back to article Sun unfolds 1TB of tape

Sun has introduced the world's first tape kit to hold one terabyte of raw data, the StorageTek T10000B. Sun's new T10000B tape drive can read and write existing T10000A tape media and also reformat it at the new, higher density. A library of T10000A media can, in theory, now hold the same information as before but on half the …


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  1. damonlab

    cost not justified

    $37,000 - are they crazy?

    LTO-4 drives are easily under $5000.

    Who in their right mind would pay over 700 % more for a device that is only a 25 % improvement?

  2. vincent himpe

    big whoop

    seagate has 1.5 tyerabyte drives .

    Just use removable drives in trays. They are way cheaper, have a much faster access( especially random access ! ) and occupy the same space . And you don't need a 30.000 dollar drive either....

  3. brian

    For 37G's can we get good software?

    For something as important as backup's, why does enterprise backup software suck so incredibly much? It's the worst part of Enterprise computing. If I'm spending this much, can I get software worth a *&%$#*&$@#*%&$^@#&*$^@#$&%*@#?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Um, fact check, please..

    So my IBM TS1120's with 700GB native capacity don't really exist? And what's the compression ration on these - if rated at 2:1, the TS1120 with 3:1 on a 700GB cart is the same.

    Paris, as maybe she could have done the math. OK, maybe not...

  5. NoCo37


    Imagine how much personal data could be lost given one of these tapes.


  6. etabeta
    Paris Hilton

    Useless obsolete overpriced hardware

    If that was 1 PB and not 1 TB I could understand the pricetag of $37,000; but with low-cost 1.5TB HDs available, I think that this kind of storage is way obsolete amd dead. For the same money one can buy - at retail prices - 150 1.5 Terabyte drives and that is 0.22 PB of reliable storage space. I have used tape backups before (10 years ago) and I can assure you that they were really TERRIBLE. Forget about that 600000ms access time, no use commenting on that; but what really turned me off was the high amount of unrecoverable errors that occurred even with relatively new tapes.

    Paris, because even she would know better not to use crap like this!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    read the words....

    @vincent himpe

    Have you ever seen a tape library that can handle hot-swappable disk drives? I haven't. They're hardly likely to replace tape.


    Of course your TS1120s exist, but they are ONLY 700GB native capacity with the extended capacity cartridges. Did you read the article? The new STK is 1TB native. No point comparing TS1120 compressed with these new drives uncompressed.

    Well I'm impressed, but I'm still happy with LTO-4.

  8. David Wilkinson

    tapes are a bit safer in some ways

    hard drives are more delicate and less reliable for long term storage

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The appeal of tapes is that you can make offsite backups, and if the drive itself fails you can still recover the data on another drive. Hard discs are usually only the first choice of people/companies who have never experienced a disc failure. Hard discs can fail in spectacular and unexpected ways, even if they aren't being actively used, and recovering data from a damaged disc is usually a lost cause.

    -Been there.

  10. frankgobbo

    Tape versus HD

    I recently did a stint at a very large hardware/services vendor, managing backups for a very very large Telco and I can tell you tape isn't dead.

    As much as new hard drives are coming into the market, no enterprise would be caught dead storing long term data on a SATA hard disk. We were managing something around 30 silos per site, each with 6,400 tapes in it, a great many of which had to be stored offsite.

    Until a) hard drives have the reliability of tapes (as said above, HDs can fail even when not in use) and b) there's realistic HARD DRIVE robots which can physically eject them and send them for storage, they're useless.

    I can't imagine the man hours it would have required for a person to do all that tape swapping.

    When you're pushing 60+ PB of data in a month, there is simply no better way of doing it than tape, and at that kind of level the companies involved REALLY don't give a toss about the cost of the operation. They need customer records and tax details RELIABLY kept for anywhere from 7 to 100 years.

  11. ed
    Paris Hilton


    @ AC

    There is always the Spectra logic T950 (and other spectra products) that use a box of hard drives instead of tapes.

    @ brian

    Too true, but you know it'll have some poor command line interface that's about as intuitive as a fabric switch

    Paris because she is intuitive.

  12. Trygve Henriksen


    Did you use DAT or Video8 tapes for backup back then?

    Both of those formats are punishable by firings squad as the tapes were never designed with backup purposes in mind.

    Both systems tends to stretch the tapes so that not only do you get frequent read errors, but you also end up with tapes which only works in the drive they were originally written.

    This is not a problem with SLR, DLT and LTO tapes.

    With modern formats I have two problems:

    1. The 2:1 compression...

    I've never seen better than 1.4:1 on our systems.

    (A lot of binary files - including 3TB of .jpg - doesn't compress that much... )

    2. You don't have a mechanical eject.

    Very funny if the drive is shot and you need to dismantle it to get the tape out. (I recently had to return a crapped out SDLT drive, and spent an hour to get the tape out. Left a note in the box about it, too. Don't care about 'no user serviceable parts' and 'do not open' stickers. My tape, my DATA. )

    Enterprise backup systems sucks.

    Disaster recovery functionality costs extra...

    Weird, when it was included for free in IBM's Dualstore package for OS/2 waaay back when... (You had to make a couple of boot floppies for it, but still... )

  13. E_Nigma

    @Trygve Henriksen

    3TB of .jpg? That's a lot of porn!

  14. Andrew Baines Silver badge

    And the question we all want answered

    Just how long is the tape in one of these?

  15. Tom

    @Andrew Baines

    16 furlongs and a chain.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    "Of course your TS1120s exist, but they are ONLY 700GB native capacity with the extended capacity cartridges. Did you read the article? The new STK is 1TB native. No point comparing TS1120 compressed with these new drives uncompressed."

    Check your facts... The TS1120 is 700GB *native* with newer cartridges, compression is on top of that and you'll usually get about 2TB on tape depending on the type of data. The older cartridges are 500GB native. Eg. database data will usually do 3:1 compression on these drives.

  17. Jonathan Adams

    Disk versus Tape

    Disks aren't known for their reliability, however newer disks are more reliable.

    We are implementing a new system, using hard disks, for long term backup because we cannot justify the excessive cost of the latest tape drive systems.

    we have:

    3 x 1TB disks (mixed batches) running ZFS mirror/spare in our main building (UPS'd to clean electrical noise),

    3 x 1TB disks running in identical configuration in our seperate building near by, ZFS snapshot'd very regularly

    3 x 1TB disks in the same configuration at our offsite storage, ZFS snapshot'd on a daily basis.

    that will store just under a years worth of data.

    these disks will be stored in fireproof/airtight safes at different locations, and in general not kept electronically active.

    The cost of 9 disks, 3 safes and associated computers still costs less than the cost of that tape drive system.

    These drives are only used for backup, the Live system runs on other raided disk drives

    If my boss has his way, we'll have at least 1 more site added to that list ... :)

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Offsite backup

    I just use one of these:

    ...and a bunch of these:

    Cheap, fast (esata) and random access restores. Admittedly, I am not dealing with exabytes of data, but for the amount of data I do need to backup, this is definately preferable to tape.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    Yes - that's exactly what I said. TS1120 is 700GB uncompressed with the extended capacity cartridges. So maybe 1.4TB or more compressed.

    The new STK drive is 1TB uncompressed, so maybe 2TB uncompressed.

    How can you say that the TS1120 is bigger/better?

    Compression ratios don't vary significantly depending on the drive, they just vary depending on the data.

  20. regadpellagru
    Thumb Down

    Why still invest in proprietary techno ?

    Same thing as others, I can't see why SUN/STK still invest in a proprietary techno, which is only a couple of dozens of percent more capacitive than the widely deployed LTO4.

    Back in 2000, 9840 and 9940 made sense since they were a lot better than LTO/DLT, but that is simply not true anymore.

    Sure, raping captive customers recklessly with a whoping 37 kUSD per drive and who knows how much per tape (200 USD ?), is bringing some revenue, but I doubt it will work nowadays with so late new products (latest SL 3000 model) and their f***ing ACSLS in lieu of modern dual-path FC access.

    As for disks vs. tapes, disks is just easier at the cost of more risk. It's all mecanical and rotating pieces ....

  21. Tawakalna

    how effing much?

    yeh I can really see our FD signing off on £20K for a tape drive to back up a bit more data on a slightly bigger tape. I'm sure that he'd react in most calm and reasonable manner as he stuffed the capex up my *rse.

    p.s. don't promote Overclockers, they are devil-spawn.

  22. Edward

    @Trygve Henriksen

    "(A lot of binary files - including 3TB of .jpg - doesn't compress that much... )"

    Thats because JPG is already compressed, as are almost all media files nowdays.

    Compression 101:


    5A6B6C => 5A6B6C

    Can't compress the compressed....

  23. Trygve Henriksen


    I wish it was porn...

    @Edward; yes, I know about how compression works.

    I meant the comment more generally, and tried to indicate that a lot of the files were in a format not suited for compression, and that the 2:1 compression all manufacturers likes to tout is a myth.

    (I bet no one here can show 2:1 compression on their tapes. Unless they're just backing up M$ office files... )

  24. braemar Bartlett

    why would you spend this much for 1TB?

    why would anyone spend 37,000 on a tape system, when you could spend, iduno, a couple hundred bucks for a hdd? jeez. lets say a 1TB HDD costs $500 (which in reality it's MUCH less) you could get 74 HDDs for the same price, which more than counteracts the reliability issues with HDDs. stupid people.

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