Tape is still the leader in data backup

    For a long time we did not talk about the classic data backup systems - tape libraries. After all, whatever some storage vendors (focused exclusively on disk devices) say, tape libraries remain the most important means of backup and long-term archiving. In 2012, a survey was conducted among North American CIOs regarding their plans for using tapes. So, 87% confirmed that they will increase their use or, at least, will leave it at the same level. And who is the leading manufacturer of tape libraries? According to storagenewsletter.com, HP leads the way, selling 31% of devices in 2012, nearly twice the size of its closest competitor. Despite the fact that HP supports the DDS and LTO standards, today we’ll only talk about the latter, because

    In 2013, the lineup has changed quite a lot compared to last year. Firstly, at the end of 2012. a new generation of LTO-6 drives was released, which made it possible to increase the capacity of one cartridge by more than two times compared to LTO-5 - up to 6.25TB (taking into account compression), and the recording speed increased by almost one and a half times - up to 1.44TB / hour. All this allowed a significant increase in storage density, while the cost per terabyte decreased.

    Starting with the fifth version of the Ultrium standard, the Linear Tape File System (LTFS) on tape has become available. This file system allows you to work with LTO-5 and 6 cartridges on external tape drives with both a USB device (flash memory) and an external drive. LTFS uses the first tape tracks for the file system index.

    The exclusive feature of the HP Ultrium Tape Drives - a system for comparing and adjusting the speed of recording to tape with the incoming data stream - allows the device to dynamically and continuously synchronize its speed with the speed of data transfer from the server. This feature allows you to increase the speed of reading and writing data to tape and the reliability of both the drive itself and the tape cartridge. The reliability of the drive and cartridge is also provided by a special mechanism for automatically positioning the cartridge when it is loaded and a mechanism for automatically cleaning the read / write heads.

    Another new useful feature is HP's proprietary utility, TapeAssure. It improves the efficiency of using tape libraries and cartridges, providing proactive monitoring of the status, performance, degree of use and health of drives, as well as backup tools. This software is available for free download.

    HP sells both individual drives (they can be installed in special rack shelves) and tape libraries. Tape libraries are designed for automated data backup. The simultaneous use of multiple tape drives increases library performance and reduces the time it takes to write and read backups. Libraries are equipped with external SAS, SCSI, or Fiber Channel interfaces, allowing simultaneous connection to multiple servers and integration into a SAN storage network.

    The range of products for automated backups includes entry-level devices: Autoloader 1/8 G2 autoloader and MSL2024 and MSL4048 tape libraries, MSL 6480 mid-range tape libraries and ESL-G3 enterprise-level tape libraries.

    The autoloader supports only one tape drive with SCSI, SAS or FC interface and has only 8 tape slots.
    Libraries of the MSL series (including models: 2024, 4048, 8048, 8096) can already support several tape drives (with SCSI, SAS or FC interface) and have a significantly larger capacity due to the increased number of slots.
    Models MSL8048 and MSL8096, as well as the EML line, are discontinued, they are replaced by the new model MSL 6480, which was announced in the summer of 2013. and supports scaling within one rack to 7 modules. Each module supports up to 6 half-height drives, up to 80 cartridges, up to 240 TB (compression 1: 2.5). When installing 7 6480 modules in a single server rack, you can get up to 42 drives per rack with a total cartridge volume of up to 3.5 PB and a write speed of up to 60 TB / hour

    HP StoreEver MSL Tape Libraries

    MSL libraries support the ability to create multiple virtual libraries (partitions) within the same physical device. Also, to increase capacity and speed, you can combine two MSL libraries into one logical library using a special mechanism installed in the tape drive slot.

    Libraries of the Hi-End class - ESL-G3 - have only a cabinet version in separate modules (cabinets). These libraries can be scaled horizontally, i.e., using special mechanisms, up to 16 modules can be combined into a single library. Such a single library will have a common tape pool available for any tape drive, regardless of which of the individual ESL-G3 library modules it is located in.

    The ESL-G3 library can support up to 12 tape drives and up to 306 slots in the control module. The expansion module supports up to 12 tape drives and up to 444 slots. In its maximum configuration, the ESL-G3 library can support up to 96 tape drives and more than 11,000 slots. ESL-G3 only supports FC interface - 4 Gb / s or 8 Gb / s.

    The ESL-G3 is highly available with tape drives, redundant fans and hot-swappable power supplies. In addition, ESL-G3 libraries support the ability to reserve access channels to both tape drives and the library robot.

    In June 2013, High Density Expansion Modules for up to 780 cartridges were announced for ESL-G3 models. Using these expansion modules, the number of supported slots almost doubled from 7100 to 11600, which is equivalent to 72 PB of data (including compression). This density was achieved due to a change in the design of the modules - now the slots are located on a rotating drum along which the robot slides. Robots in the ESL-G3 library now work in Active / Active mode (in previous Active / Passive models), which has increased the library's performance.

    Thus, the updated lineup of HP tape libraries is great for organizations of all sizes - from a small office to a corporate data center.

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