The Channel

Quantum scales up Scalar tape library

Releases i6000

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Quantum has moved its tape library range up-market by bolting four more expansion cabinets onto its existing top-end i6000 library and adding LTO5 support, bumping maximum raw capacity up to just under 8PB from the i2000's 2.8PB.

It effectively replaces the i2000. The maximum number of drives stays the same as the i2000, at 96. However, while the i2000 topped out at 8 modules, the i6000 can have twelve - one control module and eleven expansion modules. The maximum slot count is 5,322, compared to the i2000's 3,492, a 52 per cent increase. Although a large number, it does not make the i6000 anything more than a mid-range enterprise class library. SpectraLogic's T-Finity can have up to 30,000 slots and the Oracle/Sun/StorageTek SL8500 10,088.

The LTO-5 support means raw cartridge capacity is 1.5TB, up from the 800BB LTO-4 format supported by the i2000. Supported formats are LTO-5, LTO-4, LTO-3, DLT-S4 and SDLT 600. The new library is backwards-compatible with the i2000 - indeed a firmware upgrade is possible to turn an i2000 into an i6000.

There is a new version of Quantum's Vision software, v4.0, which offers single pane-of-glass reporting for the Scalar libraries and Quantum's DXi disk backup and deduplication products. It offers, Quantum says, expanded monitoring, more granular and customisable reporting, and better alerting and troubleshooting mechanisms. There's also more information about performance levels, replication and capacity details, so the admin staff job gets easier.

To rebut the hoary old question of whether tape is dead or dying, Quantum wheeled out Gartner analyst Dave Russell, a storage technologies and strategies VP. He said: "Tape is still the best solution for long-term data retention due to its low total cost of ownership over a multi-year timeframe.”

However Quantum sees tape's role changing from backup to archive, to longer-term retention. To support this it has refreshed its iLayer software with security features, adding media security notification to help prevent unauthorised media removal. It also supports LTO-5 encryption and WORM (Write Once, Read Many), as well as the Scalar Key Manager tool which Quantum says integrates into existing backup environments.

The iLayer software Media Data Integrity Analysis (MeDIA) function scans archived cartridges to detect potential media problems. Once identified they can hopefully be fixed and data integrity maintained. It provides three levels of media scanning and runs in the background so as not to affect operational performance.

The new library has a capacity-on-demand (COD) feature to ease growth. Tape library management has been improved by increasing the cartridge import/export capacity and adding bulk cartridge load capabilities.

There is also a high-availability feature. Control and data path failover lets the tape library or a drive switch to a redundant path and continue operating if the first path fails, meaning the backup job keeps running.

The Scalar i6000 will ship later this quarter, and pricing starts at $63,000 for a 100-slot entry-level model. The i2000 firmware upgrade costs $10,000. The Vision 4.0 software is shipping now. ®

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