Behind the appliance, a tape storage system can scale up from 15 terabytes to multiple petabytes, Spectra said. That suits the needs of enterprises in entertainment, life sciences, oil and gas exploration, government, finance and social media, as well as cloud storage providers, according to the company. Yahoo has already started using the technology to archive Hadoop data, Rector said.
When users want to retrieve a piece of data in tape storage, it will typically take about 60 seconds, though a smaller version such as a thumbnail of a photo may arrive sooner, Rector said. The big advantage of tape is its low cost, according to Spectra: A Black Pearl with a tape library ranges from US$0.09 to $0.14 per gigabyte for typical configurations, and even less for very large systems of 10 petabytes or more.
That's cheaper than long-term storage based on hard drives or cloud storage services, and users can access the data as often as they want at no extra cost, which isn't always the case with cloud storage, Rector said. Tape is also the most space-efficient storage technology and has a typical shelf life of 30 years, according to the company.
The BlackPearl is available for beta testing now and set to go on sale in December. The Hadoop DS3 client and the Spectra Logic Developer Program for enterprises and software vendors are available now.