IBM Ships First Ultra-Linear Tape

FRAMINGHAM (08/17/2000) - IBM Corp. will be the first to ship tape drives and libraries next week that double the performance and capacity of backup products for mid-range and large enterprise networks, the company claims.

The products, which use Linear Tape Open (LTO) technology, are dubbed the IBM UltraScalable Tape Library, the Ultrium Tape Autoloader and the Ultrium Tape Library. Each uses a technology that can back up 10M bytes to 20 M bytes of uncompressed data per second on tapes with up to 100G bytes of capacity. They operate on Windows NT, Windows 2000, Unix, RS/6000 and AS/400 networks.

The LTO standard is the result of work from a consortium of vendors consisting of IBM, Seagate Technology Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. that calls for interoperability among tape drives. Any tape written on an IBM drive can read be read on a drive manufactured by any other LTO vendor and vice versa. LTO also ensures that as capability is added in future products, they are backward-compatible with older products.

The Ultrium Tape Autoloader can hold up to seven tape cartridges and has an upper capacity of 700G bytes. The Utrium Tape Library has a capacity of over 7 terabytes. The UltraScalable Tape Library, which can hold more than 2,400 tape cartridges, has an upper capacity of over 240 terabytes and will hold Digital Linear Tape format tapes, as well.

The tape drives and libraries can be configured to support storage area networks (SAN) and serverless backup, in which traffic is removed from the server, thus freeing processing cycles. They also can be shared among a mix of different vendors' servers. IBM will preview Fibre Channel support for these drives next year, which presently require a SCSI-to-Fibre-Channel router to connect to SANs. In October, IBM will add support for Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris and Hewlett-Packard environments. Linux support will be available next year.

LTO is a $5 billion market this year, according to IDC.

Prices start at $9,250.

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