Hewlett-Packard Co.s HP StorageWorks 6000 Virtual Library System is a useful solution for accelerating backup and restore jobs. The StorageWorks 6000 VLS ease of use and functionality should make it an especially attractive choice for small and midsize businesses. Disk-based backup systems have increased in popularity during the last few years. Despite this demand, tape backups are still a fixture in most companies. With that in mind, virtual tape library systems are a good choice for IT managers who want to improve the performance and reliability of their backup and restore services but dont want to walk away from their expensive tape and backup software investments.The StorageWorks 6000 VLS, which began shipping in June, ranges in capacity from 2.5TB to 10TB; with 2-1 compression, this capacity maxes out at an impressive 20TB for a single library. The HP system, which interoperates with most major backup software packages, is priced competitively. With a 2.5TB capacity, it costs $29,103; additional 2.5TB capacity bundles can be purchased for $22,521 each. Click here to read about EFIs use of Data Domains disk-based backup solution. The StorageWorks 6000 VLS connects to a backup network via a Fibre Channel SAN (storage area network), where it appears as a tape library. During eWEEK Labs tests, the systems basic configuration tools allowed us to emulate HP tape libraries using predefined profiles that detailed how many tape slots were available and the type of virtual tape drives we wanted to emulate. We could create similar configurations to emulate non-HP librariesa handy feature for shops using tape libraries from other vendors. The virtualization software in the StorageWorks 6000 VLS has the ability to present as many as 16 libraries to a backup network. With this capability, the StorageWorks 6000 VLS can easily back up multiple servers at the same time. The primary reason for acquiring a StorageWorks 6000 VLS is performance. Data throughput tops out at 450MB per second for the 10TB system, with a 150MB-per-second limit for each individual stream. While competitors products, including FalconStor Software Inc.s VirtualTape Library, offer optional iSCSI support, the HP system provides no iSCSI support at all. This will likely preclude the use of the StorageWorks 6000 VLS at shops that dont already have a Fibre Channel SAN. WORM support and encryption are not available for the HP system, either, but both should be relatively easy to add in the future because the appliance runs on server-class hardware. Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.