Certance Preps New Virtual Tape Appliance

Aimed at SMB customers, the forthcoming CP 3100 offers room for files, an integrated tape drive and storage management software.

Certance LLC will launch a virtual tape appliance for the small- and mid-sized business (SMB) market in early November, officials said Friday.

Certance, formerly Seagate Removable Storage Solutions, will announce the product Monday with a list price of $1,499, said Mike Lakowicz, vice president of product strategy, in Costa Mesa, Calif.

"Its a market thats totally under-served. Disk-to-disk-to-tape has been around in one form or another for quite a while, but its very enterprise-centric," with products typically starting at more than $7,000, he noted.

The new CP 3100 will include a 160GB serial ATA drive, three extra ports for more capacity, and an optional integrated Digital Audio Tape (DAT) 72 drive. Users can also connect older Digital Data Storage (DDS) 4 drives, he said. Also included will be dual SCSI controllers, dual Gigabit Ethernet controllers, Yosemite Technologies Inc.s TapeWare software, and Web-based management features.

IT administrators sometimes build such solutions on their own for departmental or remote offices, using just a bunch of disk (JBOD) and third-party management software, but thats inefficient, Lakowicz said. Certances appliance server uses Debian Linux, and has software for archiving, media management, and pool management—the latter being essentially a virtualization tool, he explained.

According to Lakowicz, by early next year, Certance will provide a programming interface and iSCSI support. With the iSCSI option, a TCP/IP offload engine (TOE) is also being considered. Other possibilities are a bundle of an appliance with an autoloader; application-specific versions, such as for Microsoft Exchange; and a version using optical storage instead of tapes, he added.

Certance has not yet announced any CP 3100 customers. But among the CP 3100s unique features is its remote management, said Nashua, N.H.-based industry analyst Dianne McAdam, of Data Mobility Group Inc. "It will e-mail an IT person in the central office if the backup fails, so it takes all that management burden off the guys in the remote office," she explained.

McAdam said other vendors will likely attempt a similar solution, but users may not like them. "I dont think they can be as cost-competitive. I dont see that anybody else is delivering."