StorageTek and Sun tighten the knot

Facing increased competition from EMC's recent entry into the tape market, StorageTek has strengthened its OEM ties with Sun

StorageTek Corp. has reinvigorated its OEM partnership with Sun Microsystems Inc. and announced a new tape library for small businesses.

The news comes hot on the heels of EMC Corp.'s recent move into the tape market via a reseller deal with Advanced Digital Information Corp (ADIC). EMC bad-mouthed the tape market for years, but finally conceded earlier this month to user demands to integrate its disk arrays with tape for long-term archiving purposes.

Meanwhile, StorageTek has stepped up its partnership with Sun, which will now resell its high-end Powderhorn 9310 tape library and StreamLine SL8500 modular tape library under its own StorEdge brand. Sun was already reselling StorageTek's L-series tape libraries.

Jon Benson, vice president and general manager of tape solutions at StorageTek said the two companies will work together on marketing and strategy. "There will be much more sharing between the Sun and StorageTek sales teams," he said.

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On the product side, StorageTek announced a new addition to its StreamLine series of modular tape libraries, dubbed the SL500. A smaller version of the SL8500, which starts with 1,000 cartridges and scales up to as many as required, the SL500 has the same software features but starts with a footprint of 30 cartridges and scales up to 500. It supports LTO Gen-2 and will support SDLT tape formats in future versions.

"The SL500 offers 220 TB of capacity and the mechanical reliability of a monolithic library coupled with the small form factor and modularity of a rack-mount library," Benson said.

The trend here is to provide automation (tape drives and robotics) to the small business market and to bring reliable robotics downstream to those users that don't require the large capacity available with big tape libraries, according to Diane McAdam, senior analyst and partner at the Data Mobility Group. "It is good news for customers with limited floor space," she said.

The StreamLine series of products differs from StorageTek's other tape libraries in its modular design. Users upgrading libraries traditionally experienced disruptions because they have had to move to a completely different library. The StreamLine series lets them add capacity and functionality within the same system.

Lastly, StorageTek announced Backup Resource Monitor (BRM), a software product for monitoring SAN devices, tape libraries and backup clients all within a single view. However, BRM is somewhat limited in its support for the range of products out there. It works with StorageTek's tape libraries, but not its disk arrays and backup applications from Veritas and Legato, as well as SAN switches from Brocade and McData.

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