Video: The Changing Role of Tape (Interview)

Spectra Logic's Molly Rector discusses tape's niche role as a powerful backup medium to its use in active archives

Our cameras caught up with Molly Rector, vice president of marketing and product development at Spectra Logic, in Portland, OR at the SuperComputing Conference, where her company was unveiling the ultimate statement in tape library technology, the T-Finity. It may surprise that Spectra Logic’s new library, featuring the greatest density of any storage product in the history of magnetic media, became the “darling” of the show.

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In this interview, Rector talks about the changing role of tape in many shops. From its niche as a powerful backup medium, Rector notes that tape is coming into bloom as a technology for active archive, and in some cases, as a primary storage facility for files. Power consumption is a big consideration, she says, noting that nearly 100 PB of data can be stored in up to 33,000 cartridges in Spectra’s T-Finity, with power only required by any drives in operation at any given time.

This power profile is superior even to disk arrays with drive spin-down -- by 25x! That translates to a $100,000 cost savings in energy alone accrued to tape over disk over a five-year period given 15TB of data.

Rector’s compelling commentary, part of a multi-segment interview conducted with her and with CTO Matt Starr, is worth a careful listen, particularly by those who may have been told that tape’s future as an enterprise storage technology is in question. To Rector, the future of tape, particularly as the platform solution for an increasing legislative and regulatory mandate around data protection and preservation, is so bright, you’ll need the proverbial shades.

To see the other parts of this interview, visit the C-4 Project at

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