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Copan Takes Aim at Tape

If theres a safe target for startups in the storage world today, it’s tape. At least, that’s the attitude that Copan Systems Inc. is taking as it comes out of stealth with an appliance it claims offers disk backup at tape price.

Copan’s ATA appliance, which remains at least three months from making its way to customers, boasts a new architecture that reduces the cost of secondary storage on disk to between $1 and $3 per Gbyte. That rivals the cost of tape, whereas disk backup usually costs in the $10 per Gbyte range.

Copan claims to drive cost down with design, densely packing drives into one box and rotating the order in which disks spin as they are activated. Copan claims to be able to put hundreds of terabytes of storage in one cabinet.

“They’re doing it by putting 10 pounds of disks in a five-pound bag,” says Arun Taneja of The Taneja Group. [Ed. note: Don't take that literally!] “[Copan] brings the price down by reducing power, space, and so on. Not all the disk drives are always spinning. An algorithm decides which stay on and which turn off.”

“It’s an interesting approach: They’re really creating a disk library instead of a tape library,” says analyst Randy Kerns, an Evaluator Group partner. “You spit them up [sic] and use them when you need them, just like tape.”

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