Feeds

Spectra: Tape is dead? We installed 550PB of the stuff in 6 months

Amazon beauty could be behind unexpected growth

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Tape library vendor SpectraLogic says it installed 550PB of tape library capacity in the second half of 2012 and reports that its revenues, led by rising T-Finity library sales, for that six months were up 9 per cent compared to a year ago.

Half an exabyte of tape equates to the installation of roughly a dozen of the vendor's high-end T-Finity libraries in the period - each library has a 45PB raw capacity maximum with LTO-5 tapes. A base unit cost $218,000 in 2011. Let's do some rough-and-ready math and up that to $225,000 for inflation and then triple it for a high-capacity box - which would give us $675,000 apiece. A dozen of these would give us $8.1m, which seems low for a six monthly revenue period for SpectraLogic. It is very rough and ready and my gut says the number should be $10m or more. As a private company, it doesn't have to publish its financial statements, so we can't tell for sure.

As EMC's new tape Select partner, it may also be capitalising on the EMC-Quantum deals.

During the year the NCSA’s Blue Waters supercomputing system had at least four Spectra T-Finity libraries installed and it's understood - though not publicly stated - that Amazon is using Spectra T-Finity tape libraries to provide the storage in its Glacier cloud archive storage facility.

According to our reckoning Glacier is available in five Amazon regions:

  • North Virginia (US East)
  • Oregon (US West or Oregon)
  • North California (US West or Northern California)
  • Ireland (EU (Ireland) Region)
  • Tokyo (Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Region)

We understand Glacier redundantly stores data in multiple facilities and on multiple devices within each facility. That would suggest at least 10 T-Finity libraries would be involved and, if they exist in the various availability zones in Amazon regions, probably more.

Details are sparse but, we understand, the US East-1 region consists of more than 10 data centres structured into five availability zones. It is thought that Amazon's US West (Oregon) region has data centres at Umatilla, Port of Morrow and Boardman, making three in all. If the Glacier rumours are true, it looks as if tape's future is bright as use of Amazon's cloud storage grows and library deployments go into double figures.

SpectraLogic says it has had six years of profitability and that big tape archives "have become the prevailing standard for media and entertainment, high performance computing (HPC), cloud and general IT organisations challenged with storing, managing and accessing massive amounts of unstructured file data."

This market for high-end tape libraries is mostly split between IBM, Oracle and SpectraLogic.

Spectra's CEO Nathan Thompson says some of the profits have been used for research and development. The firm foresees, "a strong slate of new products and technologies this coming year". Spectra plans to launch a large number of new data storage products - "more than were released in the past five years combined".

Quantum said tape sales increased in its latest quarter. Whisper it quietly, but tape, once thought to be on the ropes and reeling, is back in the centre of the data centre ring and punching hard. Watch out tape deniers: you could get a bloody nose. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.