back to article Oracle unrolls tape roadmap

Details have emerged from yesterday's webcast of Oracle's tape roadmap showing three format and SL8500 library, reaching a 20TB cartridge and 2 exabyte library in 2015. As we thought it is a three-generation job, starting off from the current T10k-B tape format with 1TB raw capacity and a 120MB/sec throughput. The current …


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Great info, thanks!

I was unable to attend yesterday. Thank you for the details of the webcast.

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People have a tendency to disregard tape.

In an era of cheap disk drives, "Who needs it"

Consider the number of parts in a tape cartridge Vs a hard drive.

Part failure on tape cartridge. Mostly passive (but high precision parts). Ultimately disassemble cartridge and put tape in temporary new one. Recover data.

Part failure on hard drive. Spare hard drive board? Component level fault finding skills? Access to proprietary ASICs if necessary?

Not forgetting the rare (but not unknown) hard drive head crash.

Tape drives *are* expensive, but they can be replaced while leaving the data intact.

Try that outside of specially built hardware delivering a class 10 clean room environment around an open drive.

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But tape is also non infallible

Tapes wear off with every use, they tend to stretch. Stored incorrectly they won't last very long.

You can replace the electronics and mechanics of a disk drive for about the same price as a tape drive, every serious data recovery company does that on a daily basis.

Tape certainly has it's advantages, but it's not the all perfect world some people claim it to be.

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Not completely sure what you're trying to say.

Yes, tapes wear out. All things do. Tape media is cheap, holds a lot, and doesn't take up much space or power to store on a shelf or inside a jukebox. You'd be hard pressed to find a shop that does not back up to tape even if they backup to drives. No one wants to be in a position where they can't recover their data if something bad happens. Tape also allows you to send/store copies offsite with no need for anything other than a compatible drive to recover. Another advantage with tape is that you can also have the backup software create multiple copies of data crossing multiple tapes in the event a tape gets eaten by a drive. All automated.

There are also setups (usually in mainframe shops) where storage is tiered to tape if it isn't used often.


The benefit of tape...

The clear benefit of tape is twofold: Cold storage and ability to offsite the media.

Note I havnt included the cost per megabyte. That is because cost of ownership of tape once you include a tape library, tape drives and increased administration make direct price comparison between disk and tapes very difficult.

Now you can achieve cold storage with disk through spin down but there arent many large scale solutions that do this. The troubled Copan I guess being the exception. Possibly ProStor RDX solution does also.

You can offsite disk with the RDX devices that basically emulate tape but store to a removable hard disk. At this point this isnt common that the time will come.

Both disk and tape have different environmental issues but tapes are more sensitive. In regions with high humidity or dusty, tapes dont last unless you keep them in environmentally controlled conditions. Disk being sealed units will function in places that tapes cant.

Tapes have very long load and seek times. Tapes can have great transfer rates BUT they need to be fed data at a constant rate otherwise additional wear to the tape and the tape drive occur as they have to reposition themselves. Disk solutions dont suffer with any of those issues.

Tapes, by and large, are a pain in the arse.

Tapes still have a purpose but there are compelling reasons to why people are moving away from tape in droves.


Old saying

You can't beat the bandwidth of a box of tapes sent FedEx overnight, but the latency will kill you.

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It is quite common to not update robotic tape libraries when updating tape drives

Robotic tape libraries are made to handle updates to the tape drives they interface with. The tape drives they contain and the interfaces to those tape drives are updated periodically.

Increased speed comes from updated tape drives and their updated interfaces. Increased

capacity comes from storing more data per tape. No need to change how many tapes

the tape library holds.

Robotic tape library companies that make tape libraries that can't be updated to newer

tape drives disappear quickly from the market.

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