StorageTek intros FICON drives

Storage Technology (StorageTek) Monday announced that its SLA8500 and PowderHorn tape libraries now come equipped with FICON drives.

The company's T9840C tape drive has a native FICON interface for attaching to IBM zSeries mainframe environments. Previously, the drives had an ESCON interface.

FICON is up to eight times as fast as the older ESCON. FICON has a link rate of 100M bit/sec compared to ESCON's 3M bit/sec. It can span distances of 12 miles compared to 1.8 miles for ESCON.

Customers upgrading from ESCON drives to FICON will be able to use the same tape media.

The company will also include FICON drives in its higher-capacity T9940B drives later this year.

By contrast, only IBM makes both ESCON and FICON drives for its tape libraries; neither Advanced Digital Information nor Quantum do.

The 9840C is US$38,000 and the ESCON-based 9840 costs US$36,000. FICON-based drives are available now.

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