ADIC Merges SANs With Tape Storage

Libraries offer 2G-bps Fibre Channel adapters.

Common myths in the data storage industry are that tape libraries are dead and that 2G-bps SANs and storage over IP arent ready for prime time.

Advanced Digital Information Corp.—better known as ADIC—wants to prove otherwise.

The Redmond, Wash., company announced last week that its midrange and data center tape libraries are now shipping with dual 2G-bps Fibre Channel adapters.

"What were announcing is the integration of storage networking within the tape library," said Jeff Eckard, product manager at ADIC.

ADIC is also shipping a new management console, data path conditioning, firewall SAN (storage area network) security, data movement and multiple fabric support, officials said.

The Fibre Channel functionality—incorporating the companys Scalar 100- and Scalar 1000-series products—was obtained when ADIC acquired Pathlight Technology Inc., of Ithaca, N.Y., in January. Late next year or early in 2003, ADIC will add iSCSI support and tighter application integration with the tapes and the buffering features, officials said.

An early user of the Scalar 1000 series is Microsoft Corp. in its implementation of the U.S. Geological Surveys aerial imaging project. The joint Web site has about 300 million images and 40,000 daily users, and the ADIC technology has improved reliability and performance, said Tom Barclay, TerraServer group program manager at Microsoft, also in Redmond.

Pricing for the Scalar 100 series, which holds up to 14.4 terabytes, starts at $28,700. The Scalar 1000 series starts at $63,900 and holds up to 38 terabytes in one cabinet and up to 190 terabytes with expansion modules, Eckard said.

"Physical disk mediums are coming down in cost to a point thats getting closer to tape, but disk is not an off-site archival medium. The library business keeps getting bigger," said industry analyst Steve Duplessie, of Enterprise Storage Group Inc., in Milford, Mass.

But, Duplessie noted, although the Fibre Channel integration helps with connectivity, it wont speed up tape access because thats limited to 5MB per second—about 150 times slower than Fibre Channel technology. If the pricing meets customers needs, there is really no catch, he said.