2003 SILVER: IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Tape Drive 3592 Model J1A & Storage magazine editors

IBM's 3592 tape drive is expensive, but in the long haul, it's well worth it. This successor of the IBM 3590 tape drive is capable of storing 300GB on a single cartridge at a 40MB/s data stream rate and it can support up to a 120MB/s transfer rate to move a terabyte approximately every three hours.

One of the judges praised the 3592, calling it a "superior tape technology and engineering effort." The 3592 features dual FC-2 ports that allow for attachment to Fibre Channel-arbitrated loop (FC-AL), FC SAN or a direct connection with a supported server. Speaking of support, this drive is supported in IBM and StorageTek 9310 Powderhorn tape silos and standalone racks.

Some of the innovations the 3592 provide are "capacity scaling"—allowing fast access to data by initializing cartridges. It also employs a "virtual backhitch" which improves performance by eliminating backhitch operations.

One storage manager said the drive can be "useful in a mainframe environment replacing older, lower capacity drives."

Backup hardware runner-up

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