Sun, IBM to ship 1TB tape drives

By Kevin Komiega

-- There is some big news in the world of tape this week -- big, that is, in terms of capacity.

Both Sun Microsystems and IBM announced that they are on the verge of shipping 1TB enterprise-class tape drives. Sun claims it is first to market with the Sun StorageTek T10000B Fibre Channel Tape Drive, which is expected to ship later this month, while IBM claims its System Storage TS1130 tape drives are the fastest in the industry with performance of 160MBps (compared to Sun's 120MBps).

Sun's T10000 drive contains a 1TB cartridge, which at 120MBps throughput allows 1TB of data to be written in less than 2.5 hours without swapping out tapes.

The T10000 offers optional Sport Cartridges that provide more than twice the average access speed to data and support media re-use, allowing users who have standardized on T10000 media to gain double capacity on existing cartridges.

The T10000 integrates into existing infrastructure within the mainframe environment and has a dual-head design, which according to Sun ensures high throughput is maintained while running at a lower tape speed, and spreads data across the tape width to provide the highest level of error code correction (ECC) capability.

The Sun drive also features embedded encryption and support for write-once, read-many (WORM) media.

The tape drive is priced from $37,000.

Like the Sun drive, IBM's TS1130 can store up to 1TB of uncompressed data per cartridge, with a native data rate of 160MBps.

The TS1130 uses a Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) head design -- the result of IBM's efforts to develop a more sensitive read-write head for tape systems -- which results in fewer data read errors.

The tape drive uses existing 3592 rewritable and WORM cartridges. It offers backwards compatibility with support for Gen 1, 2, and 3 formats, supporting both read-and-write functions for Gen 2, and read only for Gen 1.

The TS1130 tape drive also supports drive-based data encryption and IBM's Encryption Key Manager.

With a starting price of $39,050, the TS1130 will be available on September 5, 2008. IBM is also offering an upgrade from existing drives for $19,500, and backward media compatibility.


HP, Sony to extend DAT/DDS

Hewlett-Packard and Sony this week announced they will extend the Digital Audio Tape (DAT) tape format into the next generation. The DAT 320 format will provide a backup speed of 86GB per hour -- assuming 2:1 data compression -- and have a capacity of 320GB per cartridge with 2:1 compression, or twice the capacity and transfer rate of the DAT 160 predecessor. DAT 320 will be backward-compatible with DAT 160.

DAT is also known as Digital Data Storage (DDS), or sometimes DAT/DDS.

Sony's participation in the DAT 320 format marks the re-entry of the vendor into the DAT/DDS market. Both HP and Sony will manufacture DAT 320 drives, and media is expected to be available from a variety of vendors, including Fuji, Imation, Maxell, and Sony.

Although HP and Sony are jointly developing DAT 320, the two companies will manufacture their own product lines. DAT 320 products are expected in the first half of 2009, according to Bob Wilson, vice president of storage platforms in HP's StorageWorks division. The drives are expected to be available with USB and SAS interfaces. --Dave Simpson

Related articles:

Evaluating options for tape encryption

Sense and sensibility about tape and disk

This article was originally published on July 16, 2008