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3590 is the machine type of a tape backup system based on the 1/2-inch cartridge which uses a linear serpentine recording technique.

"Effective September 29, 2006, IBM will withdraw from marketing the 3590 Enterprise Tape Drive. The IBM TotalStorage 3590 Enterprise Tape Drive has been replaced by the IBM System Storage TS1120 Tape Drive." [1]

Tape Drive

There are several models of 3590s: standalone single drive, rackmounted with autoloader, etc.
The alpha character following the dash indicates what kind of read/write drive is used.

3590-B drive
128 tracks
V3R2 and later[2]
3590-E drive
256 tracks
V4R1 and later[2]
3590-H drive
384 tracks
V4R5 and later[2]


There are two kinds of 3590 media, distinguishable by the color of the plastic insert on the cartridge and the single letter designation.

3590-J media
blue tab
1050 feet
3590-J tapes can be referred to as "3590" or "native" tapes, as they were the original length.
3590-K media
green tab
2070 feet
3590-K tapes can be referred to as "3590E" tapes, as they are the "extended" length. This has nothing to do with the 3590-E drive model.


The capacity of a given 3590 cartridge depends on the drive, the media, and compression.
It varies from 10GB to 180GB per cartridge.

Drive 3590-J
3590-B 10GB
3590-E 20GB
3590-K 30GB
Note: (##GB) denotes capacity with compression.


Operator Guide

  • (PDF) of IBM Magstar 3590 Tape Subsystem
  • Document Number: GA32-0330-05
  • Build Date: May 1999

3590 Reference Codes

Other Manuals


  1. Withdrawal announcement from IBM.com
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 (PDF) of interoperability matrix from Support for 3590 Enterprise Tape System

External links