Oracle Unveils New StorageTek Library Extension for Mainframes

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-10-27 Print this article Print

Oracle is positioning the extension as a highly scalable additional tier of disk and tape storage for mainframes, although it also can be used in x86-based systems.

Oracle, which hasn't revealed all that much about how it intends to keep developing its Sun StorageTek franchise since the Sun Microsystems acquisition 10 months ago, on Oct. 27 introduced a new Virtual Library Extension that adds new-generation storage tiering into mainframe environments.

Oracle is positioning the new library extension as a highly scalable additional tier of disk and tape storage that can only be used in mainframe systems with Virtual Storage Manager Release 5.

Virtual storage libraries-which can entail physical tape and/or various types of disk storage-all look the same to a virtualized storage system. These are most often considered Tier 2 storage for mainframes and Tier 3 or offline storage for x86 and Unix-based data centers, which most often rely on in-memory or solid-state Tier 1 storage for hot data and SATA disk storage for nearline, Tier 2 storage.

Oracle claimed that the library extension, which can handle Fibre Channel disks, SAS disks and physical tape storage, has twice the disk scalability of IBM mainframe tape systems.

Like IBM, StorageTek is a data storage senior citizen that has earned its stripes in the enterprise over a span of two generations.

"Since its inception more than 40 years ago, the StorageTek mainframe storage business has been a driving force behind innovation in the industry," said John Fowler, former Sun hardware vice president and now Oracle's executive vice president of systems.

"This approach to mainframe tiered storage provides customers with a way to cost-effectively keep data on disk for longer time period while still leveraging the long-term cost savings of tape."

Using the StorageTek VLE, customers can keep active data on disk longer before migrating it to tape for long-term storage, Fowler said. It can also be used for archiving.

StorageTek tape libraries can support both mainframe and open standards data center environments within a single library.

They integrate natively as a data protection package with Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle 11g Recovery Manager and Oracle Secure Backup software running with Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux.

The library extension is available now, Oracle said.  Go here to read a technical overview of the VLE (PDF format).


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 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 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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