SNW - IBM fattens tape capacity to 700G bytes

IBM introduced Tuesday a 700G-byte capacity tape cartridge and a flexible warranty program for its DS8000 storage server

IBM has made a pair of tape storage product improvements, including the introduction of a tape cartridge that holds 700G bytes of data.

IBM also said Tuesday it is offering a new flexible warranty option on its DS8000 Turbo storage server. Customers have the option of paying a full four-year warranty up front or pay in one-year increments up to four years.

IBM made the announcements at Storage Networking World in Orlando.

The 700G-byte capacity cartridge has 40 percent more room for data storage than IBM's current model. Because more data can be stored on the new tape, called IBM System Storage 3599 Tape Media, fewer tapes will be needed in a data center, saving room, said Charlie Andrews, director of system storage products for IBM.

"The key thing is the efficiency of storing more data in the same physical space," Andrews said."A 40 percent increase in capacity is a significant improvement."

The 700G-byte cartridges are available in formats for permanent read-only archiving and for data that can be erased and overwritten, he said. The cartridges go on sale Jan. 26, 2007, at US$5,400 for a package of 20.

Although the 700G-byte cartridges will save space, a data center won't want to use them to replace all their existing tapes, said Dianne McAdam, director of enterprise information assurance at the industry research firm Clipper Group. It will take longer to search through a 700G-byte cartridge than a 500G-byte cartridge for the data being sought, she said, so the larger capacity cartridges would be best suited for long-term storage.

At the same event, IBM introduced flexibility into its warranty program by allowing customers to choose the length of the warranty on their DS8000, said Andrews. Currently, the price of a DS8000 includes a four-year warranty. But under the Enterprise Choice warranty program available starting Nov. 17, the DS8000 can be purchased with a one-, two-, three- or four-year warranty. The one-year warranty model starts at $178,000 and the price goes up as years are added.

IBM had previously offered only the four-year warranty but often negotiated the price down for customers who wanted a shorter warranty because they didn't plan to keep the storage device that long, said McAdam. The new flexible warranty simply formalizes what had been informally negotiated in the past, she said.

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