Feature

USC Spurns Usual Tape Suspects

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In his role as director of emerging technologies at the University of Southern California (USC), Mike Lin is responsible for storing and backing up between 50TB to 100TB of data, for faculty and students alike.

Because USC runs Veritas NetBackup and Legato's UniTree HSM package on Solaris, you'd expect Lin to have chosen an LTO or DLT tape library. Instead, Lin decided to preserve the university's existing investment in StorageTek 9840 PowderHorn tape libraries because of the technology's proven track record for reliability, and because, "in the long run, there's really not that much of a difference in price."

But while USC won't migrate to open systems tape, Lin is thinking about gradually switching from high-performance 9840 drives to slower, but much more capacious, 9940s. The 9840s deliver access times of 19 to 20 ms, and the 9940s come in around 50 ms. But whereas 9840s hold 20GB of native capacity, the 9940 holds an order of magnitude more than that--200GB. So, although Lin worries about research faculty noticing the difference in access time, "the bigger capacity is a better fit for us," he says.

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This was first published in April 2003

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