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Exabyte Aims Low With LTO

Exabyte is trying to prove that tape is not only alive and well but LTO libraries could be moving soon to a desktop near you.

Exabyte today unveiled its Magnum 224 LTO tape library, which it bills as the first LTO tape library for SMBs and departments. Its competition comes from autoloaders from Quantum and Overland Storage. The Magnum 224 is available today with LTO-2 drives; LTO-3 drives will be available next month.

Although Exabyte is correct in its characterization, the difference between library and autoloader isn't always that great. Storage vendors and research firms like IDC define libraries as being able to upgrade to more than one drive and hold more than 21 cartridges. Exabyte's Magnum 224 fits that bill as an LTO-2 library, because LTO-2 is available as a half-height drive and you can add a second drive. But because LTO-3 is only available as a full-height drive, the Magnum 224 only holds one drive, which makes it an autoloader.

Exabyte marketing VP Kerry Brock says he expects LTO-3 in half-height configurations by the end of the year, which will allow the Magnum 224 to hold two LTO-3 drives.

The 2u Magnum 224 scales from 4.8 Tbytes for LTO-2 with one 12-cartridge magazine to 19.2 Tbytes for a 24-cartridge LTO-3 setup. The LTO-2 configuration starts at $4,600, while pricing for LTO-3 begins at $6,000. That puts it in the same price vicinity as competing LTO autoloaders such as the Quantum SuperLoader 3 and Overland LoaderXpress. Exabyte's advantage is it lets you add a second drive, but that second drive costs another $2,300.

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