The university consists of a heavily virtualised environment, providing over 450 servers to back up in central services, and it needed to create an archive and migrate less time-critical data to a tape library in order to free up costly primary storage.
After considering its options, the university did a trial run for a few months with the Spectra T200 tape library and then selected the T680 version due to its larger capacity, with 42 rack units providing up to 2PB of compressed storage with the LTO-5 tape drive and media technology deployed in the library.
The library also used StorHouse software from FileTek to move the data from primary disk storage to the active tape archive so that the data held on the library is always readily available.
The T-680 includes the advanced security technology that initially attracted the university to Spectra’s solutions, namely integrated BlueScale Encryption to provide added AES-256 bit security for stored data and the Media Lifecycle Management feature. Media Lifecycle Management records more than 40 data points every time a tape is loaded, giving vital statistical and diagnostic information so that integrity of the data on the tapes can be ensured and easily managed.
Post installation, the University of Bristol is migrating data into its active archive to help offload the primary storage and to more efficiently manage backups. In addition, the extra capacity afforded by the tape libraries will enable the university to scale to multiple petabytes in the same footprint in the future.
The education track was excellent. I spent a majority of the three days attending the sessions, most of which were full or close to full throughout the day. From these sessions and conversations with attendees, a few topics and trends emerged including:
Cloud Interface Technologies. Evolving cloud interface technologies that allow movement of data between clouds.
SSD Hybrid Systems. SSD market is needing a few SSD-only appliances, and the true differentiation and larger demand for SSD-storage is in hybrid systems.
Data Growth. How to architect to deal with rapid unstructured data growth.
Molly also points us to this video from the conference, which is a parody of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. Backup has never been so catchy.
Over at The Register, Chris Mellor writes that IBM is developing an LTO-6 tape cartridge technology with an amazing 125 Terabytes of storage capacity.
There is a prospect here of the LTFS file:folder tape interface combining with a 100TB or more tape cartridges to provide a highly attractive and dense storage medium for businesses needing access to lots of large files, such as high-definition videos and other large data sets that individuals need to work on. With LTFS and such tape cartridge capacities, the notion that tape could be an individual or small workgroup’s backup medium could perhaps be re-evaluated.