Family Court of Australia seeks new tape drives, sticks with LTO-4

The Family Court of Australia has decided to upgrade its backup hardware with new LTO-4 drives, but expects it may need to double its backup capacity.

LTO-5 drives are already shipping, but the Family Court of Australia is betting on the proven technology of the previous LTO generation, LTO-4, in a tender requesting the provision of new backup drives.

The tender specifies the following primary requirements for the new system:

1. A minimum of 100 data slots not including Input/Output slots (to host the tape cartridges within the library).
2. Support for LTO4 drive/tape technology.
3. Ability to house at least six (6) LTO4 drives with four (4) drives initially populated.
4. A minimum of 12 Input/Output slots (to facilitate loading/unloading of tapes).
5. Support for fibre connection to the LTO4 drives and the speed of the fibre connections supported should be detailed eg. 4 Gbps.
6. Support for a Fibre Channel Switched Fabric connection/topology.
7. The library must be modular in design, with the flexibility to expand both total media capacity and support for additional LTO4 tape drives to meet future demands/requirements. This expansion must allow the library to be capable of providing at least a further 50% to the currently stated requirements, that is, capability to host at least 150 data tape cartridges and a minimum of eight (8) LTO4 drives. Details of expandable options must be included for review but will not form part of the initial purchasing and as such, need not be included in final pricing.
8. Remote management ability via a web/HTTP interface.
9. Support for both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols.
10. Redundant power supply to the tape library/drives.
11. The tape library must be rack mountable.
12. Ability for the tape library to report upon current health and provide summaries of present condition (eg. number of slots used, etc) via a web/HTTP interface.
13. Automated cleaning processes – the library must be able to manage cleaning of drives automatically at the hardware level i.e. without a requirement for additional software / manual management.
14. Provision of 150 LTO4 data tape cartridges.
15. Provision of the required number of fibre cables for connecting the 4x LTO4 drives (minimum 3 metres in length) to the TSM backup server via the Fibre Channel switch.
16. Provision of six (6) or more LTO4 compatible tape cleaning cartridges.
17. Provision of bar-coded media labels for both data and cleaning tape cartridges (the preferred naming scheme/sequence will be provided to the successful Tenderer prior to ordering).

The tape library will find itself pressed into service in a complex environment, as the tender states the Court:  "... uses a range of Operating Systems (O/S) and the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) backup tool to facilitate backups/restores. During the life-span of the new tape library, it is likely to be rotated between different O/S and TSM server versions, and will need to be compatible with the related systems."

The tender also states that "Depending on allocations, the replacement tape library may initially be connected to an Intel based SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) server running IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) via Fibre Channel connectors and a Fibre Channel Fabric switch (either a Cisco MDS 9120 or an IBM System Storage SAN24B-4). Alternatively, the unit may initially be assigned to an IBM P Series system running AIX and TSM via Fibre Channel connectors and a Fibre Channel Fabric switch (again either a Cisco MDS 9120 or an IBM System Storage SAN24B-4)."

The Court's initial requirement is for 150 tapes and four drives.

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