Many mainframe clients are feeling the pinch of technological progress. Older direct-attached physical tape drives, long the mainstay of backups, archives and DR are reaching end of life. Today’s hardware technology solutions require powerful new Virtual Tape units, which are much faster, more reliable, and have much more capacity and throughput. But they cost significantly more than the older tape units they replace. Where there is a large daily volume of mainframe data to be copied for backups and archives, this is a great value. In cases where the volume of data is not large (10 to 20 Terabytes per night) the investment needed can exceed the value.

IBM Cloud Tape Connector now offers an affordable software-defined alternative for low-volume shops. Cloud Tape Connector (CTC) adds a complete, robust virtual tape emulation (VTE) capability that uses primary disk as storage media. It is fully compatible with z/OS applications that are written to use tape for backup and archive. The new VTE component can use cloud storage as an e-Vault for mainframe backup and archive data. Cloud Tape Connector now provides a complete “deviceless” solution for replacing low-volume physical tape media with cloud storage. Cloud storage cannot match the performance characteristics of new Virtual Tape devices, yet for lower-volume situations it can be a great solution.

In addition to adding Virtual Tape Emulation, Cloud Tape Connector adds security options for storing data to the cloud. New in Version 2.1, CTC adds Life Cycle Encryption, which lets users ensure that any or all data sent to cloud storage is encrypted using either ICSF or hardware encryption if available. Encryption keys are then managed on the mainframe system, with no dependencies on keys either in SSL or in the cloud target environment. Encryption can be done on zIIP processors to reduce CPU workload. Alternatively, SSL can secure the data in flight and cloud object storage provides encryption at rest.

For more information about the new version of IBM Cloud Tape Connector please contact Bob Teter ( or check out the IBM Announcement Letter

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