IBM Doubles Performance of Enhanced Magstar Virtual Tape Server and Magstar 3590 Control Unit

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SAN JOSE, CA - 26 Jul 1999: . . . IBM today announced that companies can substantially increase their tape storage capacity and performance with enhancements to the IBM Magstar* Virtual Tape Server (VTS). Several new features will enable up to 100% increase in sustained performance,** resulting in reduced cost of tape storage and a decrease in data backup time.

Companies can further reduce the number of tape cartridges needed for data storage now by integrating the new Magstar 3590 E tape drive into their Magstar VTS systems. Capacity is further increased with the doubling of logical volumes, from 150,000 to 300,000, in the IBM 3494 Tape Library with two VTS systems.

IBM is also boosting the efficiency of its Magstar 3590 product line with a new control unit, the Magstar 3590 A60, that offers up to double the performance, and more attachment options over the current A50 control unit. With the A60, customers can now exploit the faster performance of the new Magstar 3590 E tape drive in more environments. The A60 supports the 3590 E or B drives and can be intermixed with prior control unit models in Magstar 3494 Tape Libraries and Silo Compatible solutions. This provides customers with further protection of their current storage investments.

"With today's Virtual Tape Server enhancements, customers will be getting over six times the sustained data rate provided with our entry model VTS introduced two years ago -- and up to double their current models. This translates into immediate productivity gains," said Barry Rudolph, business line manager, Removable Media Storage Solutions, IBM Storage Systems Division. "The Magstar Virtual Tape Server is a prime example of the classic Seascape(1) model that enables rapid integration of new technologies like the Magstar 3590 E while protecting existing storage investments."

IBM Tape Storage Roadmap(2)
IBM today previewed several upcoming enhancements to the Magstar VTS and Magstar 3590 that will increase their functionality across the enterprise, and integrate them into Storage Area Network (SAN) environments.

IBM plans to introduce the VTS into the SAN environment using the IBM SAN Data Gateway. By connecting the Magstar VTS to Fibre Channel-capable IBM RS/6000* servers, the 25-meter SCSI distance limitation will be removed, allowing the VTS to operate remotely from RS/6000 servers. This will also enable data and resource sharing across the enterprise.

Companies will be able to get faster VTS service with less customer intervention using a planned function, "Call Home" support. The VTS B18 model will be able to initiate a call to IBM to report a problem or deliver status information using the Remote Support Attachment.

IBM also plans several enhancements for the Magstar 3590 Model A60 tape control unit that will let companies leverage it across the enterprise. Customers will be able to directly attach the Model A60 to IBM S/390* FICON servers, such as the S/390 G5 and G6. This will dramatically increase tape processing performance in high-end, data-intensive environments, and bring the Magstar 3590 into the SAN environment.

The Magstar Model A60 tape control units will be extended for use in SCSI environments, thereby reducing the cost of tape storage by allowing Magstar 3590 tape drives to be shared between SCSI, ESCON and FICON servers. This means a customer will be able to start with an ESCON solution and, as storage requirements change, attach to FICON and SCSI environments. In addition, IBM plans to increase the number of ESCON attachments for the Magstar 3590 A60.

The new Magstar 3590 A60 Control Unit is planned for availability on Aug. 27. The field upgrade for the Magstar 3590 B to E models in a currently installed VTS is planned for availability on Oct. 29. All other VTS enhancements, both for new and currently installed VTS systems, are planned for availability on Sept. 24.

More About IBM Magstar Tape Solutions
With the Magstar Virtual Tape Server, IBM continues to pioneer first-to-market technology, delivering strategic enterprise-class tape storage solutions. Introduced in 1997, the IBM Magstar Virtual Tape Server was the first IBM Seascape solution, and the first virtual tape product in the market. VTS is a completely integrated tape storage solution that provides high-performance, fast processing of enterprise data. The Magstar VTS significantly reduces tape operation costs through transparent, effective use of tape resources, and by reducing the number of tape cartridges, tape drives, and automation systems required. VTS has more than 1,200 installations worldwide.

The IBM Magstar 3590 tape drive is also experiencing strong success in the marketplace, with more than 48,000 units in use worldwide. A recognized ANSI standard, Magstar 3590 continues to be the leader in high-performance, high-capacity standalone and automated tape subsystems. Magstar 3590 is also the base technology for the IBM Magstar VTS, where capacity, speed and data integrity are paramount.

IBM continues to improve the base technology that goes into Magstar and other IBM tape products, choosing from the vast palette of advanced IBM technologies. The tape storage business has early access to hardware and software technology development from across IBM and through initiatives such as Linear Tape Open (LTO).

For more information, visit the IBM Storage Systems Division Web site at

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* Trademark or registered trademark of International Business Machines.

** The performance information in this press release was derived from measurements taken in a controlled environment. Accordingly, actual performance results may vary. IBM makes no representations, and provides no assurances, that the stated performance results will be achieved.

(1) Seascape is IBM's storage enterprise architecture, a blueprint for comprehensive storage solutions optimized for a connected world. The Seascape architecture outlines next-generation concepts for storage by integrating modular "building-block" technologies from IBM, including disk, tape and optical storage media, powerful processors, and rich software. Integrated Seascape solutions are highly reliable, scalable and versatile, and support specialized applications on servers ranging from PCs to supercomputers.

(2) IBM plans, previews and directions represent IBM's current intentions and, as such, are subject to change or withdrawal without prior notice.

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