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BDT jumps on removable disk bandwagon

Tape automation OEM adds RDX disk

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BDT, one of the world's main tape automation OEMs, is going to make automated devices using removable RDX hard drives alongside its existing tape autoloaders and libraries.

BDT, which has been supplying tape automation products since 1988, will now build multi-TB data protection products using ProStor's removable RDX drives, joining other licensees such as Imation and Tandberg Data. It's probably been encouraged to do this by IDC data asserting that removable disk storage product world-wide revenues will grow 1,400 per cent by 2012 from 2008 levels. Tape product revenues by contrast are tending to shrink so BDT is simply following the money.

The ProStor release says target markets are offline archiving and data import/export, as well as a new one for RDX: storage tiering. The idea here is that a hard disk storage array could have a tier of RDX drives which, being hard drives, would fit neatly in alongside the non-removable drives and enable the array to dump data for archive onto the RDX, which could then be removed - possibly using a multi-drive magazine - and stored off-site.

We might envisage that transferring archive data to in-array RDX drives would be faster than sending it to the cloud, and restoring it from the RDX might be quicker too - for bulk data anyway, assuming that the RDX could be loaded fast enough.

Another way of doing this is to have an array containing an RDX tier in which the bulk of the RDXs are switched off. If a file restore is needed the right RDX is identified, switched on, and the data transferred - an RDX MAID (Massive Array of Idle Drives) concept. We'll have to see what BDT comes up with and who it sells its products to. The obvious channel is though its existing tape automation OEMs.

BDT represents a nice win for ProStor, which should broaden its channel for devices and help sell boatloads more RDX cartridges. It brags that Dell, HP, IBM and others have shipped more than 100PB of them so far to 200,000 customers. If the IDC numbers are right then tape will be caught in a vice between cloud backup and archive on the one hand and removable hard drives on the other. ProStor is betting that backup and archive in the cloud will not sweep all before it and doom hard drive, optical disk and tape data protection alternatives to dust.

So long as a hard core of customers want to physically own the device on which their protected data resides, and ProStor becomes - as it really, sincerely hopes - the de facto removable hard drive supplier, then it could be a good bet. If not then ProStor could end up gazing at the cloud and cursing. ®

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