Oracle Unveils New StorageTek Library Extension for Mainframes

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 J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...