New Tape Products Are Tip of the Iceberg

Nearly all major tape vendors are expected to make announcements about smaller automated libraries as the industry undergoes a growth explosion.

Several tape vendors have announced new products designed to capture the growing market for storage of e-mail and compliance data.

Automated tape storage vendor Qualstar Corp. of Simi Valley, Calif., announced the RLS-8204 capacity-on-demand library, allowing users to add and pay for storage capacity as needed.

The product ships with 12 LTO 3 tape cartridge slots with a native capacity of 4.8TB.

Users can add up to four 3.2-terabyte increments for a total native capacity of 17.6TB, said Qualstar president William Gervais.

The RLS-8204 transfers data at 576GB per hour and with compression, can exceed 1.1TB per hour, Gervais said.

Also on the LTO front, Quantum Corp. of San Jose, Calif., announced a new version of its LTO-2 Half Height tape drive, which it acquired from Certance last year.

/zimages/6/28571.gifTo read more about Quantums agreement to purchase Certance, click here.

The tape drives transfer rate has been increased to 26 MB per second, said Steve Berens, senior director of product marketing and strategy for Quantums Storage Devices Business Unit.

The LTO-2 Half Height tape drive also has been subjected to more rigorous reliability testing at a MCBF (Mean Cycle Between Failure) rate of more than 100,000 cycles.

On the other end of the tape spectrum, data center operation support software vendor B&L Associates Inc. of Needham, Mass., has announced VaultLedger, a tape management software solution that adds more tracking, reporting and other management functions to tape cartridges being sent off-site.

Its Web-based interface allows administrators control over backup tapes from any computer at any time, said Michael Kramer, B&Ls vice president of sales and marketing.

VaultLedger, which works with most backup systems, also includes an optional remote hosting feature, barcode scanning technology for inputting and reconciling action lists quickly, automatic recording of all tape information, and a reconciliation report for reconciling on- and off-site inventories.

These announcements are just a taste of whats to come for the tape industry, which is undergoing a growth explosion as vendors vie for the increasingly demanding and lucrative midmarket.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about new continuous data protection products.

"Tape vendors understand that many midtier companies want solutions to store e-mail and compliance data on tape and arent going to buy something like Centera," said Dianne McAdam, senior analyst at Data Mobility Group of Nashua, N.H.

Now that the tape libraries of large enterprises have largely been automated, automation of the midtier is the next frontier, McAdam said.

"There are smaller libraries with autoloaders that you can even buy out of a catalog—small, easy to plug in, inexpensive and automated," she said.

"You hear about people writing backup to the same tape over and over because they forgot to switch them out. Or offices where it was somebodys job to swap the tapes and label them. Its time for automation at smaller organizations and remote offices."

To meet that demand, McAdam said virtually all major vendors will be making announcements about smaller automated libraries this summer, starting later this month.

"Its about smaller libraries, more robotics, more management," she said. "And they are all talking about higher capacity cartridges and higher performance drives. This is just the beginning."

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