Sun Debuts New Tape Drive

T10000 features encryption, faster throughput speeds.

Sun Microsystems Inc. is guiding tape drive technology from its Storage Technology Corp. acquisition toward an interconnected systems approach featuring data management and security capabilities.

Sun last week unveiled its T10000 enterprise tape drive at StorageTeks annual Forum customer conference. The new box features a significant upgrade over StorageTeks T9940B drive with a throughput rate of 120MB per second, capacity of up to 500GB uncompressed, and Fibre Channel and FICON (Fibre Connection) dual-port connectivity, said officials of the Santa Clara, Calif., company.

Positioned by Sun to be its flagship tape product equipped to respond to evolving IT environments, the T10000 offers a 250 percent increase in density and a 400 percent increase in throughput speeds over the T9940B device. Future generations of the device will provide additional capacity to 1TB uncompressed on a single cartridge.

For its security underpinning, the T10000 will integrate Suns VolSafe WORM media and new SafeGuide media-to-drive guiding system, enabling the hardware to offer drive-level encryption to secure against unauthorized data access. The encryption portion of the T10000 will ship by the middle of next year.

According to Sun officials, next year the company will also release a new key management system designed to work with multiple types of devices.

Suns Data Management Group—which has become the companys de facto storage division since the StorageTek acquisition—is emphasizing to customers the need for sturdier tape drives that will be run harder and longer behind virtualization within Suns grid infrastructure and utility computing push.

Charles Curran, a storage consultant with CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, said CERNs storage environment must be prepared to withstand a significant data problem in 2007. At that time, CERN will be forced to deal with data delivery at 4GB per second and keep up to 15 petabytes of information every year for as long as 20 years from experiments run on its Large Hadron Collider.

"We really are looking for a drive and media that gives us a very dense storage capacity. The [T10000] has a very high data rate and lets us think we can archive this sort of rate with a reasonable amount of equipment," said Curran. "Being public, we have to be reasonably economic, and its a real advantage for us to have a fast drive; and the density of the drive means we dont need many of them."

Curran, who has successfully put 3TB through the T10000 drive, said the new Sun and StorageTek marriage bodes well for the future development of tape drives suited to rapidly increasing computing complexities.

"It looks as though it will be a benefit for the tape part of that combined business. Im not sure [StorageTek] always had the resources to follow their plans, as it used to take some time for a product to appear or repositioning occurred from shortage of resources. This merger with Sun seems to offer them out of that problem," said Curran.

Also, last week Sun introduced a new version of its Java Availability Suite bolstered by the addition of Sun Cluster Geographic Edition. The multisite disaster recovery offering provides storage and host-based replication, centralized management, and simplified means to configure cluster pairs.