Sun and IBM Deliver 1 TB Tape Drives, Argue About Speed
July 21, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The engineers and marketeers at Sun Microsystems worked hard to try to beat IBM to market with a new 1 TB tape drive, and they succeeded in the task last Monday by getting the T10000B tape drive out the door. But IBM was only one day behind Sun, and was so happy to point out that its TS1130 tape drive, also delivering cartridges with 1 TB of capacity, was faster.
Sun’s T10000B comes, of course, from its StorageTek unit, which makes mainframe-class tape drives and libraries as well as disk arrays. And like the IBM unit, it offers 1 TB of native (meaning uncompressed) data archiving capacity. The T10000B emulates the 3592 mainframe tape drive and attaches to FICON or Fibre Channel ports and offers 4 Gb/sec of data transfer bandwidth. The uncompressed channel rate on Fibre Channel ports is 120 MB/sec for the unit, and with a 4 Gb/sec Fibre Channel port it can deliver 360 MB/sec of data transfer bandwidth with compression on. (It takes about 2.5 hours to back up 1 TB of data in native, uncompressed mode.) It costs a stunning $37,000 for the T10000B drive.
IBM’s TS1130 tape drive also emulates the 3592 mainframe tape drive (which is supported on a variety of proprietary, Unix, Windows, and Linux servers as well), but has a native data transfer rate of 160 MB/sec. The unit is compatible with 3592-1, 3592-2, and 3592-3 formats, both rewritable and WORM formats. The unit also includes an optional encryption module, which can protect data stored on the tapes from being hacked. IBM will release the TS1130 tape drive on September 5, and is charging $39,050 for a new unit and $19,500 for upgrades from prior 3592-compatible drives.