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Stealthy Terabytes

5:48 PM -- It may not be as dramatic or game-changing as the move from direct-attached storage to NAS/SAN, but these 1-Tbyte drives have real potential to shake up the lower end of the market, and perhaps beyond. (See Idealstor to Add 1-Tbyte Disk.)

It's not just Idealstor -- Dell and Tandberg Data have also embraced the new "removable hard-disk drive backup appliances," that use the terabyte capacities in smaller formats. Associated caddies or sleds then get housed in a backup appliance that runs third-party software. At $500 a pop for a 1-Tbyte drive, this could be huge.

Idealstor's partners can also sell the consumer version of Hitachi's drive, spinning at 7,200 RPM with a 3-Gbit/s SATA interface. The drives will work with any of Idealstor's caddies, which in turn work with its range of server-attached backup appliances, including the recently announced Teralyte with two caddy slots ($1,995). Its other gear offers additional slots for a maximum 8-Tbyte capacity, plenty for most mid-sized businesses.

I like the idea of this multivendor arrangement -- it's the sort of interoperability that SMI-S could never quite bring to pass, encroaching as it does on account control. It also gives customers options (and pricing) that larger vendors are loathe to offer.

We'll be keeping an eye on these drives and caddies.

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