StorageReview-SpectraLogic-ArcticBlueA few days ago I attended Spectrasummit, the annual event that Spectra Logic organizes for analysts, journalists and bloggers. It’s my third year in a row at this event and I have to say that it has always been worthwhile.

A (different) tape company

Tape vendors are very few in number now: Oracle (StorageTek), IBM and Spectra Logic (anyone else?). The market is quite static and the only thing that actually happens each other year is a new tape generation (just more space and throughput)… and that’s it.

Spectra does have some interesting products though, like the Tfinity which is a particular tape library that can be “scaled-out” and become huge (and I mean really huge!), while occupying less floor space than comparable configurations from the competition. And, at this level tape is all about efficiency and savings.

Tape libraries are still Spectra’s most substantial source of revenue, but the company is evolving year after year into something much more compelling than a tape library vendor.

Beyond tape

Computer backup tapes for data recoveryTwo years ago Spectra presented a really interesting product: BlackPearl. It’s an appliance capable of exposing a tape-optimized S3-compatible interface, transforming their tape libraries in a sort of Object store for long term storage. Brilliant!

The product was immature at the beginning. But it has evolved and a lot of features, caching mechanisms and high availability have been added making it a very powerful and robust solution.

This year they put the icing on the cake with the introduction of ArcticBlue, a high density array with a set of particular features (including a hard disk power down functionality and erasure coding ) aimed to provide high power efficiency and longevity while maintaining the best possible availability and resiliency. And again, this is integrated with BlackPearl.

The deep storage company

Calling Spectra Logic just a tape library company is pretty unfair now. They are one of the few deep storage companies out there (the only one with an end-to-end solution maybe) and they are building a strong line-up of products to do that.
The profound knowledge they have about libraries and tapes (a media that can last 25/30 years) put them in a unique position to develop next generation products like BlackPearl or ArcticBlue. In fact, the list of partners leveraging their technology is quite long now and they can easily play as a second tier for all those OBS vendors out there with Tiering-to-the-cloud capabilities (HDS HCP, NetApp StorageGRID, Cloudian Hyperstore and so on).

With a full featured Object Storage platform in the front-end and Spectra Logic at the back-end it’s not difficult to build a competitive on-premises Glacier-like infrastructure for cold data.

Bottom line

iceberg with underwater viewSpectra Logic is a very interesting company and I like them! Humble and brilliant, capable of being competitive and innovative in a very conservative market where the other players are Oracle and IBM (with all the leverage they have on their customers!)
Their vision regarding deep storage is quite complete and their product line-up is growing very well. I could describe it as “exciting” if it weren’t for the fact that we’re talking about cold storage here 😉 (ok, I know I’m not good with jokes).

Disclaimer: I was invited to this meeting by Spectra Logic and they paid for travel and accommodation, I have not been compensated for my time and am not obliged to blog. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or edited by any other person than the Juku team.