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Spectra Logic Backup and Archive Blog


Introducing the Planet's Largest Tape Library - Again

Over the past few years, Spectra Logic has accomplished some significant achievements, specifically in the line of exponential data growth and deep storage. The month of October marks a particularly special time for Spectra, as we are not only celebrating our 35th birthday, but also the release of a new and exciting tape drive: the TS1150 Tape Technology.

 IBM’s new tape drive offers revolutionary enhancements in capacity and performance and will change the way the world stores data. On October 8th, 2014 Spectra Logic announced the integration of the IBM TS1150 into three of its enterprise libraries:  the Spectra T380, the T950 and the T-Finity. With this announcement we at Spectra now have the bragging rights to the largest modular library available in terms of both density and capacity, the Spectra T-Finity.  This is the second time in five years that Spectra Logic has introduced the world’s largest tape library, following the initial release of the T-Finity in 2009.  Today, customers can purchase a T-Finity with TS1150 Tape Technology and media to achieve 380 PB in a 40-frame library; or more than 3 EB in an eight-library complex.

With data growth of approximately 40% a year IT storage administrators are always looking for new storage solutions that offer exceptional reliability, high capacity and robust performance in a cost effective package.  Storage solutions such as a Spectra tape library with integrated TS1150 Tape Technology provides customers with easy, rapid access to their data, the ability to maintain data governance and regulatory compliance and a scalable solution to manage exponential data growth. 

The TS1150 Tape Technology is the fifth generation of IBM’s high performance, high capacity enterprise-class tape drive.  With an industry leading 10 TB native cartridge capacity and an uncompressed throughput of 360 MB/sec, the TS1150 Tape Technology offers a 150 percent increase in capacity and a 45 percent increase in data rate over the previous generation TS1140 Tape Technology.  This extraordinary increase in capacity and performance from generation to generation is typical for this technology and similar gains are expected with the next iteration of IBM’s enterprise-class tape drive.  Combined with the scalability of Spectra tape libraries customers’ investment protection is solidified.

For more information about Spectra Logic’s TS1150 solution, including a white paper, video, brochure and more, visit, or contact us at 1-800-833-1132.

Some things get older, we get better…

We have a lot to celebrate these days at Spectra Logic, as October marks our company’s 35th anniversary. After more than a third of a century in existence, and a decade of promoting the tagline “Changing the World of Storage” – Spectra has decided it’s time for a refresh.

With our tape, disk and private cloud offerings, Spectra offers deep storage solutions that solve the problem of long term storage for business and technology professionals dealing with exponential data growth. Hence, we are “Deep Storage Experts.”

Spectra enables affordable, multi-decade data storage and access by creating new methods of managing information in all forms of deep storage—including archive, backup, cold storage, cloud and private cloud.

Today’s modern business objectives present new and unfamiliar challenges when it comes to storing massive amounts of data. Not only is the world’s data expanding to sizes we never truly anticipated, but we are also expected to retain data for longer periods of time, costing companies valuable time and resources.

We have dedicated ourselves solely to storage innovation and providing the most affordable, reliable services available for the past 35 years. Spectra Logic is a company you’ll want to do business with, proven by the largest data users in the world: our customers. 

What better way to tell the story of deep storage than to have our customers tell you in their own words? Check out how Discovery Communications, McDonald’s and NCSA have access to everything they need and why they chose Spectra.

Watch our blog and social networks this month as we celebrate our 35th birthday with trivia, games and prizes.

Managing Exponential Data Archives: Behind NCSA Blue Waters

The following two words can often generate stress and concern for IT administrators: exponential data.  Exponential data means data sets with size and growth rates that exceed the budgets, storage footprint, and personnel resources needed to contain and manage them – especially over extended periods of time.  By 2020, storage growth will accelerate towards 40,000 exabytes and beyond, and avoiding exponential data will no longer be an option.

Creators and users of the largest data repositories on the planet are leading the response to exponential data.  The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), home to Blue Waters, the fastest supercomputer on a university campus and one of the most powerful in the world, recently added 20 PB of storage to its existing Spectra Logic T-Finity tape storage infrastructure.

Exponential data requires enormous scalability, performance, and reliability if it’s going to be harnessed productively.  The NCSA T-Finity deployment was originally designed to house up to 500 PB of data while reading or writing data to 244 TS1140 Technology Tape drives at an aggregate rate of 61 gigabytes per second.  This combination of tape library automation and tape drive performance provides NCSA the storage scale, performance, and reliability it needs while delivering an economically rational solution that would be impossible to achieve with disk.

By adding 20 PB of storage to its Spectra T-Finity libraries, NCSA is ensuring it can fully meet the exponential data requirements of its most demanding users.  For the scientists and researchers who depend upon the computing power and deep storage of the Blue Waters solution to model, design, and discover the most complex systems and theories known to mankind, NCSA and Spectra Logic have ensured that unchecked exponential data need not be cause for concern.  

For more information about NCSA’s Spectra Logic solution, visit:

Behind the Curtain: Why Spectra Archives the UK's Largest Supercomputer

The age of unlimited data is certainly upon us.  Data stores in the Petabyte range are becoming common and Exabyte configurations are not unheard of.  Consequently, the need to store, manage, protect, retrieve and use data at these scales quickly, efficiently and reliably has never been greater.

Storage vendors are being pressed to meet these needs across a variety of applications and use cases.  Fortunately for data users, Spectra Logic is answering the call and doing so with Enterprise Class libraries in a smaller footprint.  The United Kingdom’s fastest super computer, a Cray XC30 system was chosen for the Advanced Research Computing High End Resource (ARCHER) project, conducting 1,367 Tera-FLOPs, at the University of Edinburgh’s Parallel Computing Centre is an example in which Spectra’s T380 Enterprise Library was a perfect fit. If you missed it, see the press release issued earlier this week.

The performance and capacity requirements of a supercomputer application such as ARCHER require storage solutions to be easy to manage, scalable, economical and highly reliable.  If they don’t provide those qualities, they can divert valuable resources and attention from the truly important tasks of high quality research like that enabled by ARCHER.

Spectra’s focus on delivering tape solutions that meet these requirements is long-standing.  The T380  Enterprise Library’s BlueScale management interface makes administrative tasks seamless and simple while providing the data integrity, and hardware and media health checking services required to ensure long-term reliability of the data generated by ARCHER.   In addition, the T380’s high density, TeraPack architecture gives the ARCHER team unlimited growth potential serving them well into the future.  These enterprise attributes, packaged in a smaller library form factor, were ideal for a high performance user like ARCHER.

Capacity, speed, manageability, efficiency and economics are driving factors for supercomputing environments like ARCHER that create new knowledge and further all manner of valuable research projects.  Storage solutions supporting these efforts should ensure that users achieve the objectives they set.  The Spectra Logic T380 Enterprise Library was weighed, measured and found ideal for supporting the University of Edinburgh’s Parallel Computing Centre and the ARCHER project’s goals.

On The Road Again: nTier Verde Road Show

I spent the past few months traveling across the country to introduce Spectra Logic’s newest nTier Verde disk-based file storage system to the marketplace. The nTier Verde was created to provide simply affordable file storage for long-term backup and archiving needs and is available in two models, Verde 2U and Verde 4U, ranging in sizes from 24TB up to 1.7 PB of raw storage.

The purpose of the road show was to give our existing and future customers, as well as key VARS, VS integrators and partners, a first-hand look at the system and help them better understand the simplicity, value and experience of the nTier Verde.  Many were impressed with the product’s ease of use and liked that we have disk and tape to offer as an integrated backup and archiving solution.

The road show was a success, and here’s a snapshot of the stats:

  • 3 months
  • 23 cities
  • Hundreds of attendees and new Verde registrations
  • 13,852 miles and 0 accidents or tickets

I met some great people and was able to effectively demonstrate the value of nTier Verde first-hand in numerous locations. In addition to the business part of my trip, I have a few other observations and words of wisdom for anyone else planning a cross country road trip:

  • Peacocks roam free along the interstates in Florida.  Seriously, I saw a peacock spreading her feathers 10 feet from the edge of the freeway!
  • Snowstorms are for real in April in DC!
  • Phoenix has a really good tattoo artist.
  • It’s a long way across Texas no matter which direction you take!
  • The nTier Verde is as “rock solid” as we message it.  It can sustain a lot of abuse….I will not elaborate here, but trust me: it can take a licking and keep on ticking. 

For a real-world example of the new nTier Verde in action, check out this case study of Tandy Supercomputing Center who is using it to ease the load on their primary storage systems.

Professional Services Blog: Key Steps to a Successful Tape Library Installation

The systems engineers on Spectra Logic’s Professional Services team have many responsibilities from project management, to pre-sales activities and post-sales activities.  When it comes to post-sales activities, one of the biggest responsibilities is performing hardware installations of our tape libraries at customer sites.

Below is a checklist of requirements end users should ensure vendors offer when they are shopping for a tape library. This is designed as a resource to know what to expect and a reference through the installation process of your new hardware.

  • Vendor provides dedicated point of contact in support, sales and shipping.
  • Thorough site survey to outline all aspects about your unique architecture.
  • Pre-arrival discussion to outline everything from physical clearance for the install, power requirements, switch configurations, HBA configurations, network connectivity, and logistics. 
  • Upon arrival on site, vendor will perform an inventory check to ensure all appropriate items have been shipped.
  • Conduct the physical installation of the equipment using laser levelers to confirm that the equipment is installed with within tolerance of slope and alignment.

Spectra Professional Services team conducts a customer installation


  • Equipment will be evaluated to verify that code levels, host, drivers and firmware are up to date. 
  • Run an overnight test and conduct performance tuning and adjustments.
  • Host integration and burn testing.  This process is typically conducted overnight for the engineer to have a baseline of logs for the next day.
  • Training over the remote management and the hardware will occur the second day.  This training will cover all aspects of the BlueScale interface along with all FRU parts replacement.    
  • When the installation is complete, the customer should receive a trip report summary of activities completed by the installing engineer outlining all items performed during the install and recommendations for their records.

At Spectra Logic, we give this attention to detail in our thorough, methodical installation process for all products to ensure exceptional customer satisfaction.  We take pride in providing the best professional services support for our customers and will go the extra mile to ensure the success of the implementation.

If you have any questions for Spectra Logic Professional Services, please email us at, or call us at 1-800-833-1132.

EMC World 2014: A Sure Bet for Spectra Logic

Last week, we attended our third EMC World in Las Vegas since becoming an EMC Select (Technology Connect) partner in the beginning of 2012. In comparison to past events, this year’s EMC World proved to be our best to date by yielding higher quality, deeper and more candid conversations with storage decision makers, better attendance at our presentations in the EMC Technology Connect booth, and an award that might surprise you.

EMC World kicked off with an extremely good vibe for Spectra Logic as we joined other EMC Technology Connect partners in the Technology Connect booth for their award ceremony on Monday night. It was an extremely proud moment for Spectra Logic when, out of 46 Select Business Partners, we were asked to come up and receive the first award of the night, “EMC Technology Connect Select Partner of the Year!”

As the week progressed, I had two opportunities to present in the Technology Connect booth on “Tiered Storage in the Data Center.” These presentations were even more well attended than the presentations I gave in their booth last year and they teed-up some great dialogue with the attendees afterwards.

Spectra Logic presenting at EMC World 2014

In comparison to the last two years of attending EMC World, more and more booth visitors were already familiar with Spectra Logic. This year, as the quality of our booth conversations improved, we were able engage in much deeper discussions about the storage needs of the attendees and how tape fits into today’s data center infrastructures.

All in all, it was a good week for Spectra Logic. Even if you gambled at the casino tables and lost, it would be hard not to leave Las Vegas feeling like a winner when you are recognized as “Partner of the Year” by a storage powerhouse like EMC!

Annual Bring Your Child to Work Day is A Success!

Once a year the children of the Spectra Logic team get a glimpse into what their parents do all day long at work. At this year's Bring Your Child to Work Day, 65 kids attended and were treated to a day of education and memorable experiences. Some of the highlights included:

A fire safety demonstration

Bring Your Kids to Work Day Image 1

A tour of the Spectra Logic facility

Bring Your Kids to Work Day Image 2

A game room break

Bring Your Kids to Work Day Image 3

CommVault Deal Significantly Lowers the Cost of Data Protection, Management and Access

This week we announced that Spectra Logic has joined forces with CommVault to significantly lower the cost of data protection, management and access. We also announced our certification as a CommVault Technology Alliance Partner.

We are excited to work closely with CommVault to bring customers a joint solution that removes the complexities of tiered storage and provides organizations with a powerful, simplified approach to managing massive amounts of information. This is particularly helpful as organizations worldwide deal with the challenges of cost-effectively managing and protecting data for longer, often indefinite periods of time.

Spectra's nTier Verde disk storage solution delivers simply affordable file storage, and was designed from the ground up as a backup and archive storage platform. When paired with the versatility and capabilities of CommVault Simpana, the user experiences benefits of an optimized disk platform for nearline backup and archive without the costs associated with typical Tier 1 or Tier 2 storage options.

In addition, Spectra's T-Series Tape Libraries are another joint solution option with CommVault Simpana and provide an additional dense, low cost storage tier for long-term data retention. These joint solutions have been tested and validated as part of the Technology Alliance Partner program and are supported by both companies.

Managing and storing massive amounts of data continues to be a challenge for many organizations. For more than 30 years, Spectra Logic has maintained its commitment to helping companies address their data storage challenges with innovative, cost-effective solutions—and our new CommVault partnership gives us new options with which to support our customers' current and future needs.

For more information, view the full Spectra Logic-CommVault press release here.

Tape Stronger Than Ever at 2014 NAB Show

Another great NAB Show is in the books. The show was one of the best for Spectra Logic with a lot of enthusiasm around our nTier Verde, tape systems, and new products.

The energy and appetite for low cost archive storage was at an all time high driven by 4K, and 8K content, greater frame rates, and the continuous explosion of new media. Storage tiering was talked about heavily as people had to focus on cost effective ways to manage their growth. As a result, it was clear that tape is stronger than ever!

Spectra Logic Booth at NAB Trade Show

One theme that was prevalent was market consolidation. Whether it's Belden buying Grass Valley, who had already acquired Miranda who had already gobbled up Omnibus, or Harris Broadcast splitting off to become Imagine Communications, or Masstech acquiring PlayBox to expand their portfolio and deepen their stronghold on workflow automation and Playout in the commercial TV space. The consolidation trend seems to be picking up steam and not subsiding so we expect the mergers and acquisitions to continue.

Surprisingly, one thing that was talked about less this year than the past couple years was the use of cloud. While Amazon had a big presence at the show, folks visiting the Spectra Logic booth didn't talk much about cloud as an option, at least not as a replacement for their in-house archives. For better or worse, more adoption or less, the cloud craze seems to be dying down a little. Its place in the market appears to be settling in with more understanding of its benefits and pitfalls.

Overall, it was a great show for Spectra Logic and we look forward to seeing what surprises the next year brings!

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