Monster mash: Spectra Logic's tape library now twice the beast it was

IBM's latest tape drives make 2EB-plus library feasible

Spectra Logic's TFinity ExaScale tape library can store more than 2EB of compressed data, 2,000 petabytes-plus, using IBM's latest TS1160 tape drives and JE cartridges, double what it could store before.

The TFinity library was introduced in 2016 and supports three tape formats – LTO, IBM TS1150 and Oracle T10000 A, B, C and D format tape drives – which could be intermixed in the same library. It stores and moves TeraPacks, which contain 10 tape cartridges, instead of operating at the individual tape cartridge level. This reduces media handling times.


Spectra Logic LTO-6 TeraPack

Initially the library could support up to 40 frames and that has since increased to 44. The TS1150 was the-then highest capacity drive, at 10TB raw, and IBM's latest TS1160 drive with JE barium ferrite tape media bumps that up to 20TB raw. IBM said that means 60TB with a 3:1 compression ratio.

The drive has dual-port 16 Gbit/s Fibre Channel support, as well as 25GbitE, and the transfer speed is up to 400MB/sec raw but 900MB/sec compressed. The TS1160 drives are backwards compatible with earlier TS155 and TS1150 drive media and orderable from 20 November.

The TFinity Exascale has had TS1160 support added and, consequently, its maximum capacity doubles to 2 exabytes.


Spectra Logic TFinity ExaScale library

The library can support up to 24 x TS1160 drives in 3 frames, and up to 144 x TS1160 drives in 44 frames. Those 44 frames can handle up to 40,680 TS1160 cartridges.

If you need less maximum capacity Spectra’s other and smaller T950, T950v and T380 tape libraries will support IBM’s TS1160 tape drive and media.

If you are indeed going to need more, don't fret. Tape format roadmaps have lots of headroom as tape's areal density is way less than that of disk. Current LTO-8stores 12TB raw and the LTO roadmap goes out to LTO-12 at 192TB raw. IBM's TS11xx roadmap will be informed by its demonstration of a 330TB raw tape in August last year. ®

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