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EMC trundles out deduping mainframe VTL

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EMC is bringing out a mainframe virtual tape library to cover both primary and backup data needs.

It is an update of the Bus-Tech MDL-100v, an intermediate box sitting between a mainframe and open systems virtual tape libraries (VTL) such as EMC's Disk Library, a FalconStore software VTL, a Quantum DXi array or a Sepaton array. EMC bought Bus-Tech in November last year and has now introduced the DLm6000.

IBM has its TS7680 ProtecTIER deduplication gateway with a 1PB capacity. Oracle has its Virtual Storage Manager (VSM v5) and Virtual Library Extension (VLE) product set. This uses ZFS technology and has a 3.5PB maximum capacity.

Back in 2009, EMC's DLm, was a non-deduplicating mainframe VTL, although it did support compression. That was ironic, as Shoden then used a Data Domain box to deduplicate data coming for tape drives from mainframes, and stored the deduped data on HDS arrays. That business now faces much stronger competition from EMC.

The DLM6000 hooks up to a Z/OS mainframe and can use back-end VNX storage and/or a Data Domain 890. EMC says it's a single product, the only single product in fact, that can cover "the full range of mainframe tape workloads with a single, consolidated all-disk system." It talks about tape workloads such as "backup and recovery, batch processing, DFHSM migration and data archive", and says mainframe users no longer have to have multiple systems doing these tape-related things. That sounds pretty compelling.

Backup data goes to the DD890 while production data can go to the VNX, and exhibit much, much faster restore times than from physical tape drives.

FICON is used to connect the mainframe to the DLm, which is represented to the mainframe as IBM 3480, 3490, and 3590 tape drives.

There are two DLM products: the DLm6000 high-end system, with two to six virtual tape engines, and the DLm120 low-end model, with one or two engines. The DLm120 can have two to four FICON ports while the 6000 can have four to 12.

The DLm120 scales from 9.5 to 96.5TB before compression. The DLm6000's logical capacity scales from 40TB to 5.7PB. The VNX has SAS drive interfaces while the DD890 has SATA IIs. Maximum DLm throughput is 2GB/sec or 7.2TB/hour.

A DLm can replicate its contents in deduplicated form to one or two remote sites for disaster recovery.

All-in-all, it looks as if EMC has leap-frogged IBM, Oracle and Shoden competition with this new DLM6000 product. If the consolidated workloads claims are real then it looks to have an even stronger appeal than the competing products.

Learn more from an EMC DLm datasheet (3-page PDF/454KB) here. The DLm6000 will be available in September. ®

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