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Quantum Scalar i6000 tape library expands for archiving

Quantum beefs up Scalar i6000 LTO appliances to support twice as much drive density, adds RESTful management for automated management of tape libraries.

Quantum Corp. has doubled the drive density of its Scalar i6000 linear tape libraries, reflecting changing use cases of magnetic media used in enterprise data centers.

The vendor upgraded its Scalar Control Module and Scalar Expansion Module hardware. The latest Control Module holds 18 LTO-6 tape cartridges, up from 12 previously, while the new Expansion Module increases from 12 to 24 drives. The Quantum Scalar i6000 rollout includes an upgrade path for existing Quantum customers with earlier Scalar models.

The latest Quantum Scalar i6000 hardware scales to more than 12,000 tape cartridges and nearly 75 PB in a single system.

RESTful Web services and a Web-based user interface are included to help admins automate management of tape libraries. Quantum said the Web-based management tools support 335 commands for posts, puts, gets and release requests.

The latest Quantum Scalar i6000 hardware scales to more than 12,000 tape cartridges and nearly 75 PB in a single system. Capacity of the Scalar library remains unchanged from previous iterations at 192 supported tape drives.

Quantum sells Scalar in a minimum configuration consisting of one Control Module base unit, which has 306 slots for LTO-6 cartridges and a 24-slot import/export station. LT0-6 cartridges provide 2.5 TB of native capacity per tape and 6.25 TB of storage with compression.

The maximum Quantum Scalar i6000 configuration includes 16 modules: one Control Module and 15 "drive-ready" Expansion Modules or High Density Expansion Modules. Each Expansion Module has 456 drive slots and the High Density Expansion Module has 780 slots. Quantum uses dual robotics to swap cartridges among Scalar libraries.

While tape's importance in data backup has slipped, projected use cases for the enterprise Scalar library include long-term retention, active archiving, video surveillance and high-performance computing. By doubling the drive density, Quantum product manager Kieran Maloney said existing customers could retire one Scalar module for every 24 drives required, helping to conserve floor space and reduce operating costs.

"As we've seen over time, archive data continues to grow at a fast rate, mostly due to unstructured data. Data centers are showing increased interest in tape as effective storage for large archive applications," Maloney said.

Maloney said Quantum Scalar i6000 is the first tape storage system certified for energy efficiency under a voluntary program known as 80 Plus. The reduced power footprint and Quantum's RESTful API support signal how Linear Tape File Systems (LTFS) are evolving, said Randy Kerns, a senior strategist at IT analyst firm Evaluator Group.

"These are important as tape transitions to more of an archive tier in a hierarchy," Kerns said. "Customers can automate the management and more effectively implement a tiered infrastructure. Tape with LTFS has a new usage as an element in a more advanced infrastructure for long-term management of information. Using less space and power is important as volume of information increases."

While announcing the product upgrade, Quantum also said it plans to expand Scalar to more than 15,000 slots and 225 PB in 2016.

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