Oracle Says It’s Committed to Tape Storage

Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) is pledging its commitment to the data tape storage business it acquired from Sun Microsystems earlier this year, reassuring users who weren’t sure how Oracle would handle the technology.

“Oracle is very committed to the tape business,” Jim Cates, vice president of tape development at Oracle, told Enterprise Storage Forum.

Oracle met with some of its biggest tape users last week at the Large Tape Users Group (LTUG) event. While attendees weren’t allowed to reveal product specifics discussed at the event, LTUG executive board president Geoff Cleary said he came away optimistic.

“I can say that Oracle certainly showed its commitment to its newly acquired tape storage business,” Cleary told ESF in an email. “The information they revealed to us under NDA showed that they are dedicated to innovation in their tape product lineup.

“Ahead of the meeting, the LTUG community was quite unsure of what to expect with Oracle now a hold of the reins,” said Cleary, who oversees a data archive at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory but was speaking on behalf of LTUG. “After post-meeting conversations with several of the LTUG members, I believe that the general mood toward Oracle is one of cautious optimism. Oracle let them know that the tape storage space will be a significant portion of its business. In addition, it was interesting to note that there was a palpably higher level of enthusiasm among Oracle tape hardware/software engineers now than there was during the transition from StorageTek to Sun Microsystems.”

Cates, who worked for StorageTek before it was acquired by Sun five years ago, promised continued innovation in tape media and libraries, and said its high-capacity T1000 tape line “will remain competitive” with LTO.

Oracle’s tape storage business also includes the fast-access T9840, LTO and libraries.

T10000 boasts one of the best bit error rates of any enterprise storage media, disk or tape. Cates said the media spreads data out over 32 channels to achieve its bit error rate.

And with a number of users at 10 to 20 petabyte archives, with 50 to 100 PB not too far away, reliability matters.

“Those reliability factors matter a lot more as you get to these ridiculously high numbers,” said Cates.

Cates said disk and VTLs may be fine for smaller archives, but tape gains a “big cost advantage” as the number of tape cartridges move into the “hundreds.” He said one customer even moved from disk to tape as their archive grew.

Cates said tape will remain “a viable, healthy market” for at least the next decade, with capacity doubling every couple of years.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.
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