Replacing precedes virtualizing in migration
Hardware appliance links up MPE encryption

Users reach for new IO connnections

Linear Tape (LTO) and virtual disk arrays might not be common players at many 3000 sites. But as these servers mature in production settings, these higher capacity storage solutions are gaining attention from system managers. HP's engineering is better for the VA solutions than LTO, but both can perform in 3000 installations, according to user reports.

Are the LTO and LTO2 drives supported on Series 997 and N-Class servers?

Mark Ranft of Pro 3K replies:

They work, but they are not supported (if that means anything) with HP TurboStore. Other third party backup software vendors do support LTO. We do DLT backups to two, three or four drives with success.

Craig Lalley of EchoTech notes that N-Class LTO use yields the best results:

The 997 has a NIO bus that is capable of a sustained throughput of 20mb/sec. That is 20 megabytes per second. I seriously doubt that a 997 can make an LTO drive run in "stream" mode. Hence it would just "shoe-shine," back and forth. The N-Class is a different story, as long as it is not crippled.

Chad Lester of the MPE Support Group reports that the firm has LTO-2 and LTO-3 modules running on several N-Class servers the company supports. Dan Cossey of Client Systems takes note of HP's official communicator article regarding LTO support.

MPE/iX support of Ultrium 215 and 230 devices is limited to parallel LVD-SCSI connections only. Thus, these devices may only be connected to HP e3000 A-Class and N-Class systems running MPE/iX 7.0 or 7.5 Release. In addition, patch MPEMXJ3, version "A" for MPE/iX 7.0 or version "B" for MPE/iX 7.5, must be installed for the device to be supported. Finally, on 7.0 only, patch MPEMX74 "A" should also be installed.

Ultrium devices will only be supported for access/usage by certified third party supplied back-up products; certified products are currently limited to: BACKUP+/iX (ORBiT Software) and HiBackR (Mount10 Group).

The program and the command file devctrl.mpexl.telesup may be used to load/unload media, but it will NOT support turning compression on/off for Ultrium. HP Ultrium incorporates "intelligent" compression that prevents attempts to compress data that is already compressed, so there is no need to explicitly turn device level (hardware) compression on or off.

We have a brand new VA7410 disk array. Is the CommandView SDM really necessary? I know it won't run on MPE, so I have to have a Unix or Windows host with an FC card to run it. But I also know the VA arrays have a serial port for command access. Can I do everything I need to do through the array's built-in command line? What can only be done via SDM?

Donna Hofmeister of Allegro Consultants replies:

You do want SDM running on something, because you need to be able to get to the array's log file and I don't think you can do that through the serial port. SDM will tell you (via logging) if your array is healthy or not -- probably something you really, really want to know.

But Craig Lalley demurs:

You can do most everything you need to do through the command port.  However, you cannot update the firmware, or monitor the array. If the firmware is correct, you can semi-monitor the VA through the serial port.

Jack Connor of Abtech adds:

You need either the HP-UX or Windows version of Command View to manage and diagnose the VA. You can configure it somewhat from the serial port in the back, but if there are log entries, such as a controller going bad or other issues, you’re going to have problems identifying them. Also, disc and controller firmware updates require CommandView.

While it will run on a WinTel platform, in my experience the fiber cards for a PC are (or at least were) cost-prohibitive compared to something like a J6700 workstation.