Posts from category "Storage Management Blog"

LTO-8 Rising

With so many pre-announcements of LTO-8 tape technologies and products crossing the transom, some of the actual LTO-8 standard specifications appeared to be getting lost in the shuffle.  Here, from the Linear Tape Open Program team directly, is the state of the LTO-8 technology and community.

What are the “final” LTO 8 specs?

·         Final specs are as follows: 


o   The new LTO generation 8 specifications are designed to double the tape cartridge capacity from the previous LTO generation 7, with customers now being able to store up to 30TB per cartridge when compressed, 12 TB native


o   The latest LTO generation 8 specifications are intended to be backwards read and write compatible with LTO generation 7 cartridges.


o   Full-height transfer rate (native) up to 360 MBps 


o   Half-height transfer rate (native) up to 300 MBps


o   Please feel free to reference the official release


What color will the cartridge be?

  • Color will be determined by manufacturer 

What companies are still involved in manufacturing tape solutions?  I am interviewing Quantum now, and have spoken to IBM and Spectra Logic.  Am I missing any system manufacturers?

  • HPE, IBM and Quantum are the three Technology Provider Companies, or TPCs, and all three provide tape solutions.
  • The companies listed below are current LTO Format Specification Participants that have delivered LTO compatible products and components. Companies listed with an asterisk are compliance verified manufacturers that have passed the compliance verification requirements to sell LTO Ultrium branded tape drives and cartridges.
  • Atmel
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise*
  • IBM*
  • Imation
  • Maxell
  • Mountain Engineering
  • NXP Semiconductors
  • Quantum*
  • Sony*
  • Spectra Logic
  • TDK
  • Teijin Dupont Film
  • Toray Industries

 Is it true that only IBM is making drives?  

  • All three TPCs contribute to the technology and IP behind the format and design of the drives.
  • Drives are systems made from many different components, and these components come from multiple sources.
  • Synergies in the market have consolidated resources and for LTO-8 it is IBM that puts those components together, the other TPCs and LTO providers test and integrate these drives into their systems and develop value-add features to create competitive solutions that keep the market open to competition.

What about media:  anyone manufacturing cartridges besides Fujifilm and Sony?

  • For LTO-8, Fujifilm and Sony are the media manufacturers. Both have relationships with the TPCs and LTO providers to manufacture branded media, so there is also an open market for media where customers have a wide choice of media brands.




Interesting Infographic on LTO Tape

From Spectra Logic, this infographic tracks the evolution of LTO Ultrium Tape through its many generations.  Check it out:

LTO Infographic from Spectra Logic

The company is also preparing a  webinar for 2 November, 2017 on the Future of Tape Technology.  Register HERE if you want to attend.

Tape and Clouds? New Besties in the Storage Realm

With data growth measured in the tens of zettabytes, the combined capacities of disk and flash storage will be insufficient to store all the bits.  That's where tape comes in, with its long runway of capacity growth milestones on the horizon.  

Even the cloudies, who are among the first to encounter the data deluge, get the need for tape.  IBM told us some stories about tape in the cloud when we went to Tucson, AZ recently to hear about their LTO-8 tape drive announcement.



Thanks to Colleen Sanchez, Lee Jesionowski, Tony Pearson and Ed Childers for their time and their insights.


IBM Announces LTO-8 Tape Drive

At IBM's invitation, the Data Management Institute traveled to the Executive Briefing Center in Tucson, AZ a couple of weeks ago to shoot a video blog with IBM smart folks, Calline Sanchez, Lee Jesionowski, Tony Pearson and Ed Childers.  The subject was tape and we were receiving a preview of Big Blue's forthcoming announcement of supporting technology for LTO Ultrium tape Generation 8.

While LTO-8 is not yet available, that hasn't stopped IBM from getting ready with a new drive and support for the new standard in its Spectrum Archive software and various storage enclosures.  Here is the full interview:



Thanks to IBM for having us out for this advanced briefing.

A Zettabyte Apocalypse?

Trends in data growth are downright scary.  Per Barry M. Ferrite, as well as leading IT analysts, data is on pace to grow from current levels to more than 60 zettabytes (ZBs) by 2020 and to more than 163 ZBs by 2025.  Driving this data growth are three trends:  the digitization of information formerly stored in analog formats (the so-called digital democracy), the mobile commerce phenomenon, and the Internet of Things.


This tsunami of new data will challenge large organizations and those that are data intensive.  One prominent cloud architect has noted that the current manufacturing output of the disk industry in terms of capacity is around 780 exabytes per year.  The flash industry produces approximately 500 exabytes of capacity annually.  Even with forecasted capacity improvements, the world will still confront a severe capacity shortage by 2020. 

Tape could help fill the void, with demonstrations of over 300 TB per cartridge coming from IBM and tape manufacturers.  How soon tape drives and cartridges supporting these capacities will come to market remains to be seen.


Teaching Storage Fundamentals? Why Not Make It Fun?

DMI has begun using an avatar, Barry M. Ferrite, "your trusted storage AI", to provide entertaining and informative public service announcements about storage technology and data management.  This follows a series of "edutainment" videos we made in 2012-2013 to talk about the state of storage industry infighting at that time. 

Each episode of Storage Wars was a mash-up of Star Wars and Annoying Orange. For their "historical value," here was our version of Storage Wars -- Episodes IV, V and VI (labeled Storage Wars, Storage Wars 2 and Storage Wars 3 for YouTube storage.}





 Hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane.  DMI will be creating more edutainment videos in the future to teach storage fundamentals.

Why Not Used Gear?

Barry M. Ferrite responded last May to inquiries from many DMI members regarding how to bend the cost curve of storage, which currently accounts for between 30 to 70 cents of every dollar spent annually for IT hardware.  He talked about the secondary market, a place where you could buy used hardware at a fraction of the price of new gear, and build out your capacity without breaking the bank.  

Barry introduced us to ASCDI, an organization for secondary market equipment sales that imposes a code of ethics on members to ensure that consumers get the products they were promised and in good working order.  Have a listen.



DMI thanks Joe Marion of ASCDI for offering his perspective for this video.

Barry M. Ferrite Talks Tape

Tape?  What's that?

Scary as it seems, this is actually not an uncommon question from novice IT personnel, especially those who have been taught their trade at schools offered by hypervisor computing vendors or flash technology companies.  Yet, tape storage is coming back into vogue in industrial clouds, large data centers and certain vertical industry markets.

Barry M. Ferrite, our trusted storage AI, offered this public service announcement on LTO-7 tape about a year ago to help acquaint newbies with the merits of tape technology.  He will likely revisit this subject shortly with the release of LTO-8.



Don't count out tape as part of your storage infrastructure.


Slow VMs? Adaptive Parallel I/O Tech May Be the Solution

A little over a year ago, DataCore Software's late Chief Scientist, Ziya Aral, released a groundbreaking piece of technology he called adaptive parallel I/O that showed the way to alleviate RAW I/O congestion causing applications, especially virtual machines running in hypervisor environments, to run slowly.  

Demonstrations of the effectiveness of adaptive parallel I/O in reducing latency and boosting performance of VMs demonstrated the silliness of arguments by leading hypervisor vendors that slow storage was to blame for poor VM perfomance.  Storage was not the problem; the decreasing rate at which I/Os could be placed onto the I/O bus (RAW I/O speed) was the problem.

The problem was that hypervisor vendors really don't seem to want to place blame where it belongs -- with hypervisors and how they use logical cores in multi-core processors.  In better times, the error of such an assertion (that storage was responsible for application performance) could be shown just by looking at queue depths on the hosting server.  If the queue depth was deep, then slow storage I/O was to blame.  Conversely, if queue depths were shallow, as they typically are in hypervisor computing settings we've seen, then the problem lies elsewhere.

Aral and DataCore showed that RAW I/O speeds were to blame and they provided a software shim that converts unused logical CPU cores into a parallel I/O processing engine to resolve the problem.  Here is our avatar, Barry M. Ferrite, reviewing the technology in its early days -- at about the same time as Star Wars Episode VII was about to be released.



Since the initial release of Adaptive Parallel I/O technology, DataCore has steadily improved its results as measured by the Storage Performance Council, reaching millions of IOs per second in SPC benchmarks...on commodity servers from Lenovo and other manufacturers.

So, why isn't adaptive parallel I/O part of software-defined storage?

Introducing Barry M. Ferrite, DMI's Trusted Storage AI

Now a little over a year old, the Data Management Institute's "trusted storage AI" (artificial intelligence) is one Barry M. Ferrite.  Here is his first appearance with many yet to come.



We look forward to Barry's occasional public service announcements on all things storage.