Spectra upgrades deduplication appliances

By Dave Simpson

 -- Spectra Logic today announced enhancements to its nTier line of disk-based deduplication appliances, as well as enhancements to its BlueScale tape management software.

Known primarily as a tape library manufacturer, Spectra Logic began shipping its nTier disk-based backup appliances about two years ago, and added data deduplication functionality about a year ago. The company's data deduplication technology is based on FalconStor Software's deduplication engine, coupled with management software from Spectra.

New features in the nTier line of appliances include policy-based remote site replication and, via BlueScale management software, automated migration of replicated data to tape under a single policy. This eliminates the manual steps of setting different policies for replication and migration to tape, according to Molly Rector, Spectra Logic's vice president of product management and marketing. Both the disk and tape elements can be managed by BlueScale software.

The company also improved scalability by enabling users to start with 10TB of capacity and add capacity in 10TB increments, eliminating the need for box swaps. The nTier appliances are based on a blade architecture, with 10TB per blade on 1TB SATA drives. Users can scale the appliances up to 60TB.

Base pricing for an nTier500 v80 deduplication appliance starts at $23,500.

On the tape side, in conjunction with BlueScale 10.6 enhancements, Spectra Logic added some features designed to take tape libraries closer to the reliability standards set by RAID arrays. For example, the company added support for global spare tape drives with remote failover – similar to "hot spare" drives in RAID arrays – a feature that is unique in the tape library market. The spare drive can be shared across multiple virtual library partitions.

Spectra also introduced Hardware Lifecycle Management (HLM), which automatically identifies hardware problems in tape libraries. In addition to tape drives, this encompasses serviceable components such as robotics, enter/exit ports, and power supplies.

The company also enhanced its Media Lifecycle Management (MLM) module with features such as auto-discovery and cataloging of new media. MLM monitors the health of tape media, based in part on information included on LTO tape cartridges.

Rector claims that the MLM and HLM combination can reduce tape backup failures by more than 90%.

Related articles:
Managing tape is no longer an oxymoron
Lab Review: Turning the tables on data deduplication
Nexsan, FalconStor debut data deduplication system

This article was originally published on August 25, 2009