Sun, IBM Each Claim Firsts in Tape Storage

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-07-15 Print this article Print

Rivals Sun and IBM launch 1TB tape drives one day apart. Sun claims it was the first such storage tape device. IBM says its storage offering is faster.

Sun Microsystems on July 14 launched the world's first enterprise tape drive capable of carrying 1 terabyte worth of data. A day later, rival IBM July 15 followed suit with its own 1TB drive that it claims is the fastest on the market.

These aren't storage drives for the faint of wallet. Sun's costs about $37,000 plus tax, and IBM's retails for a tad more at $39,050.

The Sun StorageTek T10000B tape drive, which uses wired-Fibre Channel connectivity and is described by the company as "eco-efficient" due to its low power usage, can be deployed in either open or mainframe-system environments.

The T10000B provides for media re-use and backward read/write compatibility, allowing users who standardized on earlier versions of the T10000 product line to gain double capacity on existing cartridges.

It will be available late this month. More information is available here.

IBM's System Storage TS1130 tape drive features an I/O rate of 160MB per second, slightly faster than Sun's 120MB per second. One terabyte of capacity can house the text of about 1 million books, an IBM spokesperson said.

The new tape drive is aimed at midsized, as well as enterprise clients, across financial, life sciences and public sector industries who are seeking massive data protection, compliance and archive solutions needed over the long term. It is designed to be utilized alongside IBM's tape virtualization and automation software. 

The TS1130 uses a GMR (Giant Magnetoresistive) sensitive read/write head design that results in fewer data read errors, the company claims.

The tape drive uses existing No. 3592 rewritable and WORM cartridges. It offers backward compatibility with support for IBM generation 1, 2 and 3 systems; it supports read and write for generation 2 and read only for generation 1.

It also supports drive-based data encryption. The TS1130-based encryption and associated Encryption Key Manager are compatible with a variety of operating system environments, including Windows, Linux and Unix.

The TS1130 will be available worldwide direct from the company and from resellers Sept. 5. IBM is also offering an upgrade from existing drives for $19,500 and backward media compatibility. For more information, go here.


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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