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Storage vendors unroll better VTL options

I love the smell of mainframe tape in the morning

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It's been a good day for mainframe tape users. They can store data on cheaper open systems virtual tape libraries (VTLs) thanks to Bus-Tech's MDL-100V product, and Sun has simultaneously enhanced its mainframe VTL and tape products.

Bus-Tech's Mainframe Data Library-100V connects by FICON or ESCON links to mainframe hosts and by dual Fibre Channel cables to supported VTLs: EMC's Disk Library; FalconStor's software VTL; Quantum's DXi 7500; and Sepaton's S2100-ES2. The mainframe can write to up to 32 tape drives - 3480, 3490, or 3590 - which the MDL-100 emulates. It passes the data straight through to the attached VTLs where it can be deduplicated.

Data centres can get better use of a VTL (Virtual Tape Library) by using it for both industry standard server data and mainframe data, and not need to buy a second and separate mainframe VTL. Coincidentally, and for users needing a protected VTL, Sepaton has added replication to its product so that changes made to one Sepaton VTL can be replicated to another, remote one, providing disaster recovery. Since Sepaton deduplicates its stored data, only deduplicated changes are sent over the wire, lessening the network bandwidth requirement.

Sun has had a mini-blitz of tape announcements. Mainframe users wishing to use a mainframe VTL can now store three times as much data in the Sun StorageTek VSM 5 - 90TB. Sun has also announced the VSM5e, an entry-level product, intended for disaster recovery and test sites.

The StorageTek SL3000 physical tape library has had an Access Expansion Module added, so that the SL3000 now has redundant robotics. This allows a robot to be replaced without the library going off-line. It and the SL8500 are the only tape libraries in the industry with this capability.

Sun's StorageTek operation has also announced that Fujifilm will be its media development partner for the follow-on technology to the T10000B, which was the first tape drive and format to attain a terabyte capacity. The partnership is set to deliver future generations of the T10000B family and we might expect, in due course, and Oracle willing, 2TB and 4TB versions of the format.

Sun has also combined its mainframe software products into an Enterprise Library Software (ELS) package to provide more performance and functionality.

Mainframe StorageTek tape users now have a stronger roadmap to future tape generations as well as enhanced physical and virtual tape library options. They, and IBM mainframe tape users, can add mainframe data to EMC, FalconStor, Quantum and Sepaton industry-standard server VTLs courtesy of Bus-Tech's MDL-100V.

It's been a good day for mainframe tape backup, physical and virtual. ®

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