Upgrading is a way of life in the world of high tech. But a company next month will unveil an automated tape library that scales to 13 petabytes.
The massive system—designed to ensure the customers will never have to upgrade again—will be announced early next month by StorageTek, officially called Storage Technology Corp., at the Networld+Interop trade show in Las Vegas, company officials said.
The L-5500 system holds up to 960 tape drives. Its a huge leap over the Louisville, Colo., companys current largest product, the L-700, which scales to just 40 drives and 74.5 terabytes, said Tom Balue, manager of product marketing.
Despite recent offerings from companies like EMC Corp. and Network Appliance Inc. for using inexpensive disks to replace tape, "I think tape is gaining its edge," Balue said. And now that size is a non-issue—StorageTeks current largest actual implementation is five L-700s totaling 350 terabytes, a long way from the 5500s 13 petabytes—future improvements in reliability, serviceability and administration will ensure that tapes future will brighten, not dim, he said.
"They are able to accommodate customers who need the upper limits of data storage on tape for backup and archiving," said Robert Amatruda, a tape analyst with International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass. Beside its size, the 5500 also stands out for its partitioning ability, Amatruda said. The size may sound flamboyant, but "if youre talking the Bank of Americas of the world, the General Motors of the world … absolutely" its useful, he said.
The L-5500 will be generally available in mid- to late-May, and will cost $163,000 each. The 13-petabyte sizes are achieved by linking 24 units at a cost of about $3.5 million.