to provide archival solutions that offer high capacity and room for growth.   Spectra Logic also announced recently that the Tennis Channel selected a Spectra T950 robotic tape library to store many hours of video footage. Dean Hadaegh, CTO and senior VP of technical operations for the Tennis Channel was recently quoted in a Broadcast Engineering article as saying that they chose Spectra Logic tape libraries for the reliability and ease in adding slots and drives as necessary. "The Spectra Logic automated tape library, with its multiple high-speed drives, has proven invaluable in meeting our backup time constraints," Hadaegh said. "The T950 system’s ability to be logically partitioned and handle multiple media formats is also an important factor. Besides cost savings related to the type of media, tape allows us the ability to easily off-site media for disaster recovery purposes."   In addition to solving the company’s backup and archive requirements, the scalable archive will be put to good use during the Tennis Channel’s live coverage of the upcoming U.S. Open tournament.   We are proud to be a preferred digital assets archive provider for these companies and a host of others including Scripps Networks, Foxtel, CBS, Showtime, Cox Television, Entertainment Tonight, MTV, National Geographic, AC Neilsen UK etc. More information on how we address the media and entertainment business can be found here.    

    Top 10 Reasons to Encrypt Your Data

    From the field office out of Nederland, CO, home of the Frozen Dead Guy Days (look it up) here are the Top 10 Reasons to Encrypt Your Data.

    10) It’s not nearly as hard as you think to encrypt your data.  In fact, it can be effortless.

    9) No need to give the ambulance chasing attorneys more work to chase.

    8) Be a leader, not a follower (II).  One-third of firms don’t know if they’ll encrypt their tapes and 50% don’t know where they would store them.  (Thales Survey)

    7) Be a leader, not a follower (I).  Only 52% of firms report encrypting all sensitive data and personally identifiable information.  (Security Destruction Business Magazine, April 2009) Read More

    Bandwidth of a Station Wagon

    On March 12, 2007, Sun’s CEO told an audience it was faster to send a petabyte of data from San Francisco to Hong Kong on a slow boat than by wire.  People find that statement incomprehensible.  Many vendors of disk and de-duplication solutions rely upon this lack of knowledge and seldom bother to talk to customers about the recovery portion of backup and recovery.

    As long as a major disaster is averted, no one gets hurt.  However, betting the data center farm you’ll never have to exercise a large scale recovery is generally not prudent.  It’s like playing lotto in reverse.  If you hit the “winning” ticket you’ll pay dearly.  Read More

    Webinar – Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

    We have created a new webinar that all IT folks should watch. "Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity" discusses the benefits of a comprehensive DRBC plan. You’ll also learn why a blended tape and disk solution is a key component of a sound disaster recovery strategy and how those technologies together can help minimize downtime from disruptive events.

    Watch DRBC Webinar