The promised enhancements to storage capacity and speed on the 3480 arrive on schedule IBM doesn’t really believe in tape drives any more, and sees them pretty much fading away over the next decade as disk takes over all but the most totally archival applications and optical drives of one kind or another complete the […]
The promised enhancements to storage capacity and speed on the 3480 arrive on schedule IBM doesn’t really believe in tape drives any more, and sees them pretty much fading away over the next decade as disk takes over all but the most totally archival applications and optical drives of one kind or another complete the squeeze from the other direction. In the meantime, thousands of top end installations have millions of cartridges in their tape libraries, and would like to be able to store a lot more data into the same space, and IBM this week delivered on its promises to users on the 3480 tape subsystem – and did so on schedule. The Improved Data Recording Capability control unit feature for 3480 Magnetic Tape Subsystems is claimed to increase the effective cartridge data capacity by up to five times and the effective data rate by up to 70%, depending on operating environment and the characteristics of the user data sets. The feature is selectively invoked by software and as well as the extra data crammed onto each cartridge, and the improvement in the effective data rate, there is a consequential reduction in back-up and batch elapsed times, operators have to spend less of their time mounting and demounting cartridges, and if you rerecord all your existing cartridges, why you’ve got a whole stack of empty ones and won’t need to buy more for months and months. Moreover, the 3480 can now be installed nearly two miles away from the processor when the 3044 Fibre-Optic Channel Extender Link Model C02 is used. IBM’s figures for the improved performance were achieved on a 3090-200 running MVS/XA-Sp 2.2.3 and DFP 3.1.1. The improved effective data rate is a result of combining the new option with the new 4.5Mbyte-per-second channels. The channel data rate of the IBM 3480 Model A11 Control Unit remains at 3Mbytes-per-second. Cartridges written by an IBM 3480 without the new feature installed will be readable by an IBM 3480 with the feature, and there will be new operating system releases to support the Improved Data Recording Capability on all 3480s. It is fully supported by MVS/ESA, MVS/XA, TPF, VM/XA and DOS/VSE, and read only support is provided by MVS/370, VM/SP High Performance Option and VM/SP. The feature is a charged option on new 3480s, costing $15,000 on A11s and A22s, $17,500 as a field upgrade – but on A22s you also need something called feature 3306 – extra memory and 4.5Mbyte-per-second channel support – which brings the upgrade price to $21,700. It’s out September 29 in the US.
Support provided in MVS/XA DFP 2.4… First of the operating system releases brought in to support the new tape feature – and also the 3990 Model 3 Storage Control’s extended functions, which consist of dual copy and direct-access storage device fast write – whenever those become available (the latter is said to be out there already) is MVS/XA DFP 2.4 – which is also intended to be the final MVS/XA 2 DFP release. What that really means is that any successor product will have its own higher, no doubt – pricing, and users will have to pay the difference to upgrade. It’s $1,265 a month or a one-time $38,030 on a big 9370 to $78,500 for a 3090-600S, and will be available in October.
…and in MVS/DFP 3.1.1 Also supporting the new tape feature is MVS/DFP 3.1.1. It is a partial DFP release and for installation, execution, and support of the IDRC tape feature, it requires the functions supplied by MVS/ESA, MVS/DFP 3.1.0, MVS/SP JES2 3.1.1 OR MVS/SP JES3 3.1.1, TSO/E 2.1.0 if applicable, and program temporary fixes to to the BCP and JES3 components of MVS/SP and to TSO/E MVS/XA. It is available in September, at a one-time $56,700 a month on 9370s and 4381s and $90,720 on all but the biggest 3090s, where it is $117,390. Where the MVS/XA release above has a flat monthly licence regardless of processor size, MVS/DFP is on graduated monthly licence and monthly rates corresponding to the one-time charges above are $1,605, $1,890 and $2,170.
New 3480 tapes for old special offer With substantially more attractive 3480s in its armoury, IBM naturally w
ants to get all those old – and alien – tape drives outta there, dammit, and replaced with 3480s, and to get users’ mindsets right, it is making a special offer of a trade-in credit to those who buy an IBM 3480 Control Unit Model A22 or 3480 Tape Unit Model B22 and trade in up to two IBM 3420 Magnetic Tape Units or one IBM 3803 Tape Control Unit. A credit will also be offered to customers who trade in specified non-IBM tape drives and controllers (will it send them back to StorageTek for credit, trash them, or – heaven forfend – use them in its internal installations?). Announced only in the US so far, the special offer requires that the 3480 replacement drive must be ordered on or before November 30, 1989, and be installed by the end of the year – and it can’t be one that went in before July 25, the day the offer was announced. The credit is $1,500 each on up to two 3420s traded in for a 3480 B22, and $5,000 on each 3803 tranded in for a 3480 A22. Storage Technology drives are not quite as valuable to IBM: a 3670 is good for $1,125 and up to two can be traded in for a 3480 B22; a 3800 or a 4550 is good for $3,750 off a 3480 A22; up to two 4554s or up to two 4674s are worth $1,125 apiece off a B22; and a 4670 is good for $3,750 off a B22. The same to buyback rates apply to Memorex Telex International drives 3221s and 3281s are each worth $3,750 off a 3480 A22 and up to two 3228s and 3288s are worth $1,125 apiece off a B22. The trade-in credit is in addition to other volume discounts currently in effect for the designated replacement IBM 3480. The offering is available to customers who have signed an Volume Procurement Amendment for 3480 Category C machines for 12, 18, and 24 months and quantities up to and including 40, 60, and 80, respectively. The replaced tape drive can’t be stuffed away in a cupboard – it must have been in productive use at an end-user facility this week, and on the day the customer signs the Amendment or Addendum – and the configuration returned to IBM must be the same configuration installed and in productive use on the date the agreement is signed. The replaced machine must be returned to IBM within three months following the date of installation of the replacement, and IBM will bear the cost of its return to San Jose. Arrangements have been made with North American Van Lines to facilitate pick-up and return of the replaced tape drive to IBM (!).