Spectra Logic libraries scale to 180PB

By Dave Simpson

-- In case you thought that tape libraries were being relegated to small environments . . . Spectra Logic today took the wraps off a system that scales to 45PB per library, or 180PB in a library complex. Those capacities assume a library equipped with LTO-5 tape drives and cartridges, which aren't expected until April 2010. Initial versions of the library will be configured with LTO-4 tape drives and cartridges (or IBM TS1130 drives).

Spectra's T-Finity libraries compete primarily with tape libraries from IBM and Sun/STK, but Spectra Logic officials claim advantages in capacity, density, and power and cooling requirements.

For example, Spectra officials cite specs of 72TB per square foot, which is 71% more dense than IBM's TS3500 at 42TB per square foot and 44% more dense than Sun's SL8500 at 50TB per square foot. (Comparisons assume that the libraries are configured with LTO-5 tape drives and cartridges.)

Spectra's T-Finity can be configured with up to 30,000 slots per library (or 120,000 slots per library complex). That compares to 10,088 slots in Sun's SL8500.

And Spectra officials cite typical power usage of 873 watts, or 0.35 watts per TB, which is less than half of competing libraries that typically consume 1,273 to 1,798 watts, or 0.81 to 2 watts per TB. These comparisons assume a maximum slot configuration with 12 tape drives.

Standard features include data encryption and key management software; Spectra Lifecycle Management software, which provides management and reporting at the library, drive and media levels; ScanTape software, which verifies the health of tapes before writing data to them and then verifies that data was successfully written to the tape; and the company's BlueScale management software. Spectra Logic claims 99.99% availability on the libraries due to fully redundant components and control/communications paths.

Limited quantities of the T-Finity libraries will be available in December. List pricing starts at $218,500 for a configuration with two LTO-4 Fibre Channel tape drives, two robots, encryption, and the company's management software. (SAS and iSCSI interfaces will be available with LTO-5 drives.)

The libraries are compatible with most backup/archiving applications, including those from BakBone, CA, CommVault, Filetek, FrontPortch, IBM, EMC/Legato, MassTech, QStar, SGI, SGL, Symantec, and Syncsort.

Spectra will exhibit the T-Finity libraries at next week's Supercomputing 09 conference in Portland, OR.

Related articles:
Special Report: Managing tape is no longer an oxymoron
Lab Review: Reducing risk via lifecycle management for backup media

This article was originally published on November 10, 2009