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7/15/2008
08:29 PM
Howard Marks
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If Tape Is Dead, Why Did IBM And Sun Put 1 TB On A Cartridge?

Every once in awhile a vendor, or a fellow member of the brotherhood of storage industry bloggers, pundits, and blowhards, pronounces that disk-to-disk backup, data deduplication, the virtual tape library, or some other disk-based technology spells the death knell for tape in the data center. While I wouldn't go so far as Adam Osborne and claim that the tape-less data center is as likely as the paperless bathroom, I don't see tape disappearing altogether for a good little while. Apparently, Sun

Every once in awhile a vendor, or a fellow member of the brotherhood of storage industry bloggers, pundits, and blowhards, pronounces that disk-to-disk backup, data deduplication, the virtual tape library, or some other disk-based technology spells the death knell for tape in the data center. While I wouldn't go so far as Adam Osborne and claim that the tape-less data center is as likely as the paperless bathroom, I don't see tape disappearing altogether for a good little while. Apparently, Sun and IBM agree with me, as both announced new versions of their high-end tape drives that can store 1 TB of uncompressed data on a single cartridge.While many organizations use LTO, and even SDLT, drives for Windows and open systems backup, the big boys with petabytes to backup use Sun StorageTek T10000 and IBM 3592 tape drives because, as John Cameron Swayze would say, "They take a licking and keep on ticking," running 7 by 24 by 365.

Sun's T10000B, announced Monday and therefore with bragging rights about being first, packs 1 TB on the same tape as the previous generation T10000A and boosts throughput to 120 MB/s. IBM's TS1130, just 24 hours behind, also crams 1 TB on an existing tape cartridge, but has the performance bragging rights at 160 MB/s.

Few customers buy just one, but a T10000B would set you back $37,000 and a TS1130 $39,500; current TS1120 users can upgrade for the bargain price of $19,500.

While disk has cut into tape's traditional cost per bit advantage, it's hard to beat the long-term stability of tapes on the shelf and they don't use any power till you retrieve their data.

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