Teach you how to buy a high-performance tape library

If you are an enterprise that completely follows the trend of information construction, then in terms of data storage and backup, the enterprise's system deployment mostly follows the domestic trend, that is, disks, recorders, tape drives, and automatic tape loaders enter the tape library Choice, gradually adapt to the needs of large business data concentration. Therefore, the current important tool for data storage and backup, the tape library plays an increasingly prominent role.

If you are an enterprise that completely follows the trend of information construction, then in terms of data storage and backup, the enterprise's system deployment mostly follows the domestic trend, that is, disks, recorders, tape drives, and automatic tape loaders enter the tape library Choice, gradually adapt to the needs of large business data concentration. Therefore, the current important tool for data storage and backup, the tape library plays an increasingly prominent role.

In the footsteps of development

A tape library is a cabinet-type storage device that integrates multiple tape drives into a closed system. The tape library is one of the key devices in the near-line storage system. It is composed of several tape drives, manipulators and several cassettes. It can realize automatic tape removal and loading. The capacity can reach hundreds of terabytes. It can realize intelligent recovery, real-time monitoring and statistics under the control of storage management software Meet the requirements of high speed, high efficiency, high storage capacity, and have a strong system expansion capability.

Early tape libraries were mostly used for offline storage, but with changes in market application environments and the latest data storage requirements, tape libraries have gradually become one of the most important devices in the SAN mode. During this transformation, the tape library relied on reliable data storage capabilities and massive backup capabilities to become a near-line storage device. Although it is only one step away from offline to near-line, the tape library has grown from an early independent backup device to the main storage backup. The tape library's automatic and high-speed backup and recovery of data in SAN and NAS disk arrays is irreplaceable. For the application environment of massive multimedia data, the reliability, maturity and performance-price ratio of modern tape technology in multimedia data archiving and long-term preservation application environments have been recognized.

The tape library not only has a much larger data storage capacity, but also has unparalleled advantages in terms of backup efficiency and manual occupation. In the network system, the tape library can form a network storage system through the SAN (Storage Area Network-Storage Local Area Network) system, which provides a powerful guarantee for enterprise storage. It is easy to complete remote data access, data storage backup, or achieve more through tape mirroring technology. Tape library backup is undoubtedly a good storage device for large network applications such as data warehouses and ERP.

The technical indicators of the tape library include storage capacity, number of drives, single-reel tape capacity, drive access speed, connection method, and supported management software. Generally, the tape library is divided into three levels according to the capacity: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Among them, the capacity of the primary tape library is several hundred GB to several TB, the capacity of the intermediate tape library is several TB to tens of TB, and the capacity of the advanced tape library is several tens of TB to hundreds of TB or even higher.

Find the pulse of the app

Now, more and more enterprises are increasing their expenditures on tape library equipment when deploying storage systems. However, as business requirements for intelligence increase, companies face an important issue when selecting tape libraries. This issue is also a problem they often encounter when deploying IT systems. In addition to focusing on the performance of the hardware itself In addition, we must also consider how to effectively manage the hardware, and sometimes the management expenditure may far exceed the cost of purchasing hardware. Therefore, when planning a storage system, an enterprise must consider how to control expenditures on information storage management to further reduce the total cost of ownership of the enterprise. In addition, under the emphasis on cost-effective system deployment, enterprises must also consider future business growth and ensure the maximum utilization of existing investments, so the dynamic support and scalability of the tape library should also focus on.

When purchasing a tape library, reliability, availability, scalability, and serviceability are factors that users need to consider at the overall level, that is, to put forward corresponding requirements according to the characteristics of the business. These requirements are related to storage capacity, backup interval, and response time. And advance warning. To specify these requirements to the level of technical characteristics, users need to pay attention to the following points, and these characteristics are only available on the most advanced tape library equipment currently on the market:

Whether it can give full play to the performance of the tape drive. This feature should have a data buffering function, which can send data transmission requests to the FC host and storage devices in advance to ensure that a stable data stream is input to the tape drive, so that the tape drive maintains continuous, non-stop read and write operations. This feature can not only improve the performance of data backup, but also reduce the number of tape starts and stops, reduce the wear of the head and tape, thereby increasing the life of the tape drive head and the tape itself.

Whether it has a powerful SAN function (intelligence). This feature is compatible with various SAN network protocols, and supports conversion between different protocols, such as public or private arbitrated loop (Public or Private Arbitrated Loop) FC, switched network (Fabric) FC, and point-to-point FC equipment and host, thus ensuring the efficient implementation of the tape library storage function.

Whether it has data link adjustment function (intelligence). This feature can actively send a SAN network probe signal to understand whether the SAN network path between the host, disk, and tape library is clear before large-scale data backup. If there are any accidents (such as SAN network reconfiguration, network cable interruption, etc.), you can notify the administrator to solve the problem in a timely manner to ensure normal data backup.

With the above features, even if the tape library selected by the user grasps the pulse of actual application, it can achieve never-stop business capabilities, and has remote fault tolerance management functions, simplified operation and maintenance, and cost-effective on-demand purchase Advantage.

In the future

In the future, the tape library will go further along the road of intelligence, virtualization and online. As Mr. Fred Rybczynski, senior global technical consultant of the American Advanced Digital Information Corporation (ADIC), pointed out, the intelligentization of the tape library will become the future development trend, which will bring users more economical expansion capabilities, high availability and data integrity Sex.

Mr. Rybczynski said that as HP and IBM successively introduced LTO 2 tape drives, LT0 2 will gradually become a mainstream technology to be applied. Currently, LTO 2 tape drives have a single tape capacity of 200GB, and the transfer rate varies slightly depending on the manufacturer. HP and Seagate LTO 2 tape drives have a speed of 30MB / s, and IBM products have 35MB / s. From the performance index, LTO 2 has greatly improved in capacity and transmission rate compared to LTO 1. In addition to capacity and speed, LTO 2 has also been greatly improved than LTO 1 in many ways. For example, the loading speed of the tape, LTO 1 averages 15 seconds, and LTO and 2 is accelerated to 10 seconds; the average file positioning time LTO 1 is 75 seconds, and LTO 2 is reduced to 46 seconds. In addition, when the performance of LTO 2 is increased by 100%, its price will not increase by more than 50%, so the cost performance is more excellent.

Since March 2003, ADIC has provided support for LTO 2 from its high-end products, such as Scalar 10K, Scalar i2000, and Scalar 1000. At present, a full range of products has been implemented to support LTO 2, including AML, Scalar 100, Scalar 24 and FastStor.

Regarding the future development trend of tape library products, Mr. Rybczynski also believed that the tape library will become more intelligent. The so-called intelligentization of the tape library is to give full play to the functions of the software, strengthen the management of the tape library, and the connection performance, making the data backup safer and more reliable. Intelligence is hierarchical, and it is not a complete automation of hardware devices. The intelligence advocated by ADIC is based on storage hardware equipment, which transfers some functions previously implemented in software to hardware, thereby reducing the burden of user application system management data. For example, ADIC Scalar 10K and Scalar i2000 tape libraries have the function of providing capacity on demand. Users can expand capacity at any time according to the needs of business growth, and the method is as simple as using a software key to activate.

ADIC's intelligent tape library will be a highly integrated software and hardware product, and its ultimate goal is: no matter what host platform or storage device the user uses in the past or future, ADIC products can easily be added and The user's original environment is integrated. The user's management of the device is always transparent, and the differences in hardware products are no longer important. Both the user's existing application software and new software added in the future can be seamlessly connected with the hardware device without additional development. The data stored on the ADIC intelligent tape library is highly reliable for migration and replication. The data will be automatically migrated from the old media to the new media or copied to multiple tapes, and users can safely retrieve it at any time The required data.

And what does intelligent storage mean for users? It means lower total cost of ownership, higher performance, higher reliability, easier management and seamless interoperability.

Second, the virtualization of tape libraries will become the mainstream trend. The future development of tape libraries will become part of virtual storage. The new tape library itself integrates this virtual technology, but this virtual technology is not a new technology. Virtual technology is the application of disk technology to the tape library, making the disk a buffer for the tape, data backup and recovery Performance at the disk level is much faster. This technology has long been used in IBM's mainframe, but the cost is very high, this technology is not economical to achieve in open systems. However, with the development of technology and the improvement of various applications, the needs of open systems and small and medium-sized users are gradually reflected. The virtualization and intelligentization of tape libraries will become the direction of development.

The Pathlight VX virtual tape library product that ADIC has just launched is a high-performance backup system based on disk arrays designed for open systems. Pathlight VX is a virtual tape library product that truly integrates a disk and a tape library, that is, the process of transferring data from a virtual tape in the disk to a physical tape in the tape library is completed inside the Pathlight VX system, and does not occupy the application host, Backup server and SAN network resources greatly improve the efficiency of data backup and recovery, and reduce system overhead.

In addition, from the perspective of the user's actual application, on-demand selection should be a technical design that the tape library must support in the future. For example, the current mainstream tape drive products on the market, such as LTO, SDLT / DLT, plus AIT / SAIT, there are many types, users should choose the appropriate products according to the characteristics of the application. The tape library selected by the user accordingly should also fully support the above technologies, otherwise the purchased resources may be wasted.

At present, there are not many manufacturers with outstanding product lines and technologies in the field of magnetic tape libraries. As a manufacturer specializing in the development, production and sales of data storage management products, ADIC has large, medium and small types of automatic tape library products that can install a variety of mainstream tape drives in the market, such as LTO, DLT / SDLT, AIT, 3590 Etc., and various new drive technologies in the future, such as Super-AIT. The market share of its open system tape library products is also at the forefront of the world.

According to the introduction of Mr. Shi Feng, senior technical consultant of ADIC Beijing Representative Office, ADIC provides high-, medium- and low-end tape library and virtual tape library products, and has excellent cross-platform SAN shared file system and storage management software. Its products And the program pays great attention to compatibility, reliability and intelligence. It is worth mentioning that ADIC has increased the intelligence of storage hardware and extended intelligence to the lowest level of storage hardware. This should be of great appeal to enterprises that urgently need intelligence to optimize their storage structure and performance. . Of course, in terms of selecting tape library manufacturers, technologies and products, the most basic criterion for users is to weigh the comprehensive cost-effectiveness according to actual needs, and then select the most suitable solution.

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