Were Talking Exabytes of Storage Here

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-05-11 Print this article Print

IBM this week introduced the IT industry's first tape library system that can provide more than 2.7 exabytes of automated storage, Balog said. An exabyte is rather a lot of capacity; it is represented by 1 followed by 18 zeros. One of those is enough to store about three times all the mobile data generated in the United States in 2010, Balog said.

Suffice to say IBM is basically providing unlimited storage now in a single tape system, provided the user wants branch it out to its maximum size. Each of the cartridges in the new system holds 4TB of data, and this new library can hold multiple thousands of cartridges.

IBM's System Storage TS3500 Tape Library, launched this week, can grow for Big Data workloads thanks to a newly developed shuttle addition -- a mechanical attachment that connects multiple tape libraries to create a single, high-capacity library complex (pictured).

Balog said the TS3500 offers a whopping 80 percent more capacity than a comparable Oracle tape library and is currently the highest-capacity library in the world.

To help users run this huge tape library, IBM also made available new file system access to select IBM tape libraries with the IBM Linear Tape File System Library Edition (LTFS LE). LTFS clients can now more efficiently index, search, retrieve and share data stored on Generation 5 LTO tape, an open tape storage format, Balog said.

What kinds of IT organizations need these humongous libraries? "There are more than you might think," Balog told eWEEK. "Organizations studying genomics. CERN [the think tank in Switzerland], oil and gas exploration systems, weather-prediction systems -- they all need to store, back up and archive huge amounts of data and be able to access it as needed."

Clustering Secret Sauce Gets Upgrade, Too

IBM's storage clustering IT, the Scale-out Network Attached Storage (SONAS) system and Information Archive, got an upgrade this week. SONAS, which can scale to more than 14 petabytes of clustered storage, now offers double the throughput of its predecessor, as well as faster response times. SONAS provides support for antivirus applications to offer protection from malware with the ability to scan archived data and isolate or delete compromised files, Balog said.

SONAS also can use an open standard protocol called NDMP, enabling clients to back up and protect large amounts of data in SONAS using ISV applications that support NDMP.

Balog said IBM has added a "many-to-many" replication feature to IBM System Storage TS7650 ProtecTIER Deduplication solutions that will allow enterprises with multiple data centers to automatically replicate backup data between locations, so that multiple copies of critical data can be stored and quickly restored if needed.

Finally, IBM's TS7700 Virtual Tape Library product line has been upgraded to double the number of virtual tape cartridges it can contain to 2 million, Balog said.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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