Oracle has taken the wraps off the world's first single-cartridge tape drive featuring a five-terabyte capacity. Targeted at enterprise data centers, the new StorageTek T10000C promises to deliver a low total cost of ownership with a data-center footprint that only occupies one-third to one-fifth the floor space of any other tiered storage, archiving or backup offering.
Rarely does hardware engineering deliver in a single generation a product which is multiples of the product capability before it, noted Oracle Executive Vice President John Fowler. Five terabytes on a single cartridge is "a dramatic leap in performance capacity," Fowler said. "Now Oracle can deliver 17 times the capacity and five times the performance of IBM -- allowing [enterprises] to rethink the economics of large-scale storage."
A 'Real Change' in Trajectory
According to Oracle, the T10000C offers more than three times the data capacity of other single-cartridge storage solutions while achieving tape transfer speeds that are 50 to 70 percent faster than rival tape drives. As a result, the new platform can significantly reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) for enterprises, noted Oracle Vice President James Cates.
"This is not your average enhancement -- it's a real change in the trajectory of tape products [with] a TCO that's 23 percent lower than the competition," Cates said. "Combining it with the StorageTek SL3000 and SL8500 libraries helps ensure that customers, regardless of size, can afford to retain critical data without concern for future scalability."
With the StorageTek T10000C, Oracle's aim is to help enterprise customers continue to grapple with unabated data growth, extremely long retention periods, short backup windows, and budget and floor-space constraints, said IDC Data Protection and Recovery Director Robert Amatruda. "Other tape vendors will really need to advance their offerings to match the performance of the Storage T10000C tape drive," he observed.
The European particle-physics research organization CERN, which currently stores 40 petabytes of data and expects to add another 25 petabytes each year, is currently testing Oracle's StorageTek T10000C platform.
"We can confirm the announced [performance] figures," said CERN Tape Service Manager Vladimir Bahyl. "We expect it to meet our requirements, while its unprecedented capacity and throughput will lead to additional cost savings."
Reducing Backup Windows
Achieving a native throughput of 240MB/second, the StorageTek T10000C helps alleviate data bottlenecks by enabling the streaming of data directly to the cache. Moreover, Oracle's new tape-storage platform will enable "data centers to back up 5TB of data in under six hours to a single drive," noted Clipper Group Senior Analyst David Reine.
The file-sync and tape-application accelerators aboard Oracle's new platform help to reduce the starts and stops that wear on the tape drive and media. Additionally, the new platform is backward read-compatible with previous-generation StorageTek T10000A and T10000B drives, Cates observed.
"It's all about future-proofing your environment and giving you the opportunity for growth," Cates said.
Tape remains a cost-effective storage technology, and the industry's active road maps and investments signal that it will be able to keep pace with alternate storage technologies, Amatruda observed. The technology also provides true removability to remote locations for a true disaster-recovery plan while requiring much less power and cooling than disk solutions, he added.
"As a result, at IDC we believe tape will remain a viable and cost-effective solution for the foreseeable future," Amatruda said.