Posts Tagged ‘LTFS’

Spectra Logic Joins the LTO-8 Advance Party

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

 Today, Spectra Logic announced a tape technology “pre-purchase” program that provides customers with LTO-7 tape drives and media for use until LTO-8 technology becomes available.  The customer goes to the head of the line and will be the first to receive the new drives when they begin shipping.

According to the announcement from the Boulder, CO-based storage stalwart:

“LTO-8 tape technology doubles the capacity of LTO-7 to an astonishing 30 TB compressed (12TB native) per cartridge, and improves performance by 20 percent, up to 360MB/sec. The additional capacity equates to fewer tape cartridges required to store the same amount of data while the performance boost translates into the need for fewer tape drives to do the same amount of work. In addition, the new LTO-8 drives are backward compatible with LTO-7 tape media, allowing users to read/write any LTO-7 media.”

“Once available, LTO-8 tape drives and media will ship with Spectra’s entire line of tape libraries and be fully compatible with Spectra’s BlueScale® library software. When fully populated with LTO-8 drives and media, all of Spectra’s tape libraries, including its most compact, the Spectra® T50e Tape Library, will support at least one petabyte of compressed storage capacity. The Spectra TFinity® ExaScale® Tape Library configured with LTO-8 will deliver 58PB of compressed storage capacity in a three-frame footprint and up to 1.6EB of compressed storage capacity in Spectra’s largest configuration of 44 frames. In addition, LTO-8 tape technology will support LTFS, WORM and AES 256-bit hardware encryption.”

We are delighted to see the swirl of interest around tape technology and we liked an infographic that Spectra created in time for its announcement.  Here is a copy in PDF format. 

LTO8 Infographic

Alternatively, you can DOWNLOAD infographic directly from the company website and REGISTER for a free webinar to be held on 2 November while you are there.

Thanks, Spectra Logic, for sharing the news with us.


NOTE:  At Spectra Logic’s request, the background tape library in the Mona Lisa pic above has been changed from a Quantum Scalar to a Spectra Logic T-Finity frame.  Thanks, Leigh G., for pointing out the dissonance that may have been caused by the image.

Archive is Tape’s Killer App

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

Today’s announcements from IBM around LTO-8 tape technology found receptive ears here.  We got an advanced briefing in Tucson, AZ from four of IBM’s big tape brains and the conversation turned to the “killer app” that they saw sustaining tape in this age of silicon storage.  In a word, the unanimous response was “data archiving.”

Here’s the word straight from the experts:



Thanks again to IBM and to our great interviewees.  We obviously share your enthusiasm for storage sanity and tape technology.  By the way, the Data Management Institute is revising and updating its Archive Boot Camp program for presentation online with Virtualization Review in November.  Stand by for more details, or have a look at the Data Management Institute website (rebooting today) for information about our Certified Data Archive Professional (CDAP) training program.

Cloud and Tape: Together at Last

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

If you thought that clouds were supposed to kill tape, think again.  Cloud and tape are fast becoming BFFs, and your cloud storage services bill will benefit from the relationship how long does viagra last 50 mg.

That’s according to IBM.  Big Blue invited us out to Tucson, AZ to get a first look at their new LTO-8 tape drive and to learn about other tape innovations that were being driven to a great extent by cloud service provider requests.  Hear it from IBM’s tape braintrust here.


Thanks again to Calline, Lee, Tony and Ed for their time and their insights!

IBM Says Tape Is Required to Handle Zettabytes of New Data

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

We’ve been talking about a coming Zettabyte Apocalypse for awhile now.  Cloud operators tell us that they are very concerned about how they will store all the bits — given the manufacturing limitations of current flash and disk storage vendors.  Tape, it appears, is an important part of the solution.

IBM offers enterprise tape, aka Jaguar, but today it is talking about the next generation of LTO technology, LTO-8.  Per the roadmap:

Here is the opening part of our meeting with IBM big brains in Tucson, AZ.  Big Blue allowed us to record the meeting for all to see.  We published the full 20 minute version in the previous post.  Now, we will publish individual segments for those with time constraints.

Special thanks to IBM for this opportunity to pick their brains.


IBM Announces LTO-8 Tape Drive

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

We heard that IBM was going to jump ahead with LTO-8 technology — even while LTO-7 was still selling briskly.  Curious to understand the reasoning, we jetted off to the IBM Executive Briefing Center in Tucson, AZ to chat with some of the industry’s brightest about tape innovations and technologies.  We weren’t disappointed.

Here is the long version of our report.  In subsequent posts, we will provide shorter clips for those with limited time (or attention spans).  This video is copyrighted to the Data Management Institute (DMI), whose website reboot goes live today.


Special thanks to our IBM experts for their participation and contributions to this video, which is also being posted on DMI.

Vblogs from the Edge: The Only Solution to the Zpocalypse – Tape

Monday, October 31st, 2016

zpocalypse2Just in time for Halloween, long time friend Ed Childers, who also happens to be IBM’s LTFS Lead Architect and Tape Development Manager, agreed to be interviewed at this year’s IBM Edge 2016.  Ed caught us up on all things tape, from the realization (finally) of the long predicted Renaissance in tape technology to the latest developments in tape-augmented flash and disk storage.  Have to admit it, Ed is my brother from another mother.

Childers has been doing a Rodney Dangerfield impersonation for the last could of years — tape just wasn’t getting the respect it deserved from the user community or the industry.  But with the “zettabyte apocalypse” around the corner, tape is suddenly very sexy.

Regular readers will recall that the zpocalypse to which we refer isn’t a Halloween novelty, it is real.  According to leading analysts, we are expecting between 10 and 60 zettabytes (1 zettabyte = 1000 exabytes) of new data to hit our combined storage infrastructures by 2020.  This has cloud farmers and large data center operators quite concerned.  Back of envelop math says that only about 500 exabytes of capacity per year can be manufactured by all flash chip makers collectively, while output from disk makers hovers somewhere around 780 exabytes per year.  Taken together, that totals less than 2 percent of the capacity required at the upper limit of projected data growth.



The only way that we will possibly meet the demand for more storage is by using tape.  With 220 TB LTO Ultrium cartridges within striking distance, smart cloud and data center operators are already exploring and deploying tape technology again.  Ed is now officially the guy who women want to meet and men want to be.  Here are some of his observations.


Thanks, Ed Childers, for taking the time to chat with us.  And thank you to IBM for inviting us to attend Edge 2016 and for allowing us to use some of the availability of your best and brightest in these video blogs.

For the record, IBM covered the costs for our attendance at IBM Edge 2016 and they gave us a small stipend for live tweeting their general sessions.  The content of these video blogs and other opinions on this post are ours exclusively.

For those who are not familiar with our take on the zpocalypse, here is a refresher, staring Barry M. Ferrite…


And here is the follow-on video…



Thanks again to Ed and to IBM. Great show, that IBM Edge!


Cloud vs Tape? Says who? Hybrid Clouds Leverage Tape and LTFS

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

cloud-bubble-popsTo all of the pundits, analysts and vendors of disk and flash who once again claim that tape is dead, killed this time by cloud, I want you all to take a deep breath.  Hold it for a second.  Release it.  Repeat three or four times.

Then watch the video interview below with Shawn Brume and Ed Childers of IBM.  These guys know something about tape and its continuing role — especially with respect to hybrid clouds.  Just give them a listen and don’t just use the time to think up your nonsensical responses.  The facts are the facts:  we need a storage ecosystem if we are going to deliver even half of the promise of cloud service delivery models.



This video interview was shot at IBM Interconnect 2016, where IBM paid for my expenses as a guest blogger. I was also compensated for tweeting at sessions during the show, but this video interview, the questions asked and the edited final were all my own work. IBM was not involved with my video work.


Thanks to Shawn and Ed for giving a comprehensive overview of the continuing role of tape in hybrid cloud environments. You guys are the best!

Virtual Archival Gateways Have Arrived, Ask Barry

Monday, December 7th, 2015

The latest from Barry M. Ferrite, the rise of the archival storage gateway as a virtual machine…



Don’t be a storage girly man.

Erik Eyberg Talks IBM Storage Strategy (Repost with corrections)

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

IBM_Edge_Upcoming_ImageThis is a repost of a previously posted interview with Erik Eyeberg, made as a correction to the previous blog that mislabeled Erik as Erik and Eyberg as Eyeberg.  He noted the discrepancy in an email on Friday and was so darned kind about it, my sense of guilt about my oversight was raised to an intolerable level.  We have corrected the incorrect reference both here and in the video clips below and regret the error.

The video interview was shot at Edge 2015.  This was my fourth IBM Edge event, if memory serves, and my third opportunity to get together with Mr. Eyberg, who came over to IBM with the acquisition of his former employer, Texas Memory Systems, and who has in a comparatively short period of time been promoted through the ranks. He has ditched the nerd glasses and hair cut he sported when I first met him for a more Benedict Cumberbatch look (well, that is what my daughters said when we were editing his video interview!), but he is still geek through and through.

And now, his business cards identify him as the Manager of World Wide Enterprise Storage Strategy and Business Development: a hefty title for a truly smart guy who has stepped almost effortlessly into his new and expanded role. It was a great pleasure to chat with him about IBM’s current technology and future directions. Here is part 1 of our interview, in which Eyberg sets the context, then ramps up a discussion of flash storage technology and the fit it is finding within business enterprises.

But wait, there’s more. We venture away from the evangelism of flash technology to discuss in Part 2 of the interview the lingering concerns that many folks (including me) have regarding the oversell of flash as a panacea and the problems created by memory wear and uneven performance. Erik’s point of view is interesting…

Eyberg makes a coherent case for IBM’s diversification in terms of storage offerings between “boxed” (conventional arrays) and “un-boxed” (software-defined storage) offerings. I liked his sensible discussion of unified management and REST near the end of the clip. It is good to know that IBM is still pursuing RESTful management tools for its kit. Look for RESTful management of the DS8000 series array with the release of version 7.5 of the array’s firmware.

On to the final part. Here is where Erik finishes his thoughts on RESTful management and what it will take for everything to be REST enabled for unified management (he seems dubious that this will happen). Then, he and I talk about tape technology, then about the future of storage from IBM’s perspective. Fascinating stuff.

Once again, special thanks to Erik Eyberg for agreeing to this interview (and to Lizbeth Ramirez Letechipia and company for helping me to round up Erik for this interview and for helping to get the clip approved by IBM).

For the record, this is one of several interviews I conducted at IBM Edge in exchange for room, board, transport, and free attendance at the event. I was also compensated for delivering five sessions at Tech Ed as part of the show.sessions at Tech Ed as part of the show.

Tape in 2015: Still a Comer

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

do_not_feed_the_trolls_postcards-rc11657f3a8814c29ba16a55e6792edf4_vgbaq_8byvr_512I recently read a blog at Storage Switzerland that got me a little aggravated.  Even more aggravating is the fact that my recent switchover from BlackBerry to a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 “phablet” left behind my link to the irritating piece.  I have been all over George’s site, he is the proprietor of Storage Switzerland, and can’t find the blog.  I only know that it had something to do with tape and backup and possibly clouds and made some assertions I couldn’t abide.  Oh well, we shall blog war another time, Mr. Crump.  But I still want to offer some thoughts here about tape.

I noted a couple of posts back that Wayne Tolliver’s ShockSense was pretty cool tape technology — for those who didn’t watch the video, Wayne has patented a little sensor that adds on to the bar code label on a tape cartridge and provides a visual indicator when a tape has been dropped or otherwise shocked.  That is cool because, if implemented, it could eliminate the one remaining rational complaint about tape today:  the propensity of users to employ tapes that have been damaged due to improper handling, especially when the user is unaware that the mishandling has occurred.  IMHO, Tolliver is on to something with relevance not only to tape but to any kind of shock-sensitive merchandise — a simple indication of a potential issue so that remediation can be taken.

I was talking to Rich Gadomski at Fujifilm the other day and we agreed that tape made a lot of inroads into the marketplace last year.  Rich is always a wealth of information, and he didn’t disappoint this time.  He alerted me to a document that dropped in December, while I was down with the flu, from the Tape Storage Council.  It summarized the two trends that were fueling tape technology’s current renaissance and future prospects.  I found it an interesting read and wanted you to have the chance to see it here.  The proper approach would be to just link to the Tape Storage Council website and have you go there to download the document.  HERE IS THAT LINK.  (Note that this page would not open for me just now when I went there.  The site may be down for maintenance.)

The other option is to make it easy for you to download and read from my blog.  I hope this is okay with the Tape Storage Council, as I did not ask their permission.


2014 Tape Storage Council Memo_FINAL

I  have nits to pick with a reference or two in the document, but it provides a pretty complete summary of tape capabilities and economics that provide the technology with a long runway going forward in smart IT shops.  (I wish they would lose the references to the widely discredited Digital Universe study by IDC.  Truth be told, the growth of new digital data doesn’t drive squat.  It is the failure to manage that data, or to adopt infrastructure that replicates that data an obscene number of times, that drives storage capacity demand.)

But I digress.  The document summarizes some announcements deemed to be milestones by the Council members.  These included:

  •  On Sept. 16, 2013 Oracle Corp announced the StorageTek T10000D enterprise tape drive. Features of the T10000D include an 8.5 TB native capacity and data rate of 252 MB/s native. The T10000D is backward read compatible with all three previous generations of T10000 tape drives.
  • On Jan. 16, 2014 Fujifilm Recording Media USA, Inc. reported it has manufactured over 100 million LTO Ultrium data cartridges since its release of the first generation of LTO in 2000. This equates to over 53 thousand petabytes (53 exabytes) of storage and more than 41 million miles of tape, enough to wrap around the globe 1,653 times.
  • April 30, 2014, Sony Corporation independently developed a soft magnetic under layer with a smooth interface using sputter deposition, created a nano-grained magnetic layer with fine magnetic particles and uniform crystalline orientation. This layer enabled Sony to successfully demonstrate the world’s highest areal recording density for tape storage media of 148 GB/in2. This areal density would make it possible to record more than 185 TB of data per data cartridge.
  • On May 19, 2014 Fujifilm in conjunction with IBM successfully demonstrated a record areal data density of 85.9 Gb/in2 on linear magnetic particulate tape using Fujifilm’s proprietary NANOCUBIC™ and Barium Ferrite (BaFe) particle technologies. This breakthrough in recording density equates to a standard LTO cartridge capable of storing up to 154 terabytes of uncompressed data, making it 62 times greater than today’s current LTO-6 cartridge capacity and projects a long and promising future for tape growth.
  • On Sept. 9, 2014 IBM announced LTFS LE version 2.1.4 4 extending LTFS (Linear Tape File System) tape library support.
  • On Sept. 10, 2014 the LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (TPCs), HP, IBM and Quantum, announced an extended roadmap which now includes LTO generations 9 and 10. The new generation guidelines call for compressed capacities of 62.5 TB for LTO-9 and 120 TB for generation LTO-10 and include compressed transfer rates of up to 1,770 MB/second for LTO-9 and a 2,750 MB/second for LTO-10. Each new generation will include read-and-write backwards compatibility with the prior generation as well as read compatibility with cartridges from two generations prior to protect investments and ease tape conversion and implementation.
  • On Oct. 6, 2014 IBM announced the TS1150 enterprise drive. Features of the TS1150 include a native data rate of up to 360 MB/sec versus the 250 MB/sec native data rate of the predecessor TS1140 and a native cartridge capacity of 10 TB compared to 4 TB on the TS1140. LTFS support was included.
  • On Nov. 6, 2014, HP announced a new release of StoreOpen Automation that delivers a solution for using LTFS in automation environments with Windows OS, available as a free download. This version complements their already existing support for Mac and Linux versions to help simplify integration of tape libraries to archiving solutions.

Reading this list, I found myself recalling the scene from Ghostbusters (which was also re-released in theatres on Labor Day Weekend in 2014) after the team uses their proton packs and believes that they have destroyed Gozer:

Dr Ray Stantz: We’ve neutronized it, you know what that means? A complete particle reversal.
Winston Zeddemore: We have the tools, and we have the talent.
Dr. Peter Venkman: It’s Miller time!

So much for that little insight on my misspent youth.  Bottom line:  tape is looking pretty good these days, which is why it kind of irritates me when (1) tape is conflated with backup and (2) when the statement is made that tape is giving way to clouds.  Here’s the rub.

Tape and backup are two different things.  Just because backups have often been made to tape media doesn’t mean that the problems of backup have much to do with tape technology.  Backup was always a flawed enterprise:  backup software vendors were trying to automate the solution to data protection (data loss or corruption owing to any number of causes) and ran into just about every hurdle ever imagined.  Servers were too busy to run a data replication process, or to serve data up over an I/O port.  Applications, when operating, didn’t allow data to be copied at all.  Lots of servers introduced a need to superstream data to the tape target, and as shorter tape jobs finished, the superstream unraveled, extending the time required to take the backup.  Data could not be submitted to the tape drive at the jitter-free and persistant clip that the drive wanted.  The list goes on.  None of these things had anything to do with tape, but with the backup application and the way it interoperated with the production environment.  Conflating the two makes me mad.

Truth is, today you don’t need backup software.  Oops.  I said it.  With LTFS from IBM, you could just copy the entire file system directly to tape media without specialty backup containers.  With object storage, you could simply write object name and metadata into one track of a tape and the corresponding data to another track — LTFS on steroids.

Anyway, hating on backup has always been leveraged by the disk (and now some of the flash kids) to hate on tape technology, much in the way that VMware blamed hosted application workload performance issues on “legacy disk” — another assertion that fails the smell test.  It should stop and analysts need to stop taking money from disk guys to say that backup problems are due to the inadequacies of tape technology.

Cloud replacing tape is another bogus assertion.  For one thing, the industrial farmers of the cloud world — Amazon, Microsoft and Google — all use tape in the course of operating their storage clouds.  Google was reluctant to admit it for the longest time, but I heard a great presentation by one of their tape mavens at Fujifilm’s conference last September in NYC, and the guys at The Register did a great write-up on it. (HERE)

Moreover, there are now cloud storage services, including dternity, that specialize in using tape technology for cloud storage and archiving.  Officially announced at the NAB show in 2014, here is a video interview shot at that event…



I am planning to head out to NAB this year and to give a talk around tape.  I look forward to hooking up with the folks at Fujifilm, dternity and perhaps a few others to see what tape mongers will be bragging about this year.  For now, assertions that clouds kill tape are just as stupid as the other tape is dead lines we have heard throughout the years.

Watch this space.