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Vol. 4 No. 2 April 2005

Disk finally outruns tape

Even the largest, processing-intensive mainframe shops are slowly but surely weaning themselves off tape. Four years ago, First Data Corp. (FDC), the credit-card processing behemoth, had as many as 1,500 tape drives across 70 StorageTek robots in its Omaha, NE, and Chandler, AZ, facilities. Those tapes weren't used for backup, but as the "batch workhorse," storing primary data used to process daily credit-card transactions for FDC's banking customers, says Todd Cushing, FDC's VP, data center management and service operations. Today, the number of tape drives at those facilities is down to 500 with seven robots, and FDC hopes to pare those numbers again by about half. If it's taken a while to break the tape habit, it's because for a long time, FDC couldn't get disk to go faster than tape. More to the point, ESCON--the channel connection between the mainframe and the disk or tape library--didn't go fast enough. ESCON can transmit data at a maximum of 19MB/sec "if you're going downhill and have a good tail wind," says Steve ...

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Features in this issue

  • Pros and cons of VTLs

    by  W. Curtis Preston

    VTLs aren't perfect, and this tip outlines some caveats about the technology that you need to know before implementing a VTL.

  • First Look: Crossroads Systems' DataMover 240f

    Crossroads Systems' DataMover 240f is a SAN edge device that takes on one of the most vexing backup bottlenecks by keeping data flowing through the network pipes.

  • Are SATA drives ready for the enterprise?

    SATA drives are great low-cost alternatives to pricey Fibre Channel and SCSI drives, but they lack the reliability and performance that mission-critical applications demand. But new technologies are bringing SATA up to enterprise-class standards.

  • Keep track of backups

    Backup reporting tools help track backup failures and determine their cause. Some tools can identify weak links in your backup processes where there's a potential for failure.

Columns in this issue

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