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Spectra Logic Pulls iSCSI Trigger

Spectra Logic Corp. is bragging that it expects to be the first tape library vendor to support iSCSI, but it hasn't lined up any customers -- or even beta customers -- that are using it yet, underscoring the relative immaturity of IP SANs.

The company plans to ship iSCSI support for its Spectra 2K, 20K, and 64K automated tape backup libraries on April 14. "We see this as an evolving market," says Sharon Isaacson, a product manager at Spectra Logic. "We're doing this for early adopters who want to play with iSCSI." [Ed. note: In their copious amounts of spare time.]

In another sign of how new this stuff is, Spectra Logic hasn't run any performance tests on its iSCSI implementation yet, although Isaacson believes it won't be as fast as its FC or SCSI interfaces. "Definitely, you're going to see some speed decrease over Fibre Channel," she says. Neither has the company tested iSCSI backups running over an IP WAN, although Isaacson says this is "on the roadmap."

To obtain iSCSI support, Spectra Logic customers that already have a Spectra 20K or 64K library must buy a G2 E-QIP Gigabit Ethernet card ($9,400 list price), which will support either iSCSI or the Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) for NAS backup. The company expects to charge an additional $500 to $700 for the iSCSI option.

Isaacson notes that on the high-end 20K and 64K libraries, customers will be able to mix and match Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and SCSI interfaces. The interfaces for the lower-end Spectra 2K library are factory-installed and cannot be changed.

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