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My briefing with Spectra Logic, during the last Powering the cloud event, was with Steve Mackey (VP International).

The company design and deliver innovative data protection through tape and disk-based backup, recovery and archive storage solutions.

Compared to previous companies met during this event, this is one with a long history (over 30 years of experience in storage) and it well know in the US, but honestly not the same in EMEA (or at least not in Italy) and, in fact, one of their mission is increase the market share in EMEA.

They have the headquarter in Colorado (Boulder), and also an EMEA office in London, with some people in other European countries.

I was curios and interested to know their point of view about the tape technologies (several people are considering backup to tape dead or at least replaceble by VTL). In this field they have bring several innovation: was one of the first to automate Advanced Intelligent Tape (AIT) magnetic tape in a robotic autoloader, one of the first tape library vendor to implement the iSCSI networking protocol in its products and in December 2010, Spectra’s tape library product line won first place in all 14 categories of Storage magazine/’s 2010 Quality Awards for enterprise and midrange tape libraries.

Tape are used mainly for archiving (for big data), with long term and integrity check, very high storage density and for very large customers. There are different user cases in different area, including HPC (where data could be really important both in side, access speed, and archiving). They have also some Italian customers.

They are building also their own tape cartridge, with a custom chip for each cartridge, to register the speed, the usage, the errors on the media and be able to identify and monitor the health of all media. Also the library density is up to 3 time higher compared to other solutions, because they pack 10 media together in a single terapack to maximize density, but also speed, because each terapack could be access in parallel on all included media (for example, HCP applications, could reach a big benefit from this kind of approach).

Of course several features are included, like encryption, back-compatibility (for example LTO6 can read also LTO5 media), media vaulting, media migration (that could be done also in background).

About the connectivity part, actually they provide a block access way, using iSCSI, FC and SAS. But using 3rd part appliances, it’s also possible use this kind of libraries using a file level access, though the standard LTFS specification. Could be interesting see if and when they will provide this feature embedded in their products.

See also: full report list of Powering The Cloud 2012 event.


Virtualization, Cloud and Storage Architect. Tech Field delegate. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert 2010-24. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014-15. Microsoft MVP 2014-16. Veeam Vanguard 2015-23. Nutanix NTC 2014-20. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.