Expanding Use Cases Mean Tape Storage is Here to Stay

On today’s episode of “The Interview” with The Next Platform we talk about the past, present, and future of tape storage with industry veteran Matt Starr.

Starr is CTO at tape giant, Spectra Logic and has been with the company for almost twenty-five years. He was the lead engineer and architect forthe design and production of Spectra’s enterprise tape library family, which is still a core product.

We talk about some of the key evolutions in tape capacity and access speeds over the course of his career before moving into where the new use cases at massive scale are. In addition to some of the largest supercomputing sites, Spectra has also seen momentum in other areas including media and entertainment, which has found an interesting way to adapt processes for film to digital using tape along the way.

Most of our conversation (player below) is focused on the market for tape as it applies to HPC, hyperscale, and enterprise but we also talk about how the company is keeping up with trends in data, including providing large backup for machine learning and AI use cases and ever-faster access times for cold and warm storage.

We touch on a recent expansion to its family of automated tape offerings with the introduction of two new tape library products. These products include the all-new Spectra Stack, a scalable, modular and affordable tape library that allows users to start with a single tape drive and 10 tape slots, growing incrementally as their data needs increase, and the new Spectra T950v Tape Library, an entry-level model of the higher-end Spectra T950 Tape Library family. The company announced that all Spectra tape libraries — up to and including the new T950v — can now be deployed with lower-cost half-height Fibre or SAS LTO tape drives.

In addition, Spectra plans to offer RoCE 10Gigabit Ethernet connectivity with its IBM TS1155 tape drives for Ethernet tape library integration in Spectra’s T380, T950, T950v and TFinity ExaScale Tape Libraries, allowing customers to use their existing Ethernet infrastructure without investing in additional hardware, something Starr says will be most important for their cloud customers.

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