Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What is the value of tape storage in today’s digital economy?

Brian Grainger, CSO at Spectra Logic, talks digital preservation of up to exabytes of critical data and global heritage.

In recent years, much has been written about the storage market as disruptive technologies such as flash storage become widely adopted.

Yet, older solutions such as tape have proved to be resilient and reliable even in the 21st century-hungry applications world.

Tape is recognised for its low CAPEX, its strong disaster recovery capabilities and its adaptability to new market demands in the data centre space.

Building on that, Data Economy (DE) spoke to Brian Grainger (BG), chief sales officer at Spectra Logic on the current and upcoming tape market chain.


DE: How has the tape market shifted in the last couple of years and what does it look like now?

Brian Grainger, CSO at Spectra Logic

BG: Tape’s technological advancements have strengthened greatly in the last two years, with notable enhancements in capacity, density and data integrity verification feature sets.

The tape drive roadmap has also improved, now doubling capacities every two years, and positioning tape as more cost effective when compared to disk systems with similar capacity points.


DE: What is the value of tape in today’s digital economy?

BG: Tape is the most reliable and cost-effective storage medium to backup and archive digital data forever.

Due to tape libraries’ modularity and upgradeability, tape libraries offer better longevity, TCO and ROI than any other platform.

For example, Spectra Logic has many units in the field that have been installed and running continuously for more than a decade.


DE: How has Spectra Logic’s R&D evolved around tape and disk media?

BG: Spectra Logic is focused on a vertical approach, and its solutions are suited to data-intensive environments such as government, media and entertainment, HPC, video surveillance and public cloud infrastructure companies.

Spectra has tape and disk solutions of all sizes installed globally, with high concentrations in these vertical market areas due to our product ecosystem and overall solution flexibility.


DE: How has Spectra Logic worked towards preparing the portfolio for the overall digital preservation of up to exabytes of critical data and global heritage?

BG: Spectra’s  BlackPearl is an S3 gateway that bridges object storage to tape. Spectra has invested heavily in the BlackPearl Deep Storage Gateway, and considers it as the centre of its solution set.

BlackPearl is a converged storage platform, with a wide array of options including multi-site replication; Advanced Bucket Management (policy-based multi-copy); public cloud storage with Amazon Web Services and others; with front-end NAS storage.

Spectra sees many media and entertainment companies choose BlackPearl due to its certification by and direct integration with solutions like AVID Interplay MAM, CatDV, Cyberduck, eMAM, Imagen, Marquis and Vizrt to name a few.

BlackPearl is also integrated with CEPH, Globus/GridFTP, GPFS and Lustre, making Spectra BlackPearl combined with an enterprise tape library an ideal solution for the HPC market.


DE: What is Spectra working on this space for 2017? 

BG: In 2017, you will see Spectra Logic expand on its commitment to tape by offering the latest versions of the three market tape technologies in its T380, T950 and TFinity ExaScale tape libraries.

Spectra will continue to investing heavily in vertical solutions, and nurture its traction in NAS and Object Storage. There will be a major enhancement to the BlackPearl ecosystem later this Autumn.