TS1160 Technology Advancements Benefit Customers with Vast Data Storage Requirements

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Spectra Logic this week announced the support of the new IBM® TS1160 tape drive and media in the TFinity® ExaScale Tape Library and Spectra® T950, T950V, and T380 tape libraries. This marks another milestone for the enterprise tape market with the new TS1160 tape drive capable of storing up to 20TB of uncompressed data on a single JE media cartridge.  It also means that a TFinity ExaScale tape library can hold over 800PB of uncompressed data or over 2EB of data with full compression in a single tape library, making it the largest data storage machine on the market today. The new drive also has improved throughput of 400 MB/s, enabling a fully loaded TFinity with 144 TS1160 drives to transfer data at a rate of over 57.5GB/s. This high level of throughput is not found on any other archive storage machine.

vast data storage requirements solved by ts1160

The TS1160 tape drive and media offers the largest capacity per tape and the
fastest data transfer rate of any tape technology available on the market

The TS1160 comes with important technology advancements from IBM. The tape drive has a new custom ASIC chip that manages the data path, drive functions, and buffering of data in the drive. This new chip also supports a 16G Fibre Channel interface or 25GbE interface, both of which double the interface performance of the last generation TS1155 tape drive. In addition, the ASIC is designed to be used in future generations of TS enterprise tape drives as well as LTO-9 and future LTO tape drives.

When the TS1155 drive was introduced in mid-2017, it contained a new TMR (Tunneling Magneto-Resistive) head which replaced the existing GMR (Giant Magneto-Resistive) head technology. The new TMR read/write head was also developed for and used in the LTO-8 tape drive released in late 2017.  This allowed LTO technology to double capacity, from 6TB with LTO-7 to 12TB with LTO-8. It also brought to light the benefits of using similar technologies in both the LTO and TS drives. This commonality decreases the development cycle for each new drive generation, further ensuring the advancements needed to hold tape technology to its expected continual doubling of capacity every two to three years, in accordance with its established roadmap. This is very similar to the Tick-Tock development methodology that Intel uses when designing new processors. With each new generation of TS drive, new technology is introduced. This new technology is then used in the next generation of LTO drives where it is refined and improved upon. Each new LTO drive then adds new technology or manufacturing techniques that are pushed into the next TS drive that follows it.

Moreover, the new JE data cartridge launched with the TS1160 drive brings forth additional developments. The new JE media type uses aligned Barium Ferrite particles, which improve the signal to noise ratio, allowing the new technology to store up to 20TB of uncompressed data on a single cartridge.  This same media formulation will also be used with LTO-9 media, which will help push it well above 20TB of data on a single cartridge.

The new TS1160 drive will be available in December 2018 for the TFinity ExaScale, with general availability in other Spectra tape libraries to follow in 2019. It also shows the continued benefits that tape brings to the table for the storage, retrieval and archive needs of customers as their data grows exponentially.  Other data storage technologies, like disk and flash, cannot compete with the cost per terabyte of tape, or the security advantages that tape offers with built-in encryption and its physical air gap protection, preventing uncontrolled access to an organization’s data.

Continue reading about the announcement here.