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August 2014
Issue: March 1, 2011

Storage: LTO-5 options

By: Christine Bunish

High definition 3D footage, intense graphics and eye-catching VFX make for fantastic commercials, television programs and feature films. They also leave many post production professionals searching for an archival solution that can efficiently handle their size. Many turn to LTO-5 to solve this dilemma, as the technology combines the inherent advantages of tape with features that make it a viable alternative to a hard-disk drive (HDD). 

MAXELL

Like any tape, LTO-5 has a lower cost-per-GB and uses less energy compared to other archiving alternatives. In fact, [according to a Maxell white paper] LTO-5 can lower energy consumption and reduce storage media costs by 10 times. In addition to these traditional benefits, Maxell’s LTO-5 media (www.maxell-usa.com) offer advantages thanks to its NeoSMART (Neo Super Maximum capacity Advanced Reliability Tape) technology.  

NeoSMART incorporates Maxell’s Ceramic Armor Metal technology that coats ceramic armor around each particle’s pure metal core to protect them from the effects of extreme heat and oxidation, preserving their magnetic properties and signal output under almost any environmental condition.  Additionally, it includes Advanced Dispersion, which helps remove contaminants from the head surface while the tape is in operation. The result is that optimum head-to-tape contact is maintained, resulting in increased drive head life.

Other technologies in Maxell LTO-5 make it well suited for archiving valuable footage. Advanced Calendaring is used to create an exceptionally smooth tape surface to produce high carrier-to-noise ratios and high-energy signal transmission to the magnetic heads. Ultra-precise Slitting produces sharp edges that dramatically reduce the chance of edge damage to optimize tape transport tracking. Also, Stable Servo Track Writing technology delivers a minimal 0.2-micrometer margin of error along the entire length of tape.  These precision servo writers allow simultaneous writing of multiple servo tracks, with high reliability over the lifetime of the tape. 

All of these advances have made Maxell’s LTO-5 the media of choice for more than post production facilities. Anyone responsible for storing and archiving “rich video” or who has massive video libraries, such as television networks and movie studios, will find LTO-5 an efficient, cost-effective media for their archiving needs.  

CACHE-A

A leading supplier of network-attached archive appliances for the digital film, broadcast and professional video industries, Cache-A’s archive appliances (www.cache-a.com) provide source masters for digital acquisition and project archives, using low-cost and easy-to-deploy appliances based on industry-standard LTO tape. 

Cache-A’s complete product line — including the Pro-Cache5 and Pro-Cache Library24/Library48 — is designed to meet the need for safe, reliable and cost-effective content archiving, access and interchange.  

The most cost-effective way to manage multiple terabytes of archived data in a professional media environment, Cache-A’s Pro-Cache5 offers many of the advanced on-set and in-studio features demanded by today’s media industry professionals for content archiving, interchange and access. Pro-Cache5 takes advantage of next generation technology to offer 1.5TB of storage per LTO-5 cartridge, while also providing significantly faster archiving speeds. It writes data on low-cost, secure, portable, interchangeable and IT industry-standard LTO-5 tape cartridges using the standard “tar” format; the archive life is 30 years.

Now, to simplify the archiving of large projects, the new Pro-Cache Library24/Library48 works with both Pro-Cache5 and Pro-Cache4 models to automate archival workflows and provide the ultimate in dual-drive system flexibility. Two LTO drives means concurrent access to both Pro-Cache Library24/Library48 and Pro-Cache5 shelf-stored tape volumes for twice the archiving power. The Pro-Cache Library24 provides 36TB of near-line storage, the Library48 72TB of near-line storage.  

Cache-A recently announced that it will collaborate with HP to develop an easy-to-use implementation of LTFS (Linear Tape File System) for the professional media and entertainment industries. LTFS is based on open-source software and enables users to interchange content across different operating systems, software applications and physical locations. This collaboration combines the benefits of LTFS, which makes tape look like disk, with the convenience of Cache-A’s appliance approach, which makes tape actually behave like disk, to provide a complete archive solution for professional media and entertainment customers.

Some of the facilities that have chosen Cache-A for their content archiving needs include Authentic Entertainment, Color Mill, Offhollywood Productions and Stitch Motion Graphics.

QUANTUM

Quantum (www.quantum.com) offers a complete line of LTO tape products, including media, standalone tape drives and a complete line of automated tape libraries. The highly-scalable and secure Quantum Scalar tape library portfolio leverages the benefits of the LTO standard with the intelligent management capabilities of Quantum’s iLayer software. Quantum customers deploy tape for both backup and archiving purposes. For backup, customers typically place the Scalar library behind a Quantum DXi disk-based backup device with deduplication. For archiving, the Scalar library is often used with Quantum StorNext software.

Quantum Scalar libraries meet a broad range of backup and archiving needs, from workgroups to large enterprise data centers. The entry-level Scalar i40/i80 is suitable for small and medium-sized businesses and distributed environments. The i40 starts with 25 slots and scales up to 40 slots; the i80 starts with 50 slots and scales up to 80. The rack-mountable Scalar i500 is for mid-range environments and scales up from two drives and 41 tape slots to 18 drives and 409 tape slots. The Scalar i6000 is an enterprise library that scales up to 96 drives and 5,322 tape-storage slots. The i500 and i6000 library platforms offer easy, modular growth and provide the performance, reliability and value of a single, continuous robotics system. 

All Quantum libraries use iLayer management software, providing a common management interface and common feature set across all Quantum tape environments. iLayer intelligent software automates many management tasks;  80 percent of Quantum customers find that iLayer saves them administrative time compared to their previous tape library. The proactive monitoring and intelligent diagnostics reduce service calls by 50 percent.

Scalar Key Manager and Vision management software provide additional security and management benefits. Scalar Key Manager offers a highly secure, FIPs-certified encryption key manager solution for LTO-4 and LTO-5 cartridges. It is deployed as a redundant pair of appliances or virtual machines and is integrated with iLayer library management software for ease of use. Vision management software consolidates management of all Quantum libraries and disk products into a single console. Vision provides additional reporting and management capabilities for LTO drives and media.