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Dell Offers Next-Gen Tape-Based Storage

The LTO consortium of HP, IBM and Quantum (with the purchase of Seagate's Certance division) announced a few months ago that the next generation of LTO tape drives (LTO-4) would include hardware encryption as a feature. Given laws in many states that require the disclosure of data releases that include tapes lost by couriers (whether FedEx or Iron Mountain types) several financial institutions have been embarrassed and stuck with notification and credit-history tracking costs, for tapes lost in transit. Putting the encryption in the tape drive makes some sense as encrypted data is basically uncompressible, and we've been doing hardware-assisted compression in tape drives for many years. Now the tape drive can compress data before encrypting and get the benefit of compression. The management issue with encrypted tapes, especially if they're used as part of a disaster-recovery scheme, is key management. I haven't seen anything yet regarding how Dell or other LTO-4 vendors address this.

Howard Marks
NWC Contributing Editor

Dell today said it has become one of the first vendors to make available Linear Tape-Open, or so-called LTO-4, storage drives and media.

Although Dell says it is one of the first "major storage providers"--not that Dell is exactly synonymous with storage--to do this, other vendors such as Qualstar (click here (PDF) - have begun shipping LTO-4 devices as well in recent days.

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