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Latest Oracle tape library scales to 10x entry-level configuration

StorageTek SL150 -- the latest Oracle tape library -- starts at 30 slots and scales to 300 slots or 900 TB of raw data with LTO-5 drives.

Oracle Corp. this week launched its first scalable tape library -- the Oracle StorageTek SL150 Modular Tape Library -- that lets customers start with an entry-level unit and expand it to 900 TB of compressed capacity (450 TB uncompressed).

Oracle bills the SL150 as a system for remote offices of large organizations or mid-size companies that do not require the Oracle StorageTek enterprise tape libraries for backup and archiving. The new Oracle tape library, launched during a webcast Wednesday, is competitive with entry-level and midrange open system libraries, with Quantum Corp. the primary rival.

The SL150 starts at 30 slots and scales to 300 slots with LTO-5 drives. The library has a USB-based auto discovery system to connect to expansion modules. Customers connect a USB cable from the base unit to an expansion module, and the SL150 detects the new module and drives.

Each expansion module includes two tape drives and 30 slots. Customers can increase performance by adding drives and capacity by adding slots. The SL150 supports 20 LTO-5 drives for a throughput rate of 10 TB per hour, and supports 8 Gbps Fibre Channel and 6 Gbps SAS connectivity.

Oracle claims the SL150 can be installed in 30 minutes through a four-step wizard, and it is managed from a graphic interface built with Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Linux software. The SL150 uses the same robotics as larger StorageTek libraries but the management interface is new.

Compatibility is limited, however. Customers cannot move drives from other Oracle StorageTek libraries to the SL150, and the new library only supports StorageTek LTO-5 half-height drives from Hewlett-Packard. It does not support the StorageTek Tape Analytics software used in other Oracle tape libraries.

James Cates, Oracle's vice president of hardware development, calls the SL150 "the lowest cost scalable tape system on the market," but Oracle has not disclosed pricing for the unit.

Oracle makes it clear who its competitor is for the SL150. During the webcast, Cates said the library was "simpler and smarter" than Quantum's entry-level and midrange products. Oracle also has a whitepaper on its website called, "Oracle's StorageTek SL150 Modular Tape Library: Simpler and Smarter than Quantum's Scalar i40/i80/i500 Libraries."

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