Spectra Logic: You can't, er, stick to tape forever

Getting creative in the conservative cold data market

Into the ArcticBlue

Spectra Summit Tape vendors are very few in number now: Oracle (StorageTek), IBM and Spectra Logic. The market is quite static and the only thing that actually happens each year is a new tape generation (just more space and throughput) ... and that’s it.

Spectra Logic, which held its annual Summit a few days ago, does have some interesting products, such as the Tfinity - which is a particular tape library that can be “scaled-out” and become huge, while, according to the vendor, occupying less floor space than comparable configurations from the competition. And, at this level, tape is all about efficiency and savings.

Tape libraries are still Spectra’s most substantial source of revenue, but the company is evolving year after year into offerings other than just tape libraries.

Beyond tape

Two years ago Spectra presented a really interesting product: BlackPearl. It’s an appliance capable of exposing a tape-optimised S3-compatible interface, transforming its tape libraries into a sort of object store for long-term storage.

This year Spectra introduced ArcticBlue, a high density array with a set of particular features (including a hard disk power down functionality and erasure coding) aimed at providing high power efficiency and longevity while maintaining the best possible availability and resiliency. And again, this is integrated with BlackPearl.

The deep storage company

Spectra Logic's knowledge about libraries and tapes (a media that can last 25/30 years) put it in a unique position to develop next generation products, such as BlackPearl or ArcticBlue. In fact, the list of partners leveraging its technology is quite long now and it can easily play as a second tier for all those OBS vendors out there with Tiering-to-the-cloud capabilities (HDS HCP, NetApp StorageGRID, Cloudian Hyperstore and so on).

With a full featured Object Storage platform in the front-end and Spectra Logic at the back-end, it’s not difficult to build a competitive on-premises Glacier-like infrastructure for cold data.

Bottom line

Spectra Logic is a very interesting company, capable of being competitive and innovative in a very conservative market where the other players are Oracle and IBM (with all the leverage they have on their customers.)

Its vision regarding deep storage is quite complete and its product line-up is growing. ®

Disclaimer: I was invited to this meeting by Spectra Logic and it paid for travel and accommodation, I have not been compensated for my time and am not obliged to blog. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or edited by any other person than the Juku team.

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