In 2006 IBM introduced the fondly named “Hydra” Virtualization Engine (VE). The official name of the product is the IBM TS7700 Virtualization Engine. The TS7700 line of products supports the entire spectrum of system z tape operations while maintaining a true enterprise level of business continuance through its industry leading grid support..
TS7700 Started as a replacement for the Bxx line of VTS which was extremely successful. Like the original VTS, the TS7740 supported disk based tape emulation with hierarchal storage management to physical tape, using the IBM TS1100 tape drive family, which started with the 3592 J1A and today supports the TS1140. In 2008 IBM introduced a disk only version of the TS7700 marketed as the IBM TS7720 Virtualization Engine. The TS7720 offers less overall maximum capacity, but provides a 100% disk cache residency for today’s most time critical applications.
Two to six TS7700s can be configured in a grid with systems supporting TCP/IP connected distances across the global. All content stored within one or more TS7700 nodes is accessible from any other node via its industry unique remote access capabilities.. TS7700 is the original “Cloud” storage solution. The TS7740 and TS7720 can be mixed within a “hybrid” grid offering the benefits of high disk cache residency, yet the cost and security benefits of physical tape.
Illustration 1. Grid Cloud Concept
TS7700 Grid provides more than just a means to replicate data. There is no concept of primary, secondary or stand-by nodes. Each node or cluster’s devices within an entire grid always has access to all volumes contained within any cluster in the grid. System z hosts view the entire grid as one large composite library with up 1,536 common devices. Volume data is accessible from any cluster’s devices independent of where copies exist. In the event of a device or site outage, user intervention or host knowledge of where data exists is not required. If a local copy isn’t present, TCP/IP is used as a real-time channel extender to clusters containing a valid copy.
Hundreds of customers have benefited from the TS7700 due to its high degree of flexibility, high availability, reliability, ease of use and of course industry leading performance. Fiducia IT AG is a premiere TS7700 customer running several “hybrid” grids. These grids operate in a 24x7x365 environment supporting Fiducia’s critical system z tape operations. After several years of operation and expansion of the system, Fiducia’s assessment of the TS7700 is:
· IBM TS7700 gives Fiducia a single layer of management of the high performance virtual tape systems attached to IBM z/OS.
· Grid technology in the TS7700 has enabled a business continuity that is unrivaled by any other vendor.
· TS7700 allows Fiducia to flexibly meet performance and capacity requirements for fast access reads and long term tape storage, in a mixed [hybrid] grid environment.
Like Fiducia, many customers place their most critical data in the TS7700 Grid Cloud and were using the Grid long before the Cloud was relevant. The TS7700 has continued to enhance features and functions to meet demanding customer requirements. With over 4000 units in the market, the TS7700 product is and will remain a premiere product for system z’s most critical tape operations.
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