IBM Passes Goal of Backing UP 1TB in an Hour

In today’s environment of rapidly growing IT demands, managing a terabyte of data has becoming a common occurrence. And while technological advances have made loading a terabyte much easier, the ability to back up and restore such a vast volume of data remains a problem.

In a testament to the increased scalability and performance of the new 800 series, the Teraplex Center not only met its goal but far surpassed it, backing up 2.6 terabytes of data in one hour on a 24-way SMP model 840
Back in May, IBM introduced a new line of AS/400 server—the 800 series—that was the first in the industry to use IBM’s patented copper and silicon-on-insulator (SOI) chip technologies. On the high end, IBM reported the new SOI technologies and other enhanced features resulted in the AS/400 840 server performing 3.6 times faster than comparable servers in its class.

With this in mind, the IBM AS/400 Teraplex Integration Center recently put the model 840 to the test, attempting to backup a terabyte of data in one hour. Previous attempts to backup that amount of data on an AS/400 had come up short. The best result, which took place in May 1999 on a 12-way SMP model 740 using 18 model 3590 E tape drives, topped out at 350GB in one hour.

In a testament to the increased scalability and performance of the new 800 series, the Teraplex Center not only met its goal but far surpassed it, backing up 2.6 terabytes of data in one hour on a 24-way SMP model 840—a six times performance improvement over the previous high mark. The I/O subsystem was made up of: eight High Speed Links (HSLs), three towers per HSL (for 24 towers), and each tower had one attached 3590 and 45 disk drives (DASD units).

“Our goal was to back up one terabyte an hour, so when we go to 2.6 terabytes, we were thrilled because it definitely outperformed our expectations," says Amy Anderson, IBM Teraplex Center specialist. “Data volumes are growing exponentially and when organizations realize they’re moving into terabytes of data, their main fear is backup and storage. This gives AS/400 customers the confidence that they can handle their backup and storage requirements.”

Typically, backing up large amounts of data is troublesome for two reasons. The first is that copying the data to the tape drives is generally a very slow process, and second is that the AS/400 is likely to be unavailable while the copying process is taking place.

According to Anderson, the biggest reason for the drastic increase in the backup performance stems mainly from the 840, especially the new and improved HSLs. “We used the same tape drives, so this really was a test of the new AS/400 model 840,” says Anderson. “We knew that the new hardware included newer, faster buses (HSLs), which allowed us to connect more tape drives to a single system.”

Along with the improved HSL buses, Anderson also pointed out to the faster chips as a reason for the performance improvement pointing out that the 840 “was two times bigger and faster in regards to the 740.”

Although most companies might not have the means to use a 24-way 840 with 24 model 3590 E tape drives, Anderson says the new results should give high-end users confidence in the new 800 series because, “If they go out and buy five hard drives, they’re still going to get high performance.”

For the much-maligned AS/400, the announcement comes at a time when some have raised doubts of its future. Tom Moskalick, IBM Teraplex Center specialist, says the results are another indication of the AS/400’s performance and scalability. “The AS/400 continues to scale on the high end,” he says. “This gives us the ability to say that the AS/400 is a platform that scales with your business.”

Related Editorial:

  • Benchmark Testing Shows Power of 8xx Series
  • New AS/400 Raises Benchmark Bar

    Related Information:

  • IBM AS/400 Page (new window)