HP Puts Weight Behind RDX Storage

Startup ProStor inks deal with HP and plots to replace tape

August 22, 2008

3 Min Read
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ProStor Systems announced this week that it has inked a deal with HP to provide its RDX technology for the companys ProLiant servers and xw-series workstations in a bid to boost removable storage and put tape back on its heels.

As part of the deal, RDX will be a complimentary addition to its HP ProLiant servers and the vendor will offer HP StoreWorks-branded RDX removable disk cartridges in 160-Gbyte and 320-Gbyte capacities.

ProStor Systems, which is a former Byte & Switch Top 10 Startup, has been extremely proactive in increasing RDX media capacities and trying its hardest to supplant tape as the chosen form of removable storage. Just last year, the company’s RDX technology previously offered a maximum capacity of 300 Gbytes, but ProStor now offers a certified 500-Gbyte drive with more improvements on the way.

ProStor’s RDX offerings, which comprises a "dock" and 2.5-inch removable disk cartridge has been touted by the company as a possible tape-replacement technology.

“Disk drives are constantly increasing in capacity and we’re keeping up,” says Chris Bukowski, ProStor’s senior product marketing manager. “By the end of this year, we should have a 750-Gigabyte cartridge available, and in the next 18 months, we will have a Terabyte cartridge.”But ProStor’s hope for the success of RDX technology goes far beyond improving capacity. The company believes that with its current RDX market ownership of about 90 percent, it can not only control that space, but also become the de facto enterprise removable media format.

“Our strategy from the beginning, when we first launched this product line, was to create a single industry standard,” the company’s CEO, Steve Georgis said in an interview. “And as we add more PC vendors to our client base, I think we will see a domino effect occur where vendors recognize RDX as the chosen standard, to the detriment of all other media types.”

But ProStor Systems’s lofty goals may not come to fruition soon. Tape is still a major force in removable storage and most companies are loath to switch, particularly given the cost and usability of the older format. And as some analysts have already pointed out, RDX isn’t necessarily the most cost-effective technology for some companies, notably those with more than half a Terabyte of data.

To make matters worse, tape is gaining steam. Just last month, for example, Sun announced the world’s first Tbyte tape drive to rival RDX’s top capacity of 500 Gigabytes and IBM’s tape drive capacity of 750 Gigabytes. Both tape offerings are cheaper than the current RDX drives.

Solid State Disk (SSD) technology is also competing in the space and, although ProStor seems more concerned about tape, SAN specialist DataDirect Networks is planning to add the technology to its S2A hardware later this year to provide companies with even more alternatives.“In most enterprises, we’re seeing companies employ a two-tiered system with RDX as the lower tier, and tape for everything else,” says Georgis. “But as RDX improves and companies migrate their infrastructure, I think we’ll see that migration to RDX happen overtime.”

HP will sell a dock with a 160 Gigabyte cartridge for $299 and a dock with a 320 Gigabyte cartridge for $420.Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • DataDirect Networks Inc.

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • ProStor Systems Inc.

  • Sun Microsystems Inc.

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