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Spectra Logic Launches Big Tape For Big Data

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Spectra Logic on Tuesday launched new tape libraries, enhanced management software, and a new service offering for enterprises facing ever-growing amounts of data as they implement Big Data and cloud storage strategies.

The company announced a new tape library, the T-Finity ExaScale Storage Powered by BlueScale 12, which supports 3.6 exabytes of data. (An Exabyte equals 1 million TB.) The T-Finity ExaScale supports 400,000 tape cartridge slots within a complex of eight libraries and also supports the Redundant Array of Inexpensive Tapes for data protection. (RAIT is a technology, much like RAID, in which eight data tapes and two parity tapes can survive the loss of two tapes.) Spectra Logic deploys RAIT in its TeraPack cartridge trays, which hold 10 tapes.

Further the T-Finity supports LTO-5, LTO-6, and IBM TS1140 tape drives and as much as 75 PB to 3.6 EB of storage. TS1140 drives support 500 GB to 4 TB of capacity, while LTO-5 supports 1.5 TB and LTO-6 supports 3.2 TB.

[ For years, experts have said tape was dead, and they have been wrong. Read Defending Tape, Once Again. ]

The company's management software has also been enhanced with greater performance and faster power-on times. It also now supports a Spectra Logic technology called Carbide Clean, which provides "ultra-cleaning" of Spectra Logic tape cartridges and extends their life. Carbide Clean is included with all sales of Spectra Logic's Certified Media at no charge.

BlueScale 12 now also allows 35% to 60% faster robotic performance and 15% to 20% faster power-on times. In addition, Blue Scale 12 now offers an XML-based Open Library API, which enables customers to use their software management applications with Spectra Logic's.

The company also announced the ability to import tape cartridges into their T-950 and T-Finity libraries and export them faster with a Bulk TeraPack Access Port system (TAP). The Bulk Tap lets users import or export 500 TBs of data at a time rather than individually importing and exporting tape media.

Spectra Logic also incorporated its Media Lifecycle Management capabilities into IBM TS1140 tape drives. MLM allows customer to track the reliability and viability of tape and alerts them to problems with damaged or overused tape.

Finally, Spectra Logic is offering a guarantee program for its T-Series libraries, in which maintenance contracts will not increase above the rate of inflation. Called Service PriceLock, it allows customers to budget more effectively.

Spectra Logic has been successful in a number of environments, but especially media and entertainment and high-performance computing. These are areas where IBM and Oracle/StorageTek also excel. Spectra Logic counts among its customers the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the National Geographic Global Media Group, which generates 5 TB to 10 TB of content each day and archives 90% of it on a Spectra Logic T950 array.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.