StorageTek announces tape-based WORM

Posted on August 01, 1998

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StorageTek announces tape-based WORM

StorageTek last month announced VolSafe, reportedly the industry`s first tape-based write-once read-many (WORM) technology. VolSafe targets the securities industry--a market previously limited by SEC regulation to WORM optical.

The primary advantage of the new technology, says Scott Willis, a StorageTek solutions business manager, is low cost storage ($0.01 per MB versus $0.10 to $0.20 per MB for optical). Other advantages include virtually unlimited scalability and fast throughput rates.

VolSafe technology consists of new microcode and media. "The microcode of the drive has been changed so that it looks for specific VolSafe media," says Willis. "If VolSafe media is mounted, the drive goes into a different operational mode. The physical cartridge has a different type of notch or leader block on the outside of the cartridge, which the tape drive can detect. It tells the microcode it is a WORM tape and treats it accordingly."

Initially, the technology will be implemented in STK`s Redwood drives; however, next- generation Redwood drives and other STK document storage and archive tape systems are expected to include the VolSafe feature.

The media is currently in beta; shipments are expected this quarter. There is no charge for the microcode. Final pricing for the media has not been determined, but is expected to be around $95 per cartridge.

In a separate release, STK announced Extended High Performance Data Mover (ExHPDM) software for faster data backup and improved disaster recovery in MVS environments.

In essence, ExHPDM "virtualizes" tape drives. Explains David Osekavage, StorageTek`s enterprise Nearline product marketing manager, "Data is written to the HPDM buffer, where it is re-blocked into large data blocks. The individual data from the backup disk volumes is then interleaved onto a single tape volume, reducing hardware requirements and fully exploiting the capacity and performance capabilities of that drive."

The net result, claims STK, is significantly lower backup and disaster restoration times. In testing, STK reports a 50% decrease in the backup window for its Timberline drive and about a 60% reduction for Redwood. STK also claims about a 70% higher throughput for Timberline when using ExHPDM; about a 150% increase for Redwood.

Shipments are expected late this quarter. Price: $100,000 to $200,000, depending on the number of CPUs the software runs on. www.storagetek.com.


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