.shock - Fotolia
Mainframe tape is still a viable storage media option for archival data, but chances are your tape storage is about as old as some of that data.
A top issue in mainframe tape drive selection is media compatibility. Any new tape drive must, at the very least, read existing tape cartridges. If it doesn't, those important corporate compliance and discovery archives could be lost or a hassle to retrieve. If compatibility problems exist, the administrators can re-record file data onto the new tape media, but that is usually a cumbersome and error-prone project. It's always better to select drives that read the current media holding corporate data.
Next, consider the new tape drive's storage capacity and data transfer speeds. For example, IBM's TS1140 supports 500 GB, 1.6 TB and 4 TB tape media with compressed data transfer speeds to 650 MBps. Once you understand the drive's potential capacity and performance, estimate new backup and restoration time frames, and make any necessary adjustments to the mainframe backup or archival cycles.
To protect corporate data against loss or theft, the new tape drive for your mainframe should support encryption and key management. Encryption at the tape drive aids backup processes by removing the computing overhead needed for encryption in backup software tools. There are management features that ensure key safety and availability. Without them, a lost or forgotten key would lock you out of critical corporate data.
Finally, find out with which systems the tape drives are compatible, and evaluate the ways that a drive can interface to the existing data center infrastructure. For example, the TS1140 tape drive is compatible with IBM Power systems, System i, System p, System z and System x. The TS1140 can be shared among multiple systems on a storage area network, or between multiple mainframes through a separate tape controller unit.
Mainframe storage basics for admins
How can multiple mainframes share IBM tape storage?
Dig Deeper on IBM system z and mainframe systems
Related Q&A from Stephen J. Bigelow
Containers have rapidly come into focus as a popular option for deploying applications, but they have limitations and are fundamentally different ... Continue Reading
Senior technology editor Stephen Bigelow breaks down how AWS Storage Gateway can trip up users' hybrid cloud strategies. Beware these issues with ... Continue Reading
There is a small list of enterprise-class deployments and integrations known to run on VMware Cloud on AWS, but not all complex workloads are suited ... Continue Reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.