Tape Rants and Raves: LTO4 Rules

Posted on June 20, 2007

LTO makes tape sexy. I’ve been a fan of LTO-3 for some time now, but flipping through “Storage” magazine I just saw an ad for LTO Ultrium 4 tapes… 800GB UNCOMPRESSED! 1.6TB COMPRESSED PER TAPE! And speeds up to 240MB/s! Holy crap! Thats a tape infrastructure I can get behind.

…what the…. boy, I’ve been out of it! I just wanted to see if ADIC had any LTO-4 libraries yet. They were aquired by Quantum!!!

its too bad that Sun doesn’t have LTO-4 yet. I’d sure love to pair one up with my Thumpers.

At Homestead I bought 2 Sun C4’s which is a rebranded Quantum PX502, and I liked it (except the chassis construction is funky, getting drives in and out is a nightmare, but how often do you swap drives). But I sure wouldn’t mind having one of those ADIC Scalar i500’s with LTO4 drives (above). I remember talking with ADIC when they released the i500 and there was something I didn’t like about it… but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.

On the software side of things, I still feel like there are no good options. NetBackup is still, imho, the only game in town. I’ve been excited about alternatives (NBU is far from perfect) but the user interfaces for tools like BakBone are built for children, not storage engineers. Apparently NetBackup 6.5 is in the hopper and a sneak peak webcast is coming June 21st (must register). Hopefully NBU 6.5 is the big jump forward that the product needs.

Apparently NetBackup finally has support for Solaris/X86. When I was at Homestead I refreshed our backup infrastructure in 2 facilities, both identical setups: Sun X4200 and Sun C4 (LTO3). The idea was to ditch the existing Sun 420R’s (using ADIC AIT2 libraries) and move to a cheaper and faster setup, but that was all contigent on NetBackup having server support for Solaris/X86… I was blind sided when I found out that it didn’t exist (datasheets say “Sun Solaris” without specifying SPARC or X86) and worse than that was 8 months away from appearing I was furious. I almost switched to BakBone just to flip the finger at Veritas, but alas I just can’t stand the way you manage BakBone jobs. So we had to deploy NetBackup on CentOS… I was mortified. Its probly still running that way today.

Since this is rant/rave post… Am I the only one that is pissed off that Veritas never posts version numbers on their web site? You have to go through the manuals on the support site to figure out what features are in what version. What a PITA! I have no idea what release included Solaris/AMD support, but have to assume its 6.0 MP4.

In other news… Brocade has a new logo. I noticed this first when driving past their San Jose offices a couple months ago….

Red, White, and Black…. can’t argue with the color scheme. But the logo! Gotta be honest, first though was …. well, I’ll omit it, just use your imagination. But I guess the idea is good. Speeding wings in the shape of a B… your angelic storage partner to the rescue. But, I dunno. They are definately working hard to re-invent the company as FC SAN’s go out of style. I admit I liked the Fabric logo they used to have:

I’m still a fan of the Brocade 2800. Great form-factor. Loved FabricOS. A great switch.

Of course, these days I prefer a storage switch more like this:

Force10, imho, is the new Brocade. But like I said, Brocade is re-inventing themselves, so maybe I should say “new McData” (except that Brocade aquired McData, but you know what I mean). I never had the pleasure of using a McData but always looked very appealing.

Brocade has a new book out, available as a free eBook: File Area Networks – Your First Look at FAN Technology. Looks like yet another attempt of a storage company to invent a new market… hey, its worked before. The concept is really about getting SAN minded people to think about files rather than raw blocks in a traditional FC SAN environment. I just downloaded the book and it looks ok, kinda like a really long and wordy white paper, but we’ll see how it turns out. I think the french maid did it in the library.

And, since this post can’t get much lower…. aren’t the new spud brackets frickin’ awesome?

Shallow, sure, but still sexy! And that counts. 🙂