Technology is an amazing part of our daily lives. We carry the computing power of the computers that helped deliver Astronauts to the moon in the palm of our hands (sometimes in our pockets). Broadband services deliver video chats to the same devices that we hold in our hands, often with no disruptions. We also tend to trade in our technology every 14-18 months, no matter what the technology is. Cell phones, MP3 players, tablets and even laptops have very limited lifecycles. But that is not the case with Enterprise hardware, especially in the Data Protection and Retention infrastructures.
The name plainly indicates that enterprise class data needs protected and retained for long periods of time, decades is the norm. Keeping data in high performance systems does not automatically mean that the technologies are available for long periods of time, not necessarily true when it come to IBM. The pure high quality of IBM systems leads to a history of long periods of support for storage systems.
A tedious, but very simple web search will reveal that the products end up supported for decades, completely protecting the investment that IBM customers make. Table 1 is a brief outline of tape product lifecycles.
|Product||Market Availability||Marketing Withdrawal||Years in Marketing||Service withdrawal||Years in service||Service years after WFM|
|3590 B1A||9/29/95||12/31/04||9Y 3M||6/30/14||19Y 9M||10 Y 6M|
|3590 E1A||4/20/99||9/29/06||7Y 5M||9/30/15||16Y 5M||9Y|
|3590 H1A||7/26/02||9/29/06||3Y 2M||9/30/15||13Y 2M||10Y|
|3592 J1A||9/12/03||9/29/06||3Y||---||17Y 3M||14Y|
|3592 E05||10/28/05||12/28/12||7Y 3M||12/31/17||12Y 2M||5Y|
|3592 E06||9/5/08||4/29/16||7Y 7M||---||7Y+||4Y 8M|
|3590 A60||8/27/99||10/1/04||5Y 2M||1/31/16||16Y 5M||11Y 4M|
|3592 J70||9/9/03||12/1/06||3Y 3M||3/31/18||14Y 7M||11Y 3M|
|3592 C06||6/10/06||11/25/11||5Y 5M||13Y+||9Y 1M|
*note this does not represent a comprehensive list of products
So what is the point here? The DRI products stay around for a long time, IBM services them for decades and the customers get to truly leverage the quality of the products; a nice reference, let’s get to the point. Keeping older products in your infrastructure represents a great way to leverage the capital outlay long after the product is amortized, but planning an update can actually be more cost effective to your business.
I won’t pontificate long on the value of generational shifts, that introduce higher performance, higher storage density and features that often reduce management requirements. Think about your 3592 J1A tape drives operating at 40MB/s and 300GB of storage per cartridge. A 1PB repository of data processing 100TB of data per day, requires 3334 cartridges and 15 tape drives operating at 100% duty cycle. 3 Enterprise frames of cartridges to hold the data. Move this to just 3 TS1150 tape drives contained in 1 frame; supporting up to 5.5PB without adding more library frames! 1/3rd the floor space and 1/4ththe power. Enabling the storage administrator to add high performance Flash with the savings from tape storage.
In the Enterprise VTL space this can produce an even more substantial benefit. The industry leading TS7700 have been available since 2006 and is still in service almost 10 years later. Enabling customers to protect their data and recognize the best possible value for critical data is what IBM DP&R does, enabling a way to easily manage migrations is also a part of what IBM does. There could never be a better time than now to plan a migration of a Generation 1 TS7700 (VEA/V06).
There are many upgrade paths that will enable installation of new TS7760 or 7760T systems. Data can in almost every case be migrated to the new systems without impacting the System Z host. The automated replication is just the beginning of realizing the intangible benefits of migrating to the new systems. Higher performance, 4 million volumes support, along with advanced Flash Copy DR testing are a few of the tangible benefits. In a critical data environment planning for the next decade is the best thing a storage admin can do to ensure quality of operations and prevent emergencies.
Take a look at your environment, the old iron is working great, but is it actually cost effective? Planning today to replace it, will save management time and ensure business continuity.