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Quantum, Crossroads Systems Upgrade Storage Gear

Both vendors offer enhancements for tape systems, proving once again that tape is not yet dead.

Quantum on Tuesday unveiled a new deduplication appliance and enhancements to its tape library and management software, all aimed at larger enterprises. Separately, Crossroads Systems rolled out an LTFS gateway for other vendors tape libraries that makes it easier to retrieve archived data.

Quantum's DXi8500 is the company's largest and fastest deduplication appliance. It deduplicates data inline and performs at as much as 8.8 TB per hour and scales from 40 TB to 320 TB, more than twice the capacity of previous models. It includes deduplication, replication, support for Symantec's Open Storage Technology, and can be implemented as a virtual tape library of a network-attached storage device. In addition, it supports Quantum's DXiAccent, which lets deduplication take place at the media server, thus reducing network or WAN traffic. The DXi8500 is also compatible with the company's recently announced vmPRO software, which protects physical and virtual environments. Further the software included with the DXi8500 includes a new scheduling tool that IT staff can use to set up and run repetitive tasks.

The company also announced that the Scalar i6000 tape library has new dual robotics to handle high availability and maintain uptime. Also, the company's Active Vault technology has expanded capacity and partitioning enhancements. Quantum's Vision 4.1 now includes enhanced analytics for Quantum's disk and tape systems.

[ Savvy IT managers know how to use tape for inexpensive storage. Read Defending Tape, Once Again. ]

The DXi8500 is expected to be available next month starting at $300,000; the Scalar i6000 dual robotic option is also expected to be available in December starting at $50,000; and, the Active Vault, which is available now, starts at $10,000.

Further, Crossroads Systems on Tuesday announced StrongBox, a Linear Tape File System (LTFS) gateway. The LTFS, developed by IBM for LTO-5 tape cartridges, allows data on tape to be accessed from a file system interface. With LTFS, data stored on tape can be searched based on metadata references and retrieved much faster than with traditional time-consuming tape recovery operations, which require mounting the correct tape and searching for the correct file. Most tape vendors like Crossroads are either working on LTFS integration into their libraries because of the obvious need to retrieve data quickly.

The StrongBox is a hardware-based appliance that incorporates disk. It connects to the network as a network attached storage device and allows IT managers to mount CIFS and NFS file shares. StrongBox works with HP and IBM tape libraries and drives.

In addition, StrongBox incorporates self-healing and monitoring capabilities that automatically detect media failures and degradation. It auto-migrates data on degraded media to other new drive technology and media non-disruptively.

LTFS is indeed the darling of tape library vendors and IT managers, who have been tasked with the recovery of files using manual and costly procedures. LTFS gives new life to tape libraries, allowing them to be used as long-term and active archives for files and images. Among the vendors implementing LTFS in their tape libraries and drives are HP, IBM, Oracle/StorageTek, Quantum and Spectra Logic.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.

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