Dell rolls out entry-level tape storage system

Dell Computer on Tuesday introduced a new PowerVault 122T tape storage system, providing an entry point for small to medium-size businesses looking to begin consolidating their storage backups onto tape.

The 3.5-inch, rackable 122T is an eight-cartridge, single-drive system that can simplify storage backups for companies currently performing multiple tape backups on individual servers, according to Mike Skymba, senior manager for PowerVault storage systems at Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas.

"The idea of having a tape drive in every single server, whether it's a tower or a pedestal server or a rack-mount server, and having a person go around at night and activate the tape and run the software and then taking it off site is just incredibly time consuming," Skymba said. "Why not get one auto loader -- the 122T -- with up to eight cartridges and let that be your automated way of backing up?"

Based on the DLT (digital linear tape) format, the 122T offers up to 320GB of storage capacity with a 3MBps data transfer rate. Available 2-to-1 compression doubles both the capacity and the transfer rate when applied, according to Dell.

Similar to Dell's re-seller agreements with Fibre Channel switch vendor Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and storage server company EMC Corp., Dell re-sells the 122T system from Benchmark Tape Systems, Skymba said.

The 122T joins Dell's department-class PowerVault 128T and enterprise-grade 136T tape systems. Pricing starts at US$4,150, according to Dell.

Although disk-based storage continues to fall in price, a recent study by IDC, in Framingham, Mass., concluded that tape's place as a network storage product will be secure for many years to come.

"No disruptive data storage technologies will supplant tape for backup and recovery functions," the report said.

Dell's position as a tape storage vendor has been improving, but as of the end of 2001, the company remained absent from IDC's Top 15 list of tape storage system vendors. That list includes tape competitors such as Hewlett-Packard Co., ADIC, Overland Data Inc., IBM Corp., and Seagate Technology LLC, according to IDC.

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