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SpectraLogic yanks dedupe limitation

More drives pile into libraries

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SpectraLogic has removed a common limitation of deduplicating virtual tape libraries (VTLs) - the inability to add more drives to a bought VTL.

It has also added a global hot spare tape drive to its libraries plus enhanced hardware component monitoring.

SpectraLogic provides integrated disk-based virtual tape libraries (VTLs) and T-Series tape libraries in a disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) data protection offering.

It has upgraded the software in its nTier500 and 700 deduplicating VTLs such that the deduplication functionality can accept and work with increased capacities. The deduplication is based on a FalconStor engine offering post-process deduplication or near inline deduplication through a concurrent feature, in which deduplication of backup data that has landed on the device begins while fresh data is still being streamed to it. (Nexsan also uses this FalconStor deduplication software.)

This FalconStor engine is integrated with SpectraLogic software which provides deduplication policy management. It works in the BlueScale software environment to integrated the nTier VTLs into SpectraLogic's T-Series tape library family to export VTL data, rehydrated unless under CommVault Simpana control, to physical tapes.

Molly Rector, SpectraLogic's VP for product management and marketing, confirms Spectra's positioning of its data protection strategy as disk-to-disk-to-tape, and says the highest growth area for the company is tape and disk-based products. That's counter-intuitive, going against what Quantum is experiencing for example.

Customers with nTier500s can start with 8TB and double capacity to 26TB with the deduplication software using it. Previously such post-purchase capacity expansion didn't work. The larger nTier700 can start with 10TB of capacity and then expand via the addition of 10TB storage blades up to 60TB. Both systems use 1TB SATA Drives and Molly Rector said we should expect Spectra to move straight to 2TB drives in the future, instead of using 1.5TB ones.

Why was this enhanced nTier product set better than Quantum's DXi product? She said that, to her recollection, the DXi products suffered from the inability to expand capacity post-purchase as the Spectra products used to do. Also she thought that the Spectra products had a more integrated ability to export VTL data to physical tape.

Will Spectra add a network-attached storage (NAS) interface to nTier? "We're definitely considering it," she said, "but we haven't decided for certain."

Spectra has added a global hot spare tape drive capacity to its libraries so that, if a tape drive fails, the backup to tape can continue by moving it to the spare drive.

The updated BlueScale 10.6 system software also now automatically tracks new media inserted into the library, identifies it and starts tracking its usage. This means that, as its known usage lifetime limit approaches, BlueScale can issue traffic light reports indicating it's OK to use (green), approaching its usage limit (yellow), or past it (red) so that users can remove tapes from use that are past their lifetime usage limits and so help prevent tape errors.

Rector said Spectra wanted to make its tape libraries as reliable as disk arrays through component monitoring of the hard ware components, such as drives, overall robotics and robotic components and through media lifecycle management.

BlueScale 10.6, available on the T-Series tape library product line including the Spectra T50e, T120, T200, T380, T680 and T950 libraries, is available as a free upgrade to existing customers with current support contracts. The new nTier Deduplication capabilities are available immediately. Base pricing for an nTier500 v80 Deduplication appliance starts at $23,500/£14,200. ®

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