Buying Guide

Enterprise-class tape library specifications

A tape library can be purchased to fit a wide range of budgets and storage requirements, and many models are expandable to support thousands of tape cartridges with transfer rates exceeding 25 TB/h. The following product snapshots highlight key specifications for a cross-section

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of enterprise-class tape library systems with a minimum of 100 TB of compressed capacity, SAN connectivity, and room for at least 100 tape cartridges in a base configuration. The following products were selected based on input from industry analysts and SearchStorage.com editors, and specifications are current as of November 2007.

These specifications are periodically updated, and vendors are welcome to submit their updates and new product specifications to sbigelow@techtarget.com.

Go to the first product snapshot, or select the desired product below:

  • Hewlett-Packard; HP StorageWorks EML E-Series Tape Library Family
  • Hewlett-Packard; HP StorageWorks ESL E-Series Tape Library Family
  • Hewlett-Packard; HP StorageWorks MSL 2024 Series Tape Library Family
  • Hewlett-Packard; HP StorageWorks MSL 4048 Series Tape Library Family
  • Hewlett-Packard; HP StorageWorks MSL 6000 Series Tape Library Family
  • Hewlett-Packard; HP StorageWorks MSL 8096 Series Tape Library Family
  • IBM Corp.; IBM 3500 Tape Library
  • Overland Storage; NEO Series 2000 Tape Library
  • Overland Storage; NEO Series 4000 Tape Library
  • Overland Storage; NEO Series 8000 Tape Library
  • Qualstar Corp.; TLS-8000 Tape Library Family
  • Qualstar Corp.; XLS Enterprise Library System
  • Quantum Corp.; Scalar 50 Tape Library
  • Quantum Corp.; Scalar i500 Tape Library
  • Quantum Corp.; Scalar i2000 Tape Library
  • SpectraLogic Corp.; T120 Tape Library
  • SpectraLogic Corp.; T950 Tape Library
  • Sun Microsystems Inc.; StorageTek L1400M
  • Sun Microsystems Inc.; StorageTek StreamLine SL8500

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    Product Snapshot #1
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    Product: HP StorageWorks EML E-Series Tape Library Family (1)

    Library Capacity: Up to 404 TB native (808 TB compressed 2:1)
    # of Drives: 1 to 16
    Tape Drives: LTO-4 Ultrium 1840; LTO-3 Ultrium 960
    Tape Media: Ultrium tapes
    # Tape Slots: 71 to 505
    Transfer Rate: 6.9 TB/hr native (13.8 TB/hr compressed 2:1)
    Connectivity: 4 Gbps FC
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: Starting at $81,797 U.S. list price
    Software: http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/ebs/
    Detailed Specs: http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/emleseries/index.html
    Vendor URL: www.hp.com

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    Product Snapshot #2
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    Product: HP StorageWorks ESL E-Series Tape Library Family (1)

    Library Capacity: Up to 2,836 TB native (5,673 compressed 2:1)
    # of Drives: 1 to 44
    Tape Drives: LTO-4 Ultrium 1840; LTO-3 Ultrium 960; SDLT 600
    Tape Media: Ultrium and SDLT tapes
    # Tape Slots: 322-3,546 (LTO Ultrium-based library); 286-3,138 (SDLT-based library)
    Transfer Rate: 19 TB/hr native (38 TB/hr compressed 2:1)
    Connectivity: 4 Gbps FC
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $120,000 U.S. list price
    Software: http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/ebs/
    Detailed Specs: http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/esltapelibraries/index.html
    Vendor URL: www.hp.com

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    Product Snapshot #3
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    Product: HP StorageWorks MSL 2024 Series Tape Library Family (1)

    Library Capacity: Up to 38.4 TB
    # of Drives: 1 LTO-4 Ultrium 1840; 1 LTO-3 Ultrium 960; 1-2 LTO-3 Ultrium 920; 1-2 LTO-2 Ultrium 448
    Tape Drives: LTO-4 Ultrium 1840; LTO-3 Ultrium 960; LTO-3 Ultrium 920; LTO-2 Ultrium 448
    Tape Media: LTO-4, LTO-3, LTO-2
    # Tape Slots: 24
    Transfer Rate: 864GB/hr (1 LTO-4 Ultrium 1840 drive configuration)
    Connectivity: Fibre Channel, SAS, SCSI
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $6,600 U.S. list price
    Software: www.hp.com/go/ebs
    Detailed Specs: http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/msl2024/index.html
    Vendor URL: www.hp.com

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    Product Snapshot #4
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    Product: HP StorageWorks MSL 4048 Series Tape Library Family (1)

    Library Capacity: Up to 76.8 TB
    # of Drives: 1 -2 LTO-4 Ultrium 1840; 1-2 LTO-3 Ultrium 960; 1-4 LTO-3 Ultrium 920;1-4 LTO-2 Ultrium 448
    Tape Drives: LTO-4 Ultrium 1840; LTO-3 Ultrium 960; LTO-3 Ultrium 920
    Tape Media: LTO-4, LTO-3, LTO-2
    # Tape Slots: 48
    Transfer Rate: 1.7 TB/hr (2 LTO-4 Ultrium 1840 drive configuration)
    Connectivity: Fibre Channel, SAS, SCSI
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $9,099 U.S. list price
    Software: www.hp.com/go/ebs
    Detailed Specs: http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/msl4048/index.html
    Vendor URL: www.hp.com

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    Product Snapshot #5
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    Product: HP StorageWorks MSL 6000 Series Tape Library Family (1)

    Library Capacity: Up to 384 TB
    # of Drives: 1-16 LTO-4 Ultrium 1840 (multi-unit); 1-16 Ultrium 960 (multi-unit); 1-16 SDLT 600 (multi-unit)
    Tape Drives: LTO-4 Ultrium 1840; Ultrium 960; SDLT 600
    Tape Media: LTO-4, Ultrium 960, SDLT 600
    # Tape Slots: 30 to 240 (Ultrium based library, multi unit); 26 to 2 28 (SDLT-based library, multi unit)
    Transfer Rate: 13.8 TB/hr (16 drive, multi-unit configuration)
    Connectivity: Fibre Channel, SCSI
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $12,000 U.S. list price
    Software: www.hp.com/go/ebs
    Detailed Specs: http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/msl6000/index.html
    Vendor URL: www.hp.com

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    Product Snapshot #6
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    Product: HP StorageWorks MSL 8096 Series Tape Library Family (1)

    Library Capacity: Up to 153.6 TB
    # of Drives: 2-4 LTO-4 Ultrium 1840; 2-4 LTO-3 Ultrium 960; 2-4 LTO-3 Ultrium 920
    Tape Drives: LTO-4 Ultrium 1840; LTO-3 Ultrium 960; LTO-3 Ultrium 920
    Tape Media: LTO-4, LTO-3, LTO-2
    # Tape Slots: 96
    Transfer Rate: 3.4TB/hr (4 LTO-4 Ultrium 1840 drive configuration)
    Connectivity: Fibre Channel, SAS, SCSI
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $29,999 US list price
    Software: www.hp.com/go/ebs
    Detailed Specs: http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/msl8096/index.html
    Vendor URL: www.hp.com

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    Product Snapshot #7
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    Product: IBM 3500 Tape Library (1)

    Library Capacity: LTO up to 5.5 PB (compressed capacity at 2:1); TS1120 up to 13.1 PB (compressed capacity at 3:1)
    # of Drives: 1 to 192 drives (2)
    Tape Drives: IBM TS1120, IBM 3592, IBM LTO Gen-3, Gen-2 drives
    Tape Media: 3592 and LTO tapes
    # Tape Slots: LTO up to 6887, TS1120 up to 6260 (2)
    Transfer Rate: up to 240 MBps for LTO Gen 4; up to 260 MBps for TS1120
    Connectivity: 4 Gbps FC
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: Starts at $45,000 U.S.
    Software: Tivoli Storage Manager, Symantec Veritas NetBackup and Backup Exec, EMC Legato Networker,CA Brightstor, HP Openview Storage Data Protector,CommVault Galaxy, BakBone NetVault
    Detailed Specs: http://www-03.ibm.com/servers/storage/tape/ts3500/index.html
    Vendor URL: www.ibm.com

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    Product Snapshot #8
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    Product: Overland Storage NEO Series 2000 Tape Library (1)

    Library Capacity: 51 to 255 TB (compressed capacity)
    # of Drives: 1 to 2 drives (2)
    Tape Drives: LTO Ultrium Gen-4, Gen-2 and Gen-3 and SDLT drive support
    Tape Media: Ultrium 2-3 and SDLT-2 tapes
    # Tape Slots: 13 to 15 tape slots (depending on model) (2)
    Transfer Rate: to 1.7 TB/hr (compressed rate using maximum number of drives)
    Connectivity: LVD SCSI, native FC std.
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $16,615 U.S. list price
    Software: Atempo - TimeNavigator; BakBone - NetVault; CA - Brightstor/ARCserve; CommVault - Galaxy; EMC/Legato - Networker; HP - OpenView/Data Protector; Tivoli - TSM; Symantec - Bakcup Exec/NetBackup; Bridgehead - HT Backup; Bull Media - Server Virtuo; SyncSort - Backup Express; Dantz - Retrospect
    Detailed Specs: http://www.overlandstorage.com/PDFs/NEO2000_data.pdf
    Vendor URL: www.overlandstorage.com

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    Product Snapshot #9
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    Product: Overland Storage NEO Series 4000 Tape Library (1)

    Library Capacity: 12 to 192 TB (compressed capacity)
    # of Drives: 1 to 4 drives (2)
    Tape Drives: LTO Ultrium, Gen-4, Gen-2 and Gen-3 and SDLT 600 and 320 drive support
    Tape Media: Ultrium 2-3 and SDLT-1 and 2 tapes
    # Tape Slots: 13 to 15 tape slots (depending on model) (2)
    Transfer Rate: to 3.5 TB/hr (compressed rate using maximum number of drives)
    Connectivity: LVD SCSI, native FC std.
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $29,920 U.S. list price
    Software: Atempo - TimeNavigator; BakBone - NetVault; CA - Brightstor/ARCserve; CommVault - Galaxy; EMC/Legato - Networker; HP - OpenView/Data Protector; Tivoli - TSM; Symantec - Bakcup Exec/NetBackup; Bridgehead - HT Backup; Bull Media - Server Virtuo; SyncSort - Backup Express; Dantz - Retrospect
    Detailed Specs: http://www.overlandstorage.com/PDFs/NEO4000_data.pdf
    Vendor URL: www.overlandstorage.com

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    Product Snapshot #10
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    Product: Overland Storage NEO Series 8000 Tape Library (1)

    Library Capacity: 51 to 255 TB (compressed capacity)
    # of Drives: 2 to 12 drives (2)
    Tape Drives: LTO Ultrium Gen-2 and Gen-3 and SDLT 600 drive support
    Tape Media: Ultrium 2-3 and SDLT-2 tapes
    # Tape Slots: 85 to 500 tape slots (depending on model) (2)
    Transfer Rate: to 3.1 TB/hr (compressed rate using maximum number of drives)
    Connectivity: LVD SCSI, native FC std, or GbE (NDMP or iSCSI)
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $64,706 U.S. list price
    Software: Atempo - TimeNavigator; BakBone - NetVault; CA - Brightstor/ARCserve; CommVault - Galaxy; EMC/Legato - Networker; HP - OpenView/Data Protector; Tivoli - TSM; Symantec - Bakcup Exec/NetBackup; Bridgehead - HT Backup; Bull Media - Server Virtuo; SyncSort - Backup Express; Dantz - Retrospect
    Detailed Specs: http://www.overlandstorage.com/PDFs/NEO8000_data.pdf
    Vendor URL: www.overlandstorage.com

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    Product Snapshot #11
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    Product: Qualstar TLS-8000 Tape Library Family (1)

    Library Capacity: 4.4 o 211 TB (compressed capacity)
    # of Drives: 2 to 8 drives (2)
    Tape Drives: LTO-2 and LTO-3 drive support
    Tape Media: Ultrium tapes
    # Tape Slots: 11 to 264 tape slots (depending on model) (2)
    Transfer Rate: to 4.6 TB/hr (compressed rate using maximum number of drives)
    Connectivity: SCSI, FC, GigE
    Release date: Currently shipping; in production since 1999
    Base price range: $10,000 U.S. list price (base models)
    Software: www.qualstar.com/swmatrix.pdf
    Detailed Specs: http://www.qualstar.com/146081.htm
    Vendor URL: www.qualstar.com

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    Product Snapshot #12
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    Product: Qualstar XLS Enterprise Library System (1)

    Library Capacity: 100 TB to 4.8 PB (compressed capacity)
    # of Drives: Up to 96 drives (2)
    Tape Drives: LTO-3 drive support
    Tape Media: Ultrium tapes
    # Tape Slots: 295 to 6000 tape slots (depending on model) (2)
    Transfer Rate: to 553 TB/hr (compressed rate using maximum number of drives)
    Connectivity: SCSI and FC
    Release date: Currently shipping
    Base price range: $50,000 U.S. list price (base models)
    Software: www.qualstar.com/swmatrix.pdf
    Detailed Specs: http://www.qualstar.com/xls/
    Vendor URL: www.qualstar.com

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    Product Snapshot #13
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    Product: Scalar 50 Tape Library (1)

    Library Capacity: 15.2 TB to 30.4 TB
    # of Drives: 1-2 (LTO-3, LTO-4 and DLT-S4); 1-4 (LTO-3 HH) (2)
    Tape Drives: LTO-3; LTO-3 HH; LTO-4 and DLT-S4
    Tape Media: LTO or DLT-S
    # Tape Slots: 38-76 tape slots (depending on expansion options) (2)
    Transfer Rate: Up to 2 TB/hr compressed transfer rate
    Connectivity: SCSI, iSCSI and Fibre Channel
    Release date: Currently available (September 2007)
    Base price range: Please contact your preferred VAR for pricing.
    Software: http://www.quantum.com/swcompguide.aspx
    Detailed Specs: http://www.quantum.com/Products/TapeLibraries/Scalar50/Index.aspx
    Vendor URL: www.quantum.com

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    Product Snapshot #14
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    Product: Scalar i500 Tape Library (1)

    Library Capacity: 28.8 TB to 160.8 TB
    # of Drives: 1-18 drives depending on configuration (2)
    Tape Drives: LTO-3 and LTO-4 drive support
    Tape Media: LTO
    # Tape Slots: Up to 218 in a single system (2)
    Transfer Rate: Up to 15.6 TB/hr compressed transfer rate
    Connectivity: SCSI-2/SCSI-3 LVD; Storage Networked 4Gb FC interface option (Drive interface) or SCSI-2/SCSI-3 LVD; SAS; integrated FC interface option (Library Interface)
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: Please contact your preferred VAR for pricing.
    Software: http://www.quantum.com/swcompguide.aspx
    Detailed Specs: http://www.quantum.com/Products/TapeLibraries/Scalari500/Index.aspx
    Vendor URL: www.quantum.com

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    Product Snapshot #15
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    Product: Scalar i2000 Tape Library (1)

    Library Capacity: 1,397 to 5,587 TB (compressed capacity; depending on drives)
    # of Drives: 1 - 96 (LTO-3 or LTO-4 tape drives, DLT-S4 or SDLT 600 drives) depending on configuration (2)
    Tape Drives: LTO-3; LTO-4; DLT-S4 and SDLT 600 drive support
    Tape Media: LTO, DLT-S
    # Tape Slots: 100 to 3,492 tape slots (depending on expansion options) (2)
    Transfer Rate: Up to 10.4 TB/hr compressed per frame (up to 8 frames)
    Connectivity: SCSI-2 LVD; Native FC interface
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: Please contact your preferred VAR for pricing.
    Software: http://www.quantum.com/swcompguide.aspx
    Detailed Specs: http://www.quantum.com/Products/TapeLibraries/Scalari2000/Index.aspx
    Vendor URL: www.quantum.com

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    Product Snapshot #16
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    Product: SpectraLogic T120 Tape Library (1)

    Library Capacity: 48TB to 192TB (compressed capacity with LTO-4)
    # of Drives: 2 to 6 drives (with LTO-4) (2)
    Tape Drives: LTO Ultrium Gen 2-4 and SAIT drive support
    Tape Media: Ultrium and SAIT tapes
    # Tape Slots: 30-120 tape slots (depending on model) (2)
    Transfer Rate: to 5.2 TB/hr (compressed rate using maximum number of drives)
    Connectivity: SCSI, FC, GigE
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $22,800
    Software: http://www.spectralogic.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=products.compatMatrix&catID=835&p=816&gp=566,9
    Detailed Specs: http://www.spectralogic.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=products.displayContent&CatID=566&P=148
    Vendor URL: www.spectralogic.com

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    Product Snapshot #17
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    Product: SpectraLogic T950 Tape Library (1)

    Library Capacity: 160 to 16 PB (compressed capacity with LTO-4)
    # of Drives: 2 to 120 drives (including expansion frames with LTO-4) (2)
    Tape Drives: LTO Ultrium Gen 2-4, RXT, SAIT and SDLT 600 drive support
    Tape Media: LTO Ultrium, RXT, SAIT and SDLT tapes
    # Tape Slots: 100 to 10,050 tape slots (depending on model) (2)
    Transfer Rate: to 103.7 TB/hr (compressed rate using maximum number of drives)
    Connectivity: FC, GigE
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $150,000 U.S. list price
    Software: http://www.spectralogic.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=products.compatMatrix&catID=831&p=809&gp=449,9
    Detailed Specs: http://www.spectralogic.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=products.displayContent&CatID=449&P=148
    Vendor URL: www.spectralogic.com

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    Product Snapshot #18
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    Product: Sun StorageTek L1400 Tape Library (1)

    Library Capacity: 13.5 to 339 TB (single frame); 27 to 672 TB (dual frame); uncompressed capacity depending on selected drives
    # of Drives: 1 to 40 drives (LTO or DLT/SDLT); 1 to 24 drives (T9840, T9940, and T10000); mixed drives supported (2)
    Tape Drives: LTO, DLT/SDLT, T9840, T9940, and T10000; mixed tape drives supported
    Tape Media: LTO, DLT/SDLT, T9840, T9940, and T10000; seamless support of mixed media
    # Tape Slots: 200 to 1,344 tape slots (depending on model) (2)
    Transfer Rate: 0.82 to 5.75 TB/h (single frame); 1.6 to 11.5 TB/h (dual frame); uncompressed rate depending on drives selected
    Connectivity: SCSI and FC
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $69,000 U.S. list price (200 slot library, no tape drives or media)
    Software: Local Op Panel and Remote Management included; advanced library and backup management and monitoring packages available
    Detailed Specs: http://www.sun.com/storagetek/tape_storage/tape_libraries/l1400m/
    Vendor URL: www.sun.com

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    Product Snapshot #19
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    Product: Sun StorageTek StreamLine SL8500 Tape Library (1)

    Library Capacity: 29 to 724 TB (uncompressed capacity)
    # of Drives: 1 to 64 drives per SL8500 frame; up to 448 drives per system (2)
    Tape Drives: T10000, T9840, T9940, LTO, and SDLT600; mixed tape drives supported
    Tape Media: T10000, T9840, T9940, LTO, and SDLT; seamless support of mixed media
    # Tape Slots: 1,448 to 10,000 slots per frame; up to 70,000 per system (2)
    Transfer Rate: 4.4 to 27.6 TB/hr (uncompressed rate using 64 drives) depending on selected drives
    Connectivity: Fibre Channel, FICON, and ESCON tape drives
    Release date: Currently available
    Base price range: $195,000 U.S. list price (1,448 slot library with 64 drive bays without tape drives or media)
    Software: Remote Management software (StreamLine Library Console software) included; optional local touchscreen operator panel, advanced library and backup management and monitoring packages available
    Detailed Specs: http://www.sun.com/storagetek/tape_storage/tape_libraries/sl8500/
    Vendor URL: www.sun.com

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    NOTES:

    (1) There are various configurations of this product model. Exact specifications depend on the selected/expanded configuration.
    (2) The exact number of drives/slots depends on selected options or expansion chassis.
    ** All prices shown are in US dollars (USD)

    LEGEND:

    SCSI: Small Computer System Interface
    FC: Fibre Channel
    GigE: Gigabit Ethernet
    iSCSI: Internet SCSI
    TB: Terabyte
    LTO: Linear Tape Open
    SDLT: Super Digital Linear Tape

    This was first published in November 2007

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