IBM has unveiled the first major upgrade to its FalconStor-powered VTL in two years, alongside LTO4 tape drives featuring native data encryption and a promise to ship an encryption key manager to suit in June.
It is one of the industry’s worst-kept secrets that IBM’s open systems virtual tape library or tape emulator runs the same FalconStor Software code that also powers VTLs sold by EMC and Sun Microsystems.
In June IBM will ship a version of its open systems VTL called the TS7520 that will be the first to use 500GB disk drives, and will provide up to 884TB of capacity behind a single VTL presenting up to 512 virtual tape libraries. When IBM adopts 750GB drives, that maximum capacity will go up to 1.3PB. Other new features for the box include iSCSI support and an NDMP interface designed to present a NAS interface.
Last week Dell was the first big supplier to announce availability of the latest fourth generation LTO drives. But as IBM pointed out yesterday, Dell’s LTO4 drives are actually made by IBM.
The IBM-branded versions of the drives will ship at the end of this week, and like the already-shipping Dell units will deliver uncompressed throughput of 120MB per second, up 50% compared to LTO3, with capacity doubled to 800GB.
The new drives will also feature native, wire-speed encryption. IBM says that in June it will ship software that will perform the critical task of managing the encryption keys that this process will generate. The software will be a modified version of the portable Java-based Encryption Key Manager code that IBM first developed to work with its TS1120 mainframe encrypting tape drives that it launched last year.
IBM also said that it will launch a file system gateway to be used as a front-end to its DR550 disk archive. The gateway provides tape encryption support and data shredding, with the latter presumably involving encryption of data using a key that has been thrown away even before the process has started.