Tape Alternatives Roll Out

PowerFile, Imation, and ProStor are looking to lure users away from tape-based backup

August 31, 2007

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Disk drive vendors and their storage partners are offering more backup alternatives to tape, and at least a few cranked up their efforts around Blu-Ray disk and removable media this week.

Yesterday, archiving specialist PowerFile added Blu-Ray disk technology from Panasonic to its A3 appliance. Blu-Ray, which can offer 50 Gbytes of storage on a double-layer DVD-sized disk, is just one of a number of optical technologies that are becoming increasingly visible in the storage market. (See Users Open Up on Optical, Optical WORMs Into Enterprise, and Call/Recall Unveils Storage Solution.)

Originally a consumer offering, Blu-Ray is slowly making its presence felt in the business sector, joining Ultra Density Optical (UDO) libraries in use for enterprise archiving. (See Archiving Adds Value to Old News and Optical WORMs Into Enterprise.)

Powerfile first started talking about a Blu-Ray appliance last year and is touting the technology as a longer-term storage medium than tape. (See PowerFile Pushes DVD Archiving.) With a lifespan between 10 and 15 years, Blu-Ray more than doubles the typical 5-year lifespan of tape technology.

Powerfile has also jumped on the energy efficiency bandwagon with its high-density Blu-Ray offering, claiming that the 120-Tbyte A3 box consumes only 5 percent of the power taken by systems based on other disk technologies, such as SATA. (See Coping With SATA Growth, WD Intros SATA Hard Drives, and Smart Intros SATA SSDs.)Powerfile also fired a shot across the bows of Massive Array of Idle Disk (MAID) vendors such as Copan, Nexsan, Fujitsu, and NEC, claiming that the A3 appliance consumes one fifth of the power of a similarly-sized MAID system. (See Copan Gets New MAID, Copan Validates MAID, Nexsan SATABeast Roars , Fujitsu Adds NAS to Eternus, and NEC Intros D-Series.)

Pricing for the A3 product, which is available now, starts at $41,900 for the core system and 10 Tbytes of archive capacity. A 10-Tbyte expansion kit costs $27,900.

Drive vendors have also been busy fleshing out their removable media strategies this week, with Imation unveiling 160-Gbyte SATA drives for SMBs. The disk drive specialist increased the capacity of its Odyssey offering from 120 to 160 Gbytes in an attempt to offer small businesses a more viable backup alternative to tape. (See Users Confess Security Fears , Users Go for Data Lockdown, Data Destruction, at Your Disposal, and Managing Tape in the Age of Disk.)

Priced at around $300, the 160-Gbyte Odyssey, which includes an OEM'd version of EMC's Retrospect backup software, is available now. (See EMC Upgrades Retrospect, EMC Retrospect Supports Vista, and EMC Launches PC Backup.)

Other removable media vendors have also been cranking up their efforts to lure users away from tape. ProStor Systems, for example, recently added EncryptX's SecurMedia encryption solution to its flagship RDX product. (See Top 10 Storage Startups to Watch, ProStor Certfies SecurMedia, and ProStor Adds Removable Cartridge .)StorageIO Group analyst Greg Schulz says that, although more and more users are looking for alternatives to tape, some are considering removable media as a complement to their network-based backup. (See SMBs Balk at Backup.) "In some cases, you will see the technologies combine," he says. Removable media can provide flexibility for replacing an OS, for example, even though data may be saved elsewhere.

"What if you have to got all your data sent to a managed service provider over the network, and you need hundreds of Gbytes of data for a bare-metal restore?" he says.

  • Copan Systems Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY)

  • Imation Corp.

  • Maxtor Corp. (NYSE: MXO)

  • NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701)

  • Nexsan Technologies Inc.

  • Panasonic

  • PowerFile Inc.

  • ProStor Systems Inc.

  • RBC Capital Markets

  • Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: STX)

  • The StorageIO Group

  • TDK Corp.

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights