On May 21, 1952, IBM announced the IBM 726 Tape Unit with the IBM 701 Defense Calculator, marking the transition from punched card calculators to electronic computers. Since then, IBM has initiated many significant innovations in linear tape storage and has been an industry leader in setting standards for tape interchange. Tape storage has been so ubiquitous in the mainframe arena that the often-seen icon of an open reel-to-reel tape drive is frequently used as a symbol for the mainframe itself.
In the period from 1952 to today, IBM tape innovations have brought a wave of increased functionality, improved performance, reduced service time, decreased necessary floor space, and simplified tape path. Evolving tape features have included radically different shape and size: square tape cartridges replaced the traditional round reels and the overall footprint of the box was reduced. Along with these physical changes, data storage density and speed have improved
The dichotomy of storage
Storage managers are finding themselves in a quandary. On one hand they are being asked to do more with less, reduce the infrastructure, reduce costs and maintain service level objectives. On the other hand they are asked to store ever increasing amounts of data. They are challenged to manage bulging backup and restore windows. They are asked to meet existing and emerging regulatory requirements including the access to reference data for extended periods of time. And, last but not least, they protect data to support business continuity goals.
Users are trying to manage the need for fast access to some data, long term data retention, data protection and costs. Tape and disk can work together to help address these needs. Disk backup can help address the need for fast retrieval of some data applications, while tape can address most data backup, long term archive and data protection needs in a cost effective manner.
The attributes of tape
Tape continues to figure significantly into IT infrastructures for high-capacity storage backup. Its unique attributes can help users manage their storage requirements and contribute to the ever-present value of tape in the storage hierarchy.
Tape can help you address compliance requirements and WORM applications. Tape has a low total cost of ownership, costing up to 10 times less than disk. Using today's disk to disk to tape methodology, tape is a key element.
Tape, an established part of your infrastructure
As new storage formats and devices are developed and refined, industry experts periodically forecast the demise of tape, pronouncing it slow and outmoded. However, tape continues to be the most cost-effective, flexible and scalable medium for high-capacity storage backup. There is less of an initial investment than other formats and tape is easily transportable for outside sharing. IBM has 60 years of industry knowledge and a commitment to continued innovation.