IBM System Storage TS3500 Tape Library

In January of 2013, ARSC upgraded to a completely new storage system. The Sun StorageTek SL8500 was replaced by the IBM TS3500 tape library.

Galaga system image


  • 1,800 3592JC tape cartridges with a raw capacity of 7.2PB utilizing six IBM TS1140 tape drives
  • 400 LTO-4 tape cartridges with a raw capacity of 320TB utilizing six IBM TS1050 tape drives
  • Total tape slot count of over 2,600 tapes in a mix of LTO and 3592 media


The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center (ARSC) operates and maintains an IBM TS3500 storage system tape library for enterprise-scale, long-term data storage. Effectively, this system provides unlimited library space for information which has not been recently accessed. This data is stored on Tape cartridges with barcodes that are read by scanners, numbered, and labeled for quick access.

ARSC operates an automated tape cartridge system for storage of users' data. The Storage and Archive Management (SAM) software provides semi-transparent access to the data. SAM automatically copies all user files on the storage servers to tapes in the tape library. Once copies are made on tape, SAM maintains adequate free disk space by releasing less-recently-used data blocks from disk. If a file whose data blocks only reside on tape is opened, SAM automatically mounts the appropriate tape and restores the data to disk.

Access time to a file on a tape consists of the time taken to retrieve and load the tape cartridge into a tape drive (about 10 seconds) and the time required to locate the file on the tape (up to 120 seconds, depending upon where on the tape the file is located) for an average response time of about one minute.

This storage silo offers enhanced data accessibility through dual accessors that increase speed and provide failover protection, including dual maintenance bays available for non-disruptive accessor replacement; as well as the ability to attach multiple simultaneous heterogeneous servers, which consist of a mix of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Oracle Solaris servers.

Information is always readily available to users as, what appears to be, a seamless extension of essentially unlimited disk space.


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