IBM ‘Big Data’ Storage Product Line Solidifies Tapes Future

Curious as to how IBM is currently contributing to the success of the tape data storage market? You may be surprised at their effort to keep tape alive and well for years to come!

In May of 2011, IBM announced the release of “Big Data,” which now actively competes with EMC World. IBM’s Big Data products will include tape storage backup, enhanced archiving, and deduplication in an effort to make the process of storing massive amounts of data in an efficient manner.

IBM’s goal is to offer a wide variety of ways to store, archive, and protect various data types. Thus, it can be said that the name “Big Data” serves to encompass more than data volume. Additionally, IBM is working to make the accessing of data easier and more streamlined with their new line of products.

IBM’s Historical Commitment to Tape

Are you aware of the fact that IBM has been in the tape business since 1952? Back in those days, IBM invented magnetic tape. Because of its early commitment to tape, IBM has worked to develop digital data storage products that support tape. Much of their present commitment to tape can be pinpointed to IBM’s understanding that between 50 and 60 percent of the world’s businesses utilize a mix of digital and tape for data storage.

According to Doug Balog, General Manager of IBM’s Storage Business Unit, “IBM has an edge over storage vendors like EMC that don’t support tape. Tape and disk can be used together to deliver clients tired storage that enables them to store data within the different tiers based on their data priorities.”

This is enough reason to reveal the legitimacy of tape in today’s world. Plus, it is a major sign that companies such as IBM, Sony, HP, and Quantum are putting millions of dollars into tape advancement for the coming years.

IBM Big Data Specifics

IBM’s release of the TS3500 Tape Library in 2011 made it the industry’s first tape library system providing more than 2.7 exabytes available! Just to give you an idea as to how expansive an exabyte is, it is represented as 1,000,000,000,000,000,000! According to Balog, that is three times all mobile data generated in the US in 2010.

This means that IBM is providing unlimited storage within a single tape system. It utilizes cartridges that hold a total of 4TB of data each and is capable of holding thousands of cartridges at a time.

It must be made clear that not every TS3500 owner does not utilize its full capability, rather most will grow their use of the system and build it out as needed. Additionally, they can make use of a wide variety of features including the IBM Linear Tape File System Library Edition (LTFS LE). This makes the expansive library easier to use through indexing, searches, and shared data stored on Generation 5 LTO tape.

Who Would Utilize Such a Huge Library?

There are a number of large organizations that make use of the TS3500 including oil and gas exploration companies, weather-prediction services, and other organizations needing to maintain massive amounts of data.

IBM, Clustering and More

Just when you thought that its advancements couldn’t get any more impressive, the company also shared that it has made major advancements in storage clustering IT with the Scale-Out Network Attached Storage (Sonas) system and Information Archive. SONAS is now capable of being scaled out to more than 14 petabytes of clustered storage.

Also, the IBM TS7700 Virtual Tape Library product line has seen a major upgrade to double the number of virtual tape cartridges. This means that it can now hold an amazing 2 million!! More news is certain to come out of the IBM headquarters in the coming months. We’ll keep you posted!

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Jan 25, 2012 by