IBM introduces LTO-4 technology, new virtual tape library

* IBM adds new media, encryption and data retention capabilities to storage gear

IBM last week bolstered its tape storage portfolio with new media, encryption and data retention capabilities, as well as a new virtual tape library that makes backing up data a more efficient affair.

The company announced that it will ship LTO Generation 4 tape drives, which are 50% faster and double the capacity of the previous LTO-3. The LTO-4 cartridges have a capacity of 1.6TB (see here for more about the LTO-4 specification).

In addition these LTO-4 tape-drives feature encryption capabilities, allowing customers to protect their data at rest and reduce the need for additional encryption appliances.

IBM, which claims to have introduced the first encrypting tape drive in September 2006, has extended encryption capabilities from its System Storage TS1120 tape drive to the LTO tape systems.

IBM also announced that it has enhanced its key management software to support LTO encryption. The Encryption Key Manager, developed on the Java platform, supports many different operating systems.

Based on the LTO-4 standard are IBM’s System Storage TS2340 Tape Drive, which has 1.6TB capacity, and the System Storage TS3100, TS3200, The TS3310, TS3500 Tape Libraries. The company had previously introduced the TS3400 Tape Library designed for use by midsize businesses.

The TS3100 Tape Libary has one LTO 4 drive with either SCSI, 4Gbps Fibre Channel or dual ported Serial Attached SCSI. The TS3200 is available with two LTO-4 drives. The TS3310 supports up to 316.8TB of storage and 18 LTO-4 drives. The TS3500 scales to 192 tape drives and more than 6,000 cartridge slots for up to 10-petabytes of capacity. The IBM LTO 4 tape storage systems are available starting at $5,170.

IBM also joined the virtual tape library (VTL) market with the introduction of the IBM Virtualization Engine for Open Systems TS7520. This VTL product combines hardware and software (from OEM FalconStor) into a integrated VTL for servers connected to Fibre Channel storage-area networks.

The TS7520 emulates IBM tape libraries, drives and media, resulting in reduced backup windows and decreased restore times.

This emulation is designed to help reduce backup windows and time to restore, to improve sharing of tape libraries across applications and servers, and to improve operational efficiencies. The TS7520 supports encryption, compression, the Network Data Management Protocol and path failover. It also supports iSCSI and allows scalability to 512 virtual libraries, 4,096 virtual drives and 128,000 virtual volumes. 

The IBM Virtualization Engine TS7500 is expected to be available in June of this year.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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