IBM’s Big Data Proves That Tape Is More than Alive

Those who predicted the eminent demise of tape must be scratching their heads so far. Major Companies including the likes of IBM and Sony are continually revealing impressive technologies that are wowing IT managers all over the world. In fact, in May of 2011, IBM officially announced the release of their “Big Data” series of products that includes the all-new TS3500 Tape Library.

The TS3500 offers an unparalleled 2.7 exabytes of data storage available. If you’re not sure what an exabyte equates to, put 18 zeros behind a 1 and it comes to a whopping 1,000,000,000,000,000,000! This is more than two times the size of Oracle’s largest library system. Also, an exabyte equals more than three times all of the mobile data generated throughout the United States of America in 2010.

When you really consider what IBM is accomplishing with the TS3500, it is offering its customers unlimited storage within a single tape system, which can hold thousands of 4TB tape cartridges at any given time.

While most organizations probably won’t utilize the TS3500 to its fullest capacity, they will most likely scale the system out as their need for data storage grows. Beyond the system’s amazing storage capacity, it should be mentioned that there are numerous other features that organizations can utilize in their effort to index, search, and share data. One such feature includes the IBM Linear Tape File System Library Edition (LTFS LE), which improves ease of use tremendously.

IBM’s Tape Roots

Most individuals are quite surprised to find out the IBM has been a huge proponent of tape technologies since 1952. The company is responsible for inventing magnetic tape and working to continually improve tape throughout the years. IBM is also a member of the LTO consortium which includes HP and Quantum in their effort to make major advancements in tape.

IBM is betting on tape in the years to come because between 50 and 60 percent of the world’s leading businesses utilize a mix of tape and disk to retain and secure data. For instance, Google backs up all of their data with tape each day in case of possible bugs. The company recently lost hundreds of thousands of e-mail accounts due to a bug that attacked their disk storage system, but thanks to tape backups its customers were able to have their accounts back up in working order.
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.”
More IBM Developments

In 2011, IBM announced a couple other developments that are definitely worth mention. Firstly, the company has made substantial advancements in clustering IT with the Scale-Out Network Attached Storage (SONAS) system and Information Archive. Organizations can now enjoy SONAS’ capability of being scaled out to more than 14 petabytes of clustered storage. Secondly, the IBM TS7700 Virtual Tape Library line of products has undergone a major upgrade. It is now capable of holding 2 million virtual tape cartridges.

The future of tape is definitely looking good!

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Mar 27, 2012 by