StorageTek Preps New Flagship Tape Library

Due next spring, the StreamLine SL8500 takes aim at information lifecycle management services, with SAN support and virtualization onboard.

Storage Technology Corp., aka StorageTek, Wednesday will unveil its StreamLine SL8500, its next-generation flagship tape library. The new model will replace the current high-end PowderHorn 9310, officials said in an interview with eWEEK.

StreamLine will ship in the second quarter of 2004 and have eight robots working individually within a single chassis. Each chassis will hold 8,000 cartridges, and storage managers will be able to daisy-chain up to 25 units together, said Jon Benson, vice president of library development.

"Its got SAN plumbing, its got virtualization built into it. Its really the foundation of information lifecycle management for StorageTek," he said.

The library will ship in the second quarter of 2004, Benson said. StorageTek CEO Pat Martin will introduce the product to users tonight at the Louisville, Colo.-firms Forum 2003 conference in San Diego.

StreamLine will provide "multiples of [PowderHorn 9310] in speed. Im talking about how fast customers can actually access and get to their data," Benson said. "It can be serviced while its on," including the robots, he added. "Its got a full suite of management software thats much different than what currently exists in the 9310," for drives and systems management, Benson said.

Compared to the PowderHorn 9310, SL8500 modules use only half as much floor space, because of their tightly-packed cartridge slots and through the elimination of side-facing doors. The 9310 models will continue to be available through 2005, Benson said. Looking forward, Benson observed, StreamLine will be "the first in the next generation. We did start with a clean sheet of paper." Future versions will be tailored for smaller-scale needs, and will have disk-based backup included.

Pricing is not yet disclosed, officials said. The high-end library space is heating up. StorageTeks StreamLine will compete against products such as Advanced Digital Information Corp.s Pathlight and Spectra Logic Corp.s Gator series..

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