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Rumours of Tape's death exaggerated

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Despite long running rumours of the death of tape, solutions of various formats are employed, almost universally, somewhere in the routine, but vitally important, task of the backup or archiving of data. Tape systems continue to evolve; while their position in the data protection chain may be altering, tape technology still has a role to play in all areas of the market.

Recently, Colorado-based StorageTek announced the availability of the StorageTek StreamLine SL8500 modular library and the StreamLine SL 500 modular library systems. Both products are designed to integrate with the company’s burgeoning Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) approach to managing data.

At the top of the new range sits the SL8500 which scales from 2,048 useable slots and 64 drives to more than 300,000 slots and 2,048 drives of any combination of supported drives. The system is capable of supporting a range of drives including T9840A and T9840B (both 20 GB/cart), T9840C (40 GB/cart), T9940B (200 GB/cart), LTO Ultrium Generation 2 (200 GB/cart) and SDLT 600 (300 GB/cart). It is interesting to note that Sun Microsystems has entered into an agreement with StorageTek to market and sell the SL8500 under the StorEdge branding.

These libraries can therefore scale from solutions with raw capacities of around 29 Tb to those reaching up to 90 Pb. The extremely high slot density of the StreamLine SL8500 modular library system is designed to optimise the use of the floor space in data centres and it is claimed that the system supports “all major operating systems”.

In the mid-range the StreamLine SL 500 supports only Unix and Windows NT operating systems and typical midrange tape drive formats including LTO Gen-2 and will support SDLT in future releases. The SL 500 offers solutions ranging from 1-18 LTO Ultrium Generation 2 Tape Drives and can scale from 30 to 577 cartridge slots providing a solution storing over 100TB of uncompressed data. This library is designed to bring many of the top end qualities enjoyed by its big brother to the mid-market.

As anyone knows, raw hardware does not a solution make and the company has also announced details of its Backup Resource Monitor software to help in the administration of the new StreamLine libraries and its existing L-series systems.

Meanwhile in Europe, Tandberg Data has developed new tape solutions targeting the other end of the market. The company has announced details of the first 1U Autoloader utilising DLT VS technology. The modular system combines a DLT VS160 tape drive and eight media cartridges to provide a 1U autoloader (with an installation height of only 4.2 cm) that can store up to 1.2 TB of compressed data. Connection to the server is established over SCSI-Ultra2 Wide and LVD/SE-Interfaces.

The DLT VS160 is supplied with web-based remote management as a standard feature allowing maintenance, system monitoring and other commands to be performed remotely through a standard web browser. Administration may also be performed locally through an easy to use and read LCD panel on the autoloader.

With developments like these it is clear that there is still great demand for tape based solutions to help manage the flood of data being generated today. Tape may no longer be the only game in town, but it is still in town and shows no signs of leaving any time soon.

© IT-Analysis.com

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