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

A Look at the Latest Developments in Tape Technology

Betsy DoughtyBy Betsy Doughty, Spectra Vice President of Corporate Marketing

The Tape Storage Council , of which Spectra is a founding member, released their annual memo, “Tape Raises the Bar for Higher Capacity, Reliability, and Security” this week. It highlights what is new in the world of tape and what these advancements mean for the greater data storage market. The Tape Storage Council is a collaborative industry group dedicated to promoting current tape industry trends, usages and technology innovations. Read More

Maximum Flexibility in a Stackable Configuration

For nearly 40 years, Spectra Logic has been on the forefront of innovation in tape storage. Today, Spectra continues the trend of offering products that address the need for affordable storage in industries with exponential data growth with the announcement of the Spectra® Stack Tape Library.

The Spectra Stack strikes the balance between flexibility, scalabilty, and affordability in a way that makes it perfect for organizations that don’t just view data storage as an obligation, but see it as a duty to preserving information that contributes to the success of their businesses and markets. Read More

Massive Data Management without Friction – Komprise and Spectra Solutions

Krishna Subramanian
COO, Komprise

We all know the story – data growth is exploding, but IT budgets are staying flat. Customers realize that storing and managing all data on primary storage is not sustainable – especially since the amount of data managed is typically 300%+ of the amount created (for 1TB of data stored, it is 3TB to 6TB managed – 1TB source, 1TB mirror/disaster recovery and 1 to 3TB backup copies).

Since 80%+ of this data is cold/inactive, by moving the cold data and its management to a cost-efficient secondary storage such as Spectra’s BlackPearl® Converged Storage System, businesses can typically save 70%+ on storage costs.
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Innovation through Software, Part 2 of 2
 BlackPearl’s Multi-Interface Support

As the centerpiece of a modern workflow, Spectra’s BlackPearl® Converged Storage System’s multi-interface support capabilities improve performance and scalability of storage solutions, while facilitating front-end access for users through software multi-tenancy features. By leveraging existing certified client partners like MediaFlux, or self-developed Customer Created Clients, BlackPearl can incorporate a multitude of storage interfaces into a single, user-friendly point of access.

BlackPearl combines object storage with a RESTful server interface to consolidate cache, tape, online, nearline, and public and private cloud storage. This hybrid ecosystem allows BlackPearl to merge different classes of media in the most efficient way possible, migrating data off different tiers per configurable policies based on frequency of use and value. For instance, Linear Tape File System (LTFS) is the only format that BlackPearl uses to write to tape because it is an open-standard way to exchange data across different operating systems and software. While this flexibility provides a cost-effective alternative for tiered content storage and deep archive, LTFS technology mimics a file-based storage, presenting the same performance limitations of traditional file systems. By using a RESTful interface, BlackPearl solves common file-based issues like time-outs and errors/failure when sharing data between servers. Furthermore, the cache management of BlackPearl is optimized for tape. Storage policies enable BlackPearl to stage the initial storage of the objects in its cache, and plan how it will store the data on tape, allowing for higher throughput in the system and maximizing efficient use of space in the repository. Read More

Innovation through Software, Part 1 of 2 BlackPearl’s Cloud-Out Feature

A cloud initiative is now widely recognized as an essential part of a genetically diverse storage strategy. In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the importance of incorporating on-premise copies (When the Cloud is Out of Order, Are You?), storing to multiple locations, and making use of backup, restoration, and replication methods (Comparing Data Resiliency and Data Protection) to achieve resilient and protected data with a cloud initiative. This week’s blog will explore how the Spectra® BlackPearl® Converged Storage System’s hybrid cloud storage model allows data to move seamlessly into disk, tape and cloud storage in a way not previously possible. Read More

Automating Data Management with the Combined Spectra and StrongBox Solution

Floyd Christofferson
SVP, Products, StrongBox Data Solutions

Spectra invited StrongBox Senior VP of Products Floyd Christofferson, to discuss the attributes of the StrongBox and BlackPearl Solution.

How does the StrongLink® solution work?

StrongLink leverages the power of metadata and machine learning to deliver the first solution to truly automate storage and data management across multi-vendor storage environments. StrongLink is not limited by a particular filesystem or storage vendor ecosystem but can bridge multi-vendor environments with a policy-driven management layer to automate and simplify all aspects of data management, data protection, storage resource management and more. 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

#SC17: Trends from the Show Floor

Last week, Spectra Logic exhibited at one of its largest industry trade shows of the year: Supercomputing 2017. Also referred to as SC17, Supercomputing is an international event dedicated to showcasing work in high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis. This year’s show was held right in our own backyard at the Colorado Convention Center, and was attended by HPC professionals from around the globe.

Spectra team members observed several trends and HPC industry developments. Here are a few of the hot topics and trends that stood out: Read More