New LTO 9 Gear, SAN Switch On Tap From IBM
November 29, 2021 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops facing a storage crunch may be interested in new tape products unveiled by IBM last week, including a new LTO 9 tape drive and LTO 9 compatibility for an existing tape autoloader and an existing tape library. Big Blue also announced LTO 9 compatibility for an existing storage enclosure, and a new 48-port c-type switch for connecting SAN environments.
IBM’s LTO fun starts with the IBM TS2290 SAS Tape Drive Model H9S, a half-height drive based on the new LTO 9 Ultrium specification. The TS2290 connects to hosts – including Power servers running IBM i, AIX, and Linux – via a pair of 12 Gb/sec SAS interfaces, and can be used as an external, stand-alone, or rack mountable drive. Two TS2290s can be mounted side-by-side in a 19-inch rack, occupying 2U of space.
The TS2290 sports data transfer rates of up to 300 MB/sec and up to 750 MB/sec with 2.5 to 1 compression. That is 25 percent slower than what full-height drives are capable of, and on par with full-height LTO 8 drives. This particular drive has a 1GB internal buffer, which is what IBM includes in its full-height drives, and can write to LTO 8 and LTO 9 cartridges, the latter of which sports a native capacity of 18 TB, or 45 TB with compression.
The TS2290 is the second LTO 9 drive announced by IBM. In September, IBM announced the F9C, F9S, and S9C, which are full-height drives designed to go in IBM’s TS4500 tape library. For more information, see IBM hardware announcement 121-086.
Last week, IBM also announced that its TS4300 tape library is now compatible with the full complement of LTO 9 drives, including its half-height and full-height 12 Gb/sec SAS drives and its half-height and full-height FC drives.
In its base configuration, the TS4300 can accommodate three LTO half-height tape drives or one full-height and one half-height drive. It can also hold up to 40 data cartridge slots in two removable magazines, including a standard five-cartridge I/O station. In its maximum configuration (one base module and six expansion units), the TS4300 tape library can accommodate up to 21 half-height drives or seven full-height tape drives. For more information, see IBM hardware announcement 121-085.
IBM also announced its TS2900 Tape Autoloader can now accept the new 12Gbps half-height LTO 9 drives. Big Blue describes its TS2900 as a compact, entry-level designed for capacity and performance. It sports a single removable magazine with nine LTO cartridge slots, and a single I/O station. A barcode reader enables the TS2900 to operate in sequential or random access fashion, IBM says, and remote management capabilities. For more information, see IBM hardware announcement 121-087.
Also gaining support for the new half-height LTO 9 drives is the IBM 7226 Model 1U3 Multimedia Enclosure, which can be used to house external tape, removable disk drives, and DVD-RAM drives. Power server customers (including IBM i) can now use the 7226 to house tape drives that connect via SAS, USB, and FC; DVD-RAM optical drives, and RDX removable drives. For more information, see IBM hardware announcement 121-088.
Finally, IBM unveiled a new family of 48-port, c-type SAN switches for connecting servers to storage area network (SAN) arrays (c-type refers to Cisco type switches). The IBM Storage Networking SAN192C-6, SAN384C-6, and SAN768C-6 deliver 64 Gb/sec of I/O bandwidth over FC connections.
According to IBM, the new 48-port 64 Gbps switching module delivers “full-duplex aggregate performance of 3072 Gbps, making it well-suited for high-speed 64 Gb/sec storage subsystems, 64 Gb/sec Inter-Switch Links (ISLs), high-performance virtualized servers, and NVMe and all-flash arrays.”
The switching module is hot swappable and compatible with 16 Gb/sec and 32 Gb/sec FC interfaces, IBM says, and works with “small form-factor pluggable (SFP+) transceivers.” Individual ports can be configured with 64, 32, and 16 Gb/sec SFP+ transceivers, the company says. The modules required Cisco’s NX-OS version 9 or later. For more information, see the IBM hardware announcement 121-090.
December 3 is the ship date for all five of the storage announcements discussed here.