Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Superfast mini tape from Tandberg

Tandberg touts superfast mini tape library
Bryan Betts

June 09, 2008 (Techworld.com) Tandberg Data is claiming to have the fastest 2U tape library on the market after upgrading its StorageLibrary line with the latest half-height LTO-4 drives.

Tandberg says the upgraded StorageLibrary product now provides up to 123TB of compressed storage — although the 2U model has 12 tape slots for a compressed total of perhaps 20TB.

The Norwegian storage vendor has also updated its eight-slot StorageLoader — a smaller tape autoloader — with half-height (HH) LTO-4.

The compact tape drives have been available for only a few weeks, and provide a high capacity — 800GB of uncompressed data per cartridge. They allow Tandberg to fit two drives into a 2U library, so the library is about double the speed of one with a single drive, at up to 1.7TB/hour. Tandberg's larger libraries with more drives are even faster, of course.

Compared with LTO-3, the LTO-4 HH has double the storage capacity, runs 50% faster and includes 256-bit AES encryption in hardware, said Bharat Kumar, vice president of marketing and development at Tandberg. It supports nonerasable WORM tapes for long-term archiving, he added.

Meanwhile, rival tape library developer Overland Storage has poured cold water on Tandberg's speed claims.

"Performance is a bit of an odd thing to talk about, because the LTO-4 won't be the limiting factor - the bottleneck will be elsewhere in the system," said Chris James, Overland's European marketing director. He argued that the only real way to improve performance is to put a disk-based VTL (virtual tape library) in front of the tape library.

Not so, countered Simon Anderson, Tandberg's tape product manager. He pointed to LTO-4's ability to adjust its streaming speed so it can work efficiently even when its host server can't feed it at its rated 120MB/sec.

Half-height drives are the future, he said. "If you look at the LTO road map, there is no full-height LTO-5 — it will be half-height only, planned for 2010."

James agreed that the introduction of LTO-4 HH is significant — not just because it allows a library to host twice as many LTO-4 drives, but also because it can store twice as much data.

"20TB in 2U is pretty chunky," he said. "Given that a tape library generates 2% of the heat and consumes 5% of the power of the equivalent in disk storage, there's significant space and cost advantages to be had from migrating data to tape as soon as possible."

Tandberg said that a 24-slot StorageLibrary with a single IBM LTO-4 HH drive and a SCSI interface (Fibre Channel and SAS versions are also available) would sell for under $6,300. The smaller StorageLoader, with one LTO-4 HH and two magazines, each holding four tape cartridges, will sell for around $4,500, the company added.

Source: Computer World

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