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Spectra BlackPearl line grows family, archive customer base

Spectra Logic is extending its BlackPearl Deep Storage Gateway line upwards and downwards. The tape vendor has added an entry-level model and a much larger offering that more than triples the number of LTO drives the original product could manage.

Spectra BlackPearl appliances, originally introduced in 2013, offer a direct interface from any workflow into an active archive, providing access to nearline storage, tape and cloud. The new additions are the BlackPearl V Series and BlackPearl P Series.

The V Series can store 300 million objects and transfer data at up to 300 MBps sustained to disk or tape, while the P Series can store more than 1 billion objects, transfer up to 3 GBps sustained to disk or tape, and manage more than 20 LTO-7 tape drives.

Those new products join the previously available BlackPearl S Series, which can transfer data at up to 800 MBps to disk or tape.

The V Series could fit well in a small post-production house that works on a job-by-job basis, perhaps doing color correction, said Spectra CTO Matt Starr.

“They’re not retrieving hundreds of terabytes per day,” Starr said.

The P Series is for large organizations. A typical customer might have 20 or 30 Avid edit stations running every day and hit the archives more often. The P Series is up to four times faster than the original product.

The goal of Spectra BlackPearl was to open tape up to places where the medium was rarely used or usage has greatly expanded because of recent trends. Starr pointed to data from body cameras as an example – police departments may need that footage for a month if it is not required as evidence, but may need to retain it much longer if it is.

Starr doesn’t anticipate adding a fourth unit, as he said the three types of Spectra BlackPearl appliances  cover the market well.

The V Series starts at $12,000, plus a yearly maintenance fee.  The P Series list price is between $80,000 and $90,000, depending on the configuration. The original S Series starts at $33,000.

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