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IBM TS2900 Tape Autoloader Express

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Published on 23 September 2014, updated 07 May 2015

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IBM Form #: TIPS1220

Authors: Larry Coyne

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    IBM® TS2900 Tape Autoloader is a low-entry tape storage solution, designed to address capacity, data protection, reliability, availability, and affordability. IBM® TS2900 Tape Autoloader is a low-entry tape storage solution, designed to address capacity, data protection, reliability, availability, and affordability. See latest abstract here:


    This IBM® Redbooks® Product Guide describes the IBM TS2900 Tape Autoloader, designed for entry-level automation in small-to-medium business environments. With a low-profile, high-density storage capacity, the TS2900 is ideally suited for backup and archival operations. The TS2900 is available with IBM Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Ultrium 6 Half-High, LTO Ultrium 5 Half-High, and LTO Ultrium 4 Half-High SAS tape technology for a high-capacity, entry-priced tape storage solution.

    The TS2900 Tape Autoloader is shown in Figure 1.

    Figure 1. TS2900 Tape Autoloader
    Figure 1. TS2900 Tape Autoloader

    The TS2900 is equipped with standard features designed to provide ease-of-use and secured data backup. Web-based remote management, a bar code reader, and a removable tape magazine help provide ease of use. The TS2900 can be used in a rack system or on a desktop next to a server in an office. These types of features help reduce the requirements of IT personnel staff, and also help centralize backup in the data center. The TS2900 also supports the encryption of sensitive user data in combination with LTO Ultrium 6, 5, or 4 Half-High tape technology from IBM. With 6 Gbps SAS attach, the TS2900 is supported on IBM Power Systems, IBM System x®, System x (Lenovo), Intel, and other open system server platforms.

    Did you know?

    The TS2900 1U slim profile rack system environment is designed for automated, high-capacity tape storage and has the lowest entry price of any IBM tape automation offering IBM Half-High tape technology. The IBM LTO Ultrium Half-High technology delivers reliable performance for small-to-medium open system environments. The single I/O station helps support continuous backup and archive library operations, and the removable magazine facilitates the offsite relocation of cartridges and archival data. The design of the remote library management through a standard web interface offers flexibility and greater administrative control of storage operations without the need to touch the unit.


    The TS2900 has a nine-data-slot cartridge capacity for a total storage capacity of up to 56.25 TB with 2:5:1 compression, and also a single I/O station to provide undisturbed library operation when extracting or inserting data cartridges. The library uses one IBM LTO Ultrium Half-High tape drive (in these TS2900 models, an LTO Ultrium 6 S6H/S6R, LTO Ultrium 5 S5H/S5H, or an LTO Ultrium 4 S4H/S4R). The TS2900 is shipped as a rack mount unit, with the option of a desktop conversion kit. The TS2900 includes, as standard, a bar-code reader, which supports the operations in sequential or random access mode. Remote administration and management capabilities are possible through the web interface that is also included as standard.

    LTO technology

    With its use of LTO Ultrium 6 Half-High, LTO Ultrium 5 Half-High, or one Ultrium LTO Ultrium 4 Half-High tape drive and a nine-tape cartridge capacity, the TS2900 can store up to 56.25 TB compressed (22.5 TB native). The IBM LTO Ultrium 6 tape drive supports data transfer rates up to 160 MBps. The IBM LTO Ultrium 5 tape drive supports up to 140 MBps native data-transfer. IBM LTO standards leadership continues with the LTO Ultrium 6 tape drive technology and LTO Ultrium 6 media with a compressed capacity of up to 6.25 TB with 2.5 to 1 compression (up to 2.5 native capacity) compared to previous LTO Ultrium 5 compressed capacity of up to 3.0 TB with 2:1 compression (up to 1.5 TB native capacity) per tape cartridge.

    The drives are backward compatible as follows: LTO Ultrium 6 Half-High tape drives can read and write to LTO Ultrium 5 media and read LTO Ultrium 4 media; LTO Ultrium 5 Half-High tape drives can read and write to LTO Ultrium 4 media and read LTO Ultrium 3 media. They have speed-matching and channel calibration for improved performance. They support the leading operating systems and popular backup software.


    Data is one of the most highly valued resources in a competitive business environment. Protecting that data, controlling access to it, and verifying its authenticity while maintaining its availability are priorities in our security–conscious world. Increasing regulatory requirements are also helping to direct the need for the adequate security of data. LTO Ultrium 4, 5, and 6 tape drive technology helps address security and compliance requirements with its continued Write Once Read Many (WORM) and Application Managed Encryption (AME) capability.

    Advanced encryption through Library Managed Encryption (LME) and System Managed Encryption (SME) are available as optional Transparent LTO Encryption feature 5900. For key management for encryption, IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager V2 (formerly IBM Tivoli® Key Lifecycle Manager) is required. Whether encryption is application- or hardware-based, vital data can securely be stored to help ensure compliancy with data security, information disclosure, and privacy regulations for data at rest. For LTO Ultrium 6 and 5, IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager is required for enabling LME and SME.

    IBM Linear Tape File System (LTFS)

    IBM Linear Tape File System™ (LTFS) is the first file system that works in conjunction with LTO generation 5 tape technology to set a new standard for ease-of-use and portability for open systems tape storage. This drive is the first LTO generation to introduce media partitioning, which allows LTO Ultrium 5 media to be divided into segments, improving accessibility by providing the ability to quickly locate data to retrieve or update.

    IBM Spectrum Archive™, a member of the IBM Spectrum Storage™ family, enables direct, intuitive and graphical access to data stored in IBM tape drives and libraries by incorporating the Linear Tape File System™ (LTFS) format standard for reading, writing and exchanging descriptive metadata on formatted tape cartridges. Spectrum Archive eliminates the need for additional tape management and software to access data. Spectrum Archive offers three software solutions for managing your digital files with the LTFS format: Single Drive Edition, Library Edition, and Enterprise Edition. IBM LTFS Library Edition supports the TS2900 models S6H and S5H.

    With LTFS, accessing data stored on an IBM tape cartridge became as easy and intuitive as using a USB flash drive. With LTFS file manager, reading data on a tape cartridge can be as easy as dragging and dropping. Users can run any application designed for disk files against tape data without being concerned that the data is physically stored on tape. Originally built on the LTO Ultrium 5 format standard, IBM Linear Tape File System Library Edition provides a direct, intuitive, graphical access to data stored in IBM tape drives and libraries using LTO Ultrium 6 or 5 tape cartridges.

    Benefits of LTFS Library Edition (LE) are as follows:

    • The graphical user interface helps reduce complexity by enabling an icon-based view of an LTO Ultrium 5 or 6 library, including tape cartridges and files using the operating system's file manager.
    • LE can help reduce costs because it does not require any additional tape management software or utilities.
    • The file system API of the operating system is used to provide a basic read/write interface to the tape library for applications without any extra operating system enhancements such as “plug-ins” or service packs.
    • “Mount-less” cartridge inquiry for fast access is achieved after the tape library is inventoried. Tape cartridges do not have to be remounted to retrieve content index data, and basic cartridge information, such as volume name, serial number, and others.
    • LTFS LE software can be ordered concurrently with hardware or as software only for installed supported tape libraries. LTFS LE for LTO Ultrium 5 and 6 tape drives can be ordered as product identifier (PID) software base order number 5639-LT1. The feature number is 5806.

    Part number information

    Table 1 lists part numbers and feature codes for the TS2900.

    Table 1. TS2900 Tape Autoloader ordering information
    Description HVEC MTM
    TS2900 Tape Autoloader with Ultrium 6 Half-High SAS tape drive3572S6R3572-S6H
    TS2900 Tape Autoloader with Ultrium 5 Half-High SAS tape drive3572S5R3572-S5H
    TS2900 Tape Autoloader with Ultrium 4 Half-High SAS tape drive 3572S4R 3572-S4H
    Optional feature codesPart numberFeature code
    Transparent LTO Encryption45E37975900 (5901 for LTO-6)
    Rack mount kit45E37857006
    Deskside covers45E37897010
    Additional Magazine45E37938111
    Ultrium Tape Cartridges
    WORM media*
    Ultrium 6 media 5-pack35P19028605
    Ultrium 5 media 5-pack46C20848505
    Ultrium 4 media 5-pack95P42788405
    Ultrium 3 media 5-pack95P20208305
    Ultrium Cleaning Cartridge23R7008 8002
    2.0 m SAS/Mini-SAS 1x Cable 95P47115402
    2.0 m Mini-SAS/Mini-SAS 1x Cable95P4713 5502
    * Ultrium 3, 4, 5, and 6 WORM media and tape cartridge options can be ordered at:

    The IBM Ultrium WORM cartridges (Machine Type 3589) were designed for applications, such as archiving and data retention, and for applications that require an audit trail. IBM Ultrium 3, 4, 5, and 6 tape drive WORM support allows vital data to be stored in a non-erasable, non-rewritable format provided for these types of applications. The IBM Ultrium WORM cartridges work with the IBM LTO Ultrium tape drives to help prevent the alteration or deletion of user data. In addition, IBM took several steps to reduce the possibility of tampering with the information:
    • The bottom of the cartridge is molded in a different color than rewritable cartridges.
    • The special cartridge memory helps protect the WORM nature of the media.
    • A unique format is factory-written on each WORM cartridge.

    Table 2 lists the specifications for the TS2900.

    Table 2. TS2900 specifications

    Tape drive type 1 Ultrium 4 Half-High or 1 Ultrium 5 Half-High or 1 Ultrium 6 Half-High
    Number of tape cartridges 9
    Number of I/O slots 1
    Tape media physical capacity
    • Up to 6.25 TB per cartridge with 2.5 to 1 compression; 2.5 TB native with LTO-6 media
    • Up to 3.0 TB per cartridge compressed; 1.5 TB native with LTO-5 media
    • Up to 1.6 TB per cartridge compressed; 800 GB native with LTO-4 media
    • Up to 800 GB per cartridge compressed; 400 GB native with LTO-3 media
    Data transfer rate (per drive)
    • Up to 160 MBps native with Ultrium LTO-6 tape drive
    • Up to 140 MBps native with Ultrium LTO-5 tape drive
    • Up to 120 MBps native with Ultrium LTO-4 tape drive
    Tape Autoloader Capacity
    • Up to 56.25 TB with 2.5:1 compression; 22.5 TB native with LTO-6 media
    • Up to 27 TB per tape library compressed; 13.5 TB native with LTO-5 media
    • Up to 14.4 TB per tape library compressed; 7.2 TB native with LTO-4 media
    • Up to 7.2 TB per tape Library compressed; 3.6 TB native with LTO-3 media
    Attachment support 6 Gbps SAS
    Warranty One-year, Customer Replaceable Unit (CRU) service in most countries
    Operating environment
    Dimensions (W x H x D) 17.6 in (445 mm) x 1.7 in (43.6 mm) x 33.3 in (847 mm)
    • 28.66 lb (13 kg) with no drive and no cartridge
    • 39.7 lb (18 kg) with drive and cartridge
    Temperature 50 to 100 degrees F (10 to 38 degrees C)
    Relative humidity 20% RH to 80% RH
    Electrical power 1.3 amps at 100 V ac; 0.7 amps at 240 V ac 0.1 KVA
    Noise level 6.6 dBA (idle); 6.8 dBA

    What's in the TS2900 shipping box?

    The group box contains the following items:
    • Tape autoloader with Ultrium 4 Half-High (Model S4H/S4R) or Ultrium 5 Half-High tape drive (Model S5H/S5R) or Ultrium 6 Half-High tape drive (Model S6H/S6R)
    • Rack mount kit with device to PDU line cord or Deskside Cover (one must be selected)
    • SAS wrap tool
    • Drive includes two Mini-SAS (SFF-8088) connectors
    • One removable nine-cartridge magazine
    • Power cord (must be selected)
    • One IBM Ultrium Cleaning Cartridge (universal)
    • IBM System Storage TS2900 Tape Autoloader Setup, Operator, and Service Guide, GC27-2212-02
    • IBM System Storage TS2900 Tape Autoloader Installation Quick Reference Guide, GA76-0423-00
    • Quality hotline card
    • Device Driver readme sheet
    • IBM System Storage Translated Safety Notices
    • Multi-language Statement of Limited Warranty
    • Statement of Limited Warranty Pointer Sheet
    • Misc documents CD

    Supported hardware platforms

    Supported hardware platforms for the TS2900 are as follows:
    • IBM BladeCenter®
    • IBM Power Systems® (p6 and newer)
    • IBM System i®
    • IBM System p® (p5 and older)
    • IBM System x®
    • System x (Lenovo)
    • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
    • Hewlett Packard
    • Intel (x86 and x86_64)
    • Oracle Solaris and Sun

    Supported operating systems

    Supported operating systems for the TS2900 are as follows:
    • IBM AIX® 6.1 TL7
    • IBM AIX 7.1 TL1
    • IBM i 6.1.1
    • IBM i 7.1
    • IBM i 7.1 TR8
    • IBM i 7.2
    • Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP2
    • Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP3
    • Oracle Solaris 11.1
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.9
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5
    • Sun Solaris 10

    Check the latest support levels and configuration information for LTO tape drives, platforms, operating systems, and attachments at the IBM Systems Storage Interoperation Center (SSIC):

    Supported software products

    The TS2900 supported software products are as follows:
    • IBM Linear Tape File System Library Edition
    • Spectrum Protect™: IBM Tivoli Storage Manager
    • IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager
    • Atempo Time Navigator 4.1/4.2
    • CA ARCserve Backup
    • CommVault Systems: Galaxy
    • Dell NetVault (formerly BakBone Software NetVault)
    • EMC NetWorker
    • Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 and 2010
    • Symantec NetBackup
    • Thales Encryption Manager for Storage
    • Yosemite Backup

    For current IBM software products and independent software vendor products that support TS2900, see the Independent Software Vendor (ISV) matrix for 3592 and LTO tape drives:

    Warranty period and warranty service

    Every TS2900 is covered by the following warranty:
    • System one year

    Optional IBM features initially installed in an IBM system carry the same warranty and warranty service support category as the system. If installed after the initial system installation, they carry the balance of the system warranty or the optional feature warranty, whichever is greater.

    Customer replaceable unit (CRU) service

    IBM provides replacement CRUs for you to install. CRU information and replacement instructions are included with your machine and are available from IBM upon your request.

    Table 3 lists the various warranty options for models of the TS2900 Tape Autoloader.

    Table 3. Warranties and maintenance
    IBM ServicePac®TS2900 LTO Ultrium 4
    Half-High tape drive
    TS2900 LTO Ultrium 5
    Half-High tape drive
    TS2900 LTO Ultrium 6
    Half-High tape drive
    Warranty and maintenance option
    3 Year Onsite Exchange 24x7 4 Hour Response96P290591Y641300AA248
    3 Year Onsite Exchange 9x5 Next Business Day96P290491Y641200AA247
    5 Year Onsite Exchange 24x7 4 Hour Response29R516691Y641100AA249
    Maintenance agreement
    1 Year Onsite Exchange 24x7 4 Hour Response44J893391Y641500AA251
    1 Year Onsite Exchange 9x5 Next Business Day44J893291Y641400AA250
    2 Year Onsite Exchange 24x7 4 Hour Response44J893591Y641700AA253
    2 Year Onsite Exchange 9x5 Next Business Day44J893491Y641600AA252
    Remote technical support
    RTS for Tape Devices: 1-year91Y885591Y885591Y8855
    RTS for Tape Devices: 3-year91Y885691Y885691Y8856

    : Each ServicePac is country-specific and is valid only when purchased and registered in the country in which IBM service will be provided. For a complete list of ServicePac part numbers that are specific to your country, see the IBM ServicePac Worldwide Product Matrix:

    Related publications

    For more information, see the following resources:


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    Special Notices

    The material included in this document is in DRAFT form and is provided 'as is' without warranty of any kind. IBM is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of the material, and may update the document at any time. The final, published document may not include any, or all, of the material included herein. Client assumes all risks associated with Client's use of this document.