Oracle Heading Toward Exabyte-Level Tape Storage

StorageTek T10000C Tape Drive features 5TB native capacity per cartridge and 240Mb-per-second native throughput, which the company says is three times the capacity of any system now available.

It's been a full year since Oracle closed its $7.4 billion deal to acquire Sun Microsystems and all its hardware businesses, but it's still a little strange to see news about new Oracle data center hardware.

The world's second-largest business software maker on Jan. 31 launched a powerful new StorageTek tape system that it claims can expand to become the world's first exabyte-capable system.

The StorageTek T10000C Tape Drive features 5TB native capacity per cartridge and 240Mb-per-second native throughput, which the company claims is more than three times the capacity -- and with 50 to 70 percent faster data movement -- than any current tape drive, including LTO-5 and the IBM TS1130.

The T10000C system, which includes in-line encryption as part of its security package, is designed to scale to 500PB of native capacity within one file system, Tom Wultich, Oracle's director of product management for tape, told eWEEK.

But the capacity ceiling can accordion to much more than that, he said.
"If you take open systems backup and assume a 2:1 compression, then you have the world's first exabyte storage pool," Wultich said. "And then we can scale up to 500TB per hour of native throughput."

Enormous Capacity Not Everyone Will Need

Not everybody will want or need to build a tape storage system of that size, but some users will be interested to know about the long-range possibilities.

Citing publicly available data sheets from IBM and EMC, Wultich said the T10000C stores 17 times more data in one tape library unit and provides five times faster data movement than IBM's TS1130 system. Versus EMC's comparable external disk product, it can store about 30 times the capacity and offers whopping 50 times the performance, Wultich said.

Systems with these enormous capacities are aimed at vertical markets that include telecommunications providers, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas exploration, military applications, government scientific labs, entertainment media, and health care, Wultich said.

T10000C will work across existing data center storage tiers with mainframes, open systems or tape-tier archives using Oracle's Sun Storage Archive Manager, Wultich said. It is optimized, however, to work with Oracle's relatively new Exadata Database server.

In mainframe environments, the StorageTek T10000C (with Oracle's StorageTek Virtual Storage Manager) provides of policy-based management across Fibre Channel disk, SAS disk, fast access tape, and high capacity tape, Wultich said.

The new tape drive also runs with leading third-party operating systems, open systems storage management products and mainframe storage management software, Wultich said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...