Make Sure You Can Access Your Data 10 Years From Now

by Jason Bovberg
Apr 28, 2011

spectra_logic_tfinity Remember when Google recently had to pull Gmail account data from tape? In February, a small percentage of Gmail users had been logging on to their accounts and finding them empty. The good news was that the email was never lost—thanks to that old, faithful storage medium called tape. The truth is, the demise of tape has been greatly exaggerated. In fact, many argue that there's just no better way to store "Big Data."

According to Matt Starr, SpectraLogic's CTO, the amount of data stored on tape continues to surge, as massive and growing digital archive demands compel users to seek practical and economic ways to address escalating data volumes. Spectra Logic expects worldwide tape archive capacity to grow more than sixfold over the next five years—from just under 13 exabytes in 2010 to over 81 exabytes by 2015, driven by both new digital content and extended storage timelines.

"Tape is Big Data," says Starr in his article Big Data; Why Tape? "Eighty percent of the world’s data is stored on tape, and tape is the only media that can scale to exabyte(s) and still be cost effective. In fact, tape is the only cost-effective method of storing Big Data. Tape storage is denser than disk storage, costs less up-front and is 10 times less expensive to operate over time than a disk-based solution. I'm not implying that disk does not have a play in the Big Data world; it is just not well suited as the 'meat' of a storage environment."

But what about ensuring the integrity of data stored on tape for long periods of time—say, three, five, or even ten years? To that end, Spectra Logic has announced that it is offering free data integrity verification across its complete line of T-Series tape libraries from SME to Enterprise. Spectra’s BlueScale Data Integrity Verification for tape libraries is an industry first and an important long-term data reliability feature that ensures data written to tape is retrievable now and for years into the future. With Data Integrity Verification, Spectra’s tape libraries are the only tape storage systems on the market today that actively, automatically check the media and the data on tape throughout the storage life of the data.

"Organizations are retaining ever-expanding volumes of data to meet long-term business and compliance objectives, and are increasingly storing large amounts of data for extended periods of time. Storage of digital archive data can extend years or decades, and it is critical to ensure the enduring integrity and accessibility of that data. Spectra’s Data Integrity Verification provides organizations of all sizes the utmost confidence their backup and archive data will be readily available when needed, regardless of how long it has been stored."

Data Integrity Verification is a key new feature available in BlueScale 11.3, which powers Spectra Logic’s full line of tape libraries. Spectra Logic’s Data Integrity Verification improves system availability and data integrity by proactively performing background read verification passes of the tape media on a scheduled basis and reporting potentially latent failures. Spectra’s Data Integrity Verification includes three levels of fully automated validation:

  • PreScan—Checks newly imported tapes to ensure they are ready to use: for example, in good health, generationally compatible, and not write-protected.
  • QuickScan—Quickly and immediately verifies the backup and archive data was successfully written to tape with a rapid single pass from the beginning of the tape to the end of the first track.
  • PostScan—Automatically verifies the physical tape cartridge and the integrity of all of the data stored upon it. As with PreScan and QuickScan, the PostScan process is performed by the library and is independent of the backup application normally used to read and write data to the tape.

“Customer satisfaction and confidence in their backup and archive data is at the forefront of all we do,” said Molly Rector, vice president of product management and worldwide marketing, Spectra Logic. “Data Integrity Verification dramatically reduces risk, ensures enduring access to archived data and is fast becoming a data center requirement. Spectra Logic is pleased to offer it as a free upgrade, which reflects our strong commitment to providing customers the world’s best archive storage.”

Full enterprise-class capabilities including Data Integrity Verification are available immediately at no additional charge on all Spectra Logic tape libraries, including the Spectra T50e and T120, the Spectra T-Series Mid-Range T200, T380 and T680, and the enterprise class T950 and T-Finity. These capabilities are part of Spectra Logic’s BlueScale 11.3 management software, which powers Spectra’s full line of tape libraries. Visit the company website for details.

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