IBM is going to add an encryption facility to its TS1120 tape drive as part of its latest Z9 mainframe introduction. The TS1120 uses IBM's proprietary 3592 format. This is a mainframe-class tape drive and stores either 100 Gbyte or 500 Gbyte depending upon cartridge type.

Currently, if users want to encrypt data sent to tape it has to be done by the mainframe, using up mainframe mips. There is less effect on application processing if the tape drive carries out the encryption itself.

No other tape vendor offers an encrypting tape drive. SpectraLogic offers an encrypting tape library. DisUK offers an encrypting appliance that encrypt data going either to tape or to Plasmon optical disks. NetApp's Decru unit also offers an appliance to encrypt data going to tape.

IBM is a member of the LTO Consortium which has recently added encryption to its forthcoming LTO 4 format specification.

IBM classes LTO as a mid-range, open systems (Unix and Windows) server tape, not suitable for mainframe tape duty cycles. However, the LTO 4 format will offer 800GB raw capacity and its arrival will put pressure on IBM to introduce a higher-capacity 3590-type format. A 1TB capacity 3592 tape is on IBM's tape roadmap.

Storage connectivity
With the Z9 introduction IBM has the first complete 4Gbit/s FICON connection facility with IBM SAN, disk, and tape offerings that all support 4Gbit/s links. IBM is calling this Z9 FICON Express. It provides double the throughput of the previous setup.

The FICON/FCP links are auto-negotiating, and can support a mix of 4 Gbit/s, 2 Gbit/s, and 1 Gbit/s technology at the same time. Other SAN director and switch vendors, such as Brocade, Cisco and McData, already offer 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel links.

IBM is also announcing an expanded range of 4 Gbit/s FICON- and FCP (Fibre Channel Protocol)-enabled SAN switches and directors using products from Cisco and McData.