The magnetic tape format, used since the earliest digital computers, has been eclipsed by hard disk drives and flash memory drives as the preferred medium in recent years, but it is still in use for preserving large amounts of critical long-term information in data centers, large enterprises and other facilities.
IBM is one of the leading companies in this type of storage and has just introduced a new magnetic tape drive, with more than twice the storage capacity of previous models. It should help cloud storage providers and other enterprise customers store extreme amounts of data more efficiently.
The company’s new IBM TS1170 drive can store 50 TBytes of uncompressed data per tape cartridge using the new JF media type. Using 3:1 compression extends the capability to 150TB. The technology represents a 250 percent increase over the TS1160 drive and JE media, which reached 20TB uncompressed and 60TB compressed. In addition, the TS1170 manages a 400 MB/s native data ratewhich increases to 900 MB/s when handling compressed data.
IBM’s new drive comes in two types: the Model 70F with a dual-port 16Gb Fiber Channel interface and the 70S with a dual-port 12Gb SAS interface. The 70F also supports standalone installations via traditional Fiber Channel host connection for cloud-based and open computing setups.
Additionally, a 3U form factor rack-mount kit makes the 70F compatible with most 19-inch racks, allowing installation from the front or rear without tools. The equipment is compatible with the IBM TS4500 Tape Library and is RoHS-3 compliant.
Other features of the TS1170 include speed matching, high-resolution tape directory, channel calibration, dynamic adaptive equalization, capacity scaling, WORM (write once, read many) storage, data compression, and more. Encryption works through the IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager and can be managed by library or application.
Unfortunately, switching to a new cartridge form factor means that the TS1170 lacks compatibility with cartridges used by older drive modelssuch as types E or D. Also, the drive does not currently support connections to an IBM TS7700 and only one system can use the TS1170 at a time.