IBM Still a Fan of Tape

Anyone who thinks corporate-compliance and record-retention regulations
aren’t wagging the dogs needs a reality check. In many cases, rules such as
HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley are driving new standards and technologies for data
encryption and archiving.

IBM today introduced tape storage drives based on the recently passed Linear
Tape Open (LTO) Generation 4 standard, incorporating tape-encryption tools
from its System Storage TS1120 tape drive.

The resulting integration allows the devices to compress and encrypt data
with little or no impingement of the drive’s performance.

This is a key accomplishment because customers demand the added safeguard of
encryption — which renders information unreadable by anyone but the key
manager — but who don’t want the drive’s ability to sock away or retrieve data


Pulling for tape.

Source: IBM

Despite rumors of its demise in favor of disk, tape storage is still a
highly valued medium for backup, archiving and compliance, which is why LTO
4 drives are so highly anticipated by customers trying to temper the data

LTO 4 powers drives with greater performance and capacity than LTO
Generation 3 could muster, said Craig Butler, business line executive for
archive, IBM Systems Storage.

Specifically, IBM’s new tape systems transfer data up to 240 megabytes per
second, or 50 percent faster than LTO 3, and boast cartridge capacity to 1.6
terabytes , or double the capacity of LTO 3. The speed
boost shortens backup windows while the capacity jump and compression
reduces storage consumption.

Available in May, the new drives include the:

  • IBM System Storage TS2340 Tape Drive, an LTO 4 drive with 120MB per
    second of data transfer and 800GB native capacity (1.6 TB with 2:1 compression). Prices are $5,170 for the TS2340 LVD SCSI version and $5,681 for the TS2340 SAS version.

  • IBM System Storage TS3100 Tape Library, available with one LTO 4 drive
    with either Low Voltage Differential (LVD) SCSI, 4Gbps Fibre Drive, or new
    3Gbps dual-port Serial-attached SCSI (SAS) for $5,770.

  • IBM System Storage TS3200 Tape Library: available with up to two LTO 4
    drives with either LVD SCSI, 4Gbps Fibre, or 3Gbps dual port SAS for $5,770.

  • IBM System Storage TS3310 Tape Library, with modular design available
    with up to 316.8 TB native storage slot capacity and up to 18 LTO 4 4Gbps
    Fibre or dual-port SAS hot-swappable tape drives for $16,530.

  • IBM System Storage TS3500 Tape Library, with linear scalable design
    features and Multi-Path architecture; scales up to 16 frames, 192 tape
    drives, and over 6,000 cartridge slots for up to 10 petabytes
     of capacity; $22,800.

IBM’s announcement comes a week after Dell trotted out its PowerVault
LTO-4-120 drives. Like IBM’s new systems, Dell’s LTO-4-120 features
encryption, 800GB native capacity and a 50 percent performance increase over
the previous generation.

Dell is shipping the drives today, with pricing for the external standalone
Dell PowerVault LTO-4-120 drive starting at about $4,000.

Sun Microsystems, HP and other systems vendors are expected to come to
market in the coming days or weeks.

IBM wasn’t done with its storage news this week. In addition to the LTO 4
drives, Butler also said IBM completed the newest member to its virtual tape
library family.

The IBM Virtualization Engine for Open Systems TS7520, the follow up to the
TS7700 launched
last year, uses SATA  drives to emulate tape systems for
servers connected over Fiber Channel . The TS7500 will
be available June 8.

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