WORM Option Seals Tape Library Sale

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When Memphis, TN-based brokerage firm Morgan Keegan went looking for a new tape library, it initially considered systems based on either SDLT or LTO drives. But in the end, the firm chose a Spectra Logic 64K AIT-3 tape library, says storage administrator John Lowe, because it would allow the firm to archive e-mail on a partition equipped with write-once read-many (WORM) AIT-3 drives.

As an SEC-regulated company, it had been saving e-mail to optical platters. At a rate of about 200,000 e-mails per week and with only 5.2GB per platter, "we were filling it up pretty fast," Lowe says.

WORM tape critics contend that the media doesn't have the 20 plus-year longevity of optical. That didn't worry Lowe because the firm is only required to keep e-mails for three years. After that point, "anything we keep over that becomes a liability," he says, and the media is physically destroyed.

Instead, "the biggest struggle we have is the SEC accepting the media and the process," Lowe says. An SEC interpretation issued this spring, however, seems to clear the way for WORM tape.

This was first published in September 2003

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