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Quantum Scalar i6000 enterprise-class tape library is aimed at data archiving

Todd Erickson
Quantum Corp. today launched a new high-end tape library aimed largely at enterprises with vast data

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archiving needs. The Scalar i6000 features an archive-tape integrity monitoring technology, higher-capacity LTO-5 tape drives, and support for larger bulk exports than the model it replaces, the Scalar i2000.

Quantum's automation product marketing manager Ryan Duffy said the Scalar i6000 supports up to 96 4 Gbps or 8 Gbps LTO-5 tape drives, and scales to up to 12 modules, 5,322 cartridges, and 16 PB of storage capacity, a 52% increase over the i2000. Duffy says the i6000 is also backward compatible with the i2000.

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Robert Amatruda, a research director for data protection and recovery for the market research firm IDC, said the i6000 makes Quantum competitive in the high-end enterprise market with IBM Corp., Oracle Corp./Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. "I think Quantum will be in a much better competitive footing in the marketplace by being able to support more cartridges and more drives," Amatruda said. "Large customers of all flavors, including finance, oil and gas, and healthcare, you name it, need to support archives. It's just too damn expensive to keep volumes on disk drives."

Duffy said Quantum's customers are telling him tape is moving away from its role as a daily or even weekly data backup technology. "Tape's role has moved to more of a longer term product," Duffy said. "Maybe [administrators] don't do their daily backups there anymore, maybe not even weekly, but they are still using it when they do their monthly or quarterly backups. Tape has moved to more of a longer term archive and data retention play."

Scalar i6000 geared toward high-end data archiving

According to Duffy, Quantum geared the Scalar i6000 toward for the longer term data archive market with its iLayer proactive monitoring and management software and the introduction of the Media Data Integrity Analysis (MeDIA) feature. The MeDIA technology scans archived cartridges for integrity issues and notifies administrators if any cartridges may be damaged so data can be migrated off the cartridges before they are relied upon for restore.

For high-availability functionality, the Scalar i6000 features new control path and data path failover features to overcome network degradation by enabling the tape library or drive to automatically switch to a redundant path for continuous operation.

"When you go into that higher-end market," Amatruda added, "it's really about high availability. Those are the features that are really must-haves to play in that marketplace."

Quantum also released version 4.0 of its Vision centralized storage management software. Vision 4.0 incorporates expanded monitoring, improved alerting, and more granular and customizable reporting of the Scalar tape libraries and DXi series disk-based backup products.

Quantum also added more import/export stations to support the larger jobs that archiving entails. "Our customers are telling us is that because tape is becoming more of a longer term solution, the jobs are becoming bigger," Duffy said. "Weekly backups might only export 50 tapes a week. But now that you are doing more monthly backups, it's four times that. A 200 cartridge export is a totally different animal than a 50 cartridge export."

The Scalar i6000 is scheduled to ship around mid-year. Pricing for the i6000 starts at $63,000 for a 100-slot entry-level solution. Scalar i2000 customers can do a firmware upgrade for a $10,000 fee.


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