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ADIC uses disk to achieve 1 TB/hr backup speed

Tape library vendor ADIC has thrown its weight behind the concept of disk-based backup with the launch of its first in a line of disk-to-tape backup systems, the Pathlight VX.

Another tape specialist has thrown its weight behind the concept of disk-based backup. Advanced Digital Information Corp. (ADIC), Redmond, Wash., has announced the first in a line of disk-to-tape backup systems in the form of the Pathlight VX.

According to ADIC, the Pathlight VX works with end users' existing backup and restore environments to provide disk performance and RAID reliability with an automated path to tape for long-term data retention.

The Pathlight VX allows users to perform their primary backup and restore operations using random access serial ATA arrays, and then move that data off to physical media in the background.

The system features an integrated management unit that both controls data I/O and appears to applications as one or more logical libraries.

"The disk presents itself as a tape library," said Bryce Hein, ADIC's executive director of storage networking products. The Pathlight VX adds a "logical layer" to the backup process, which allows for better allocation of resources and better performance, he said.

Data Mobility Group Inc. senior analyst and partner Dianne McAdam said, "ADIC allows you to partition [a] tape library behind the VX, so one VX can support a whole library or part of a partitioned library. Or several VX can support one library."

ADIC's disk appliance can emulate up to 40 tape drives, while competitor Quantum Corp.'s DX30 can emulate up to six. The DX30 supports up to 80 MB per second (MBps) data throughput. Pathlight VX supports up to 277 MBps, or 1 terabyte (TB) per hour.

But there's a reason for the size difference. Quantum's DX30 is aimed at its small and medium-sized business customers, whereas the Pathlight VX is aimed at larger enterprise environments with LTO tape drives.

McAdam said ADIC's solution will emulate LTO drives initially, with more tape emulations available in the future.

The Pathlight VX offers up to 40 TB of disk-based storage capacity and a total throughput of up to 1 TB per hour. The Pathlight VX features RAID 5 redundancy and 2-gigabit Fibre Channel system connectivity.

Tape export functions at initial availability support ADIC Scalar libraries with LTO1 or LTO2 technology, but the technology is designed to be independent of both media type and library brand. ADIC said that, unlike other virtual tape libraries (VTLs), the Pathlight VX exports an application-readable tape. Other VTLs spit out proprietary tapes that complicate the restore process by relying on a single system to recover stored data.

ADIC isn't the first storage vendor to jump on the disk-based backup bandwagon. Quantum, of course, has its DX series of backup appliances. Overland Storage Inc. is selling the B2000, an iSCSI appliance, and FalconStor Software Inc. has partnered with Network Engines Inc. to produce a VTL appliance. Software-based virtual tape products are available from Diligent Technologies Corp. and Alacritus Software Inc.

The Pathlight VX will be available from ADIC and its partners beginning in December. A full 10 TB Pathlight VX configuration will start at approximately --> 0,000.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Kevin Komiega, News Editor.

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