TAPE: Spectra revenue up 60%, Oracle ships 5TB drive

January 31, 2011 – We’ve seen some impressive financial reports from the storage sector over the last week or so, but Spectra Logic’s caught my eye. The company recently reported on the first half of its fiscal year, which ended December 31.
Bearing in mind that this a company that focuses primarily on tape libraries (although it also sells disk-based backup systems): Spectra Logic’s overall revenue grew 34% year-over-year, but the real shocker was that revenue from its enterprise tape library line (T-Finity and Spectra T950) grew a whopping 60% and unit shipments grew about 100%.

Revenue from Spectra Logic’s T50e and T120 tape libraries grew 54%, and the company’s total tape library and media revenues increased more than 50% year-over-year.

As I -- and many others -- have said many times before, reports of the death of tape have been greatly exaggerated.

Company officials cited increased demand for tape libraries in applications such as active archives and cloud computing as driving forces behind the revenue growth.

Spectra Logic also got a strong assist from its channel partners, where revenue increased 70% year over year.


Meanwhile, at the high end of the tape market, Oracle announced the T10000C tape drive, which has a native capacity of 5TB and a native transfer rate of 240MBps. That’s more than 3X the capacity of LTO-5 tape drives, and 1.7X the transfer rate of LTO-5 (which is by a long shot the most popular tape format today).

The T10000C drives are available with native 4Gbps Fibre Channel interfaces or native FICON interfaces for connection to mainframes. The drives include inline encryption that does not degrade the 240Mbps performance, according to Tom Wultich, Oracle’s director of product management for storage.

Integrating the T10000C drive (which carries an Oracle-Sun-StorageTek brand) into Oracle’s high-end tape libraries (the SL8500 and SL3000) enables users to scale to a native capacity of 500PB. Assuming 2:1 compression, which is fairly standard in the tape arena, users can scale to an exabyte.

If archives keep expanding at a blistering pace, we’ll have to get used to that term ‘exabyte,’ which is one quintillion bytes (and conjures up fond memories of the company that used to go by that name).

Related blog post:

Who says tape is dead?


posted by: Dave Simpson