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Mainframe VTL Opens Up

Virtual tape library (VTL) products and users have proliferated on open systems in the past few years as companies seek faster and more reliable methods of backing up data. (See Users Ponder Tape Independence.)

You'd never know it from all the hype around VTL, but the trend actually started on the mainframe with integrated systems from IBM and Sun/StorageTek. Other options include VTL mainframe software from CA and Diligent, and appliances from Bus-Tech and Luminex that back up mainframe data to disk.

Bus-Tech is beefing up its mainframe virtual tape offering this week with its Mainframe Data Library (MDL), a larger version of the Mainframe Appliance for Storage (MAS) system it has sold since 2002. (See Bus-Tech Intros Mainframe Storage.) The MDL consists of two or four nodes with Ficon or Escon connections. The two-node configuration connects up to 512 tape drives, and the four-node system connects up to 1,024 drives. Pricing starts at $110,000 for the two-node Escon system.

The MAS system supports one or two Ficon or Escon connections and up to 526 drives.

The MDL and MAS support Fibre Channel, IP, or SCSI connectivity to connect IBM zSeries or Unisys OS2200 mainframes to EMC Centera or Celerra or Network Appliance NearStore systems. (See Bus-Tech Supports EMC and EMC Broadens Centera Support.) It's that support for lower-end storage systems that sets Bus-Tech apart by saving its customers from having to back up to enterprise systems such as EMC's Symmetrix or IBM Shark.

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