By Henry Baltazar  |  Posted 2004-03-22 Print this article Print

: An Attractive Option"> The recent emergence of low-cost ATA-based storage systems, however, has created an attractive secondary storage tier for IT managers who dont want to implement optical or tape nearline solutions.

According to Michael Marchi, senior director of enterprise marketing at Network Appliance Inc., NetApp customers are deploying ATA-based systems as a storage tier behind their primary storage. This strategy has yielded significant benefits, because ATA provides inexpensive, online, fast data access without the performance issues associated with tape.

"NetApp tiered-migration deployments have increased with the proliferation of nearline storage," said Marchi, in Durham, N.C. "It is important to note that software, as associated with ATA storage systems, is critical in achieving the level of performance and reliability that customers demand. Simply purchasing a commodity ATA system without value-add software is a recipe for disaster."

Another new concept is the use of WORM technologies to make hard-drive-based storage suitable for long-term archiving.

During interviews with storage vendors, eWEEK Labs was not surprised to find that those with tape solutions (including StorageTek and Hewlett-Packard Co.) were less enthusiastic about using hard drives for archiving than vendors that concentrate mostly on disks, including NetApp and EMC.

Some storage pundits and storage vendors who traditionally focus on disk-based storage have predicted the demise of tape for many years, but the market has consistently proved them wrong. Customer demand for tape solutions is strong, and HP, for one, does not see this changing in the near future. "Tape will continue to be an important media for customers," said Rusty Smith, director of ILM for HP, in Houston.

eWEEK Labs believes that tape will be around for many years because it is a mature technology and has been proven as a removable storage medium.

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