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ADIC pools disk and tape

Says Pathlight v2 will shine for fast and cheap backup

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Stop arguing about the place of disks in backup and get on with using it, says ADIC. The company has updated its Pathlight VX disk backup box - like the original, version 2 includes an EMC Clariion disk array, but it also connects to an ADIC or StorageTek tape library and merges both disk and tape into a single virtual library.

"It unifies disk and tape as one pool that looks like a library to the software," says Steve Mackey, the ADIC exec in charge of European product marketing. "It starts at 3.8TB of disk, you can then add disk and tape capacity, trading storage cost versus service level."

To a certain extent, the result is a tape library with a disk cache for faster backups and restores. Several companies can already build this type of thing, but Mackey claims most still require some sort of user intervention to move data between media.

He says that Pathlight v2's advantage is its policy-based data management software. This resembles ILM and automatically migrates data off disk and into the tape library, or onto tapes for export.

This isn't new of course - StorageTek has had virtual libraries including both disk and tape for some time. However, ADIC claims it is the first to fully integrate them for the midrange market.

These techniques are essential for fast tape drives such as LTO-3, because servers alone cannot feed them fast enough, Mackey says: "Virtual libraries can be driven at any speed, and then the back end is optimised to run tape drives very efficiently."

He adds that Pathlight v2 will be available from December and will start at around $160,000 complete with a small tape library.

According to Quantum product marketing manager Graham Hunt, the important thing will be how transparently ADIC has managed the integration.

"The aim has always been to keep the backup software and the management the same as before," he says. "There's also a lot of merit in keeping disk and tape separate - they are different backup devices."

However, Mackey reckons that ADIC is simply doing the inevitable. "As the cost comes down, disk can add value," he says.

"Give it two years and just about every backup system will have disk." ®

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