Network professionals could better manage and troubleshoot network backups with a new fault-tolerant tape library Quantum Corp. announced last week.
Quantum's M1500 enterprise tape library is modular and rack-mounted, letting users upgrade and fit the device in limited space.
Fara Yale, an analyst at Gartner Group Inc.'s Dataquest Inc., says this upgrade capacity and modularity is important for businesses that have unpredictable storage needs and must stay online at all times.
Phillips Petroleum Co. is one such company.
"When we looked at the market, many of the libraries that were available had a fixed number of tape-cartridge slots," says Conrad Marotta, a Unix IT manager for Phillips in the U.K. "For instance, if you bought the model with 100 slots, that's all you had. With the M1500, you can buy it with one drive and 20 tape slots and expand it until you have as many as 10 modules in a rack. As your data increases and you need to expand the capacity of the library, it just becomes a bolt-on operation."
The box's capacity ranges from two drives, each with 20 hot-swappable cartridges, up to 20 tape drives and 200 cartridges for more than 16 terabytes of data storage. It connects to the network server via a SCSI connection and can back up more than 860G bytes of data per hour.
The M1500 uses a unique architecture called StackLink that lets network managers stack up to 10 individual tape cartridges in modules, remove and replace modules without taking the library offline, and move cartridges from one module to another quickly.
Up to 10 modules, each containing two removable 10-tape cartridge magazines, can fit in a standard 7-foot rack. Each module is 4U (7 inches) high. One-half of the tapes can be replaced while the library is operating. While the current system supports Digital Linear Tape drives, future enhancements will support two new tape technologies, Linear Tape Open Ultrium and Super DLT.
"Quantum's M1500 is brilliant," says Steve Duplessie, an analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group. "Customers don't have to start with a million-dollar library on day one if they don't need it. They can add as they grow, and the system automatically morphs itself as new modules are added."
The tape library is a midrange system for Quantum. The company has several other models ranging from the 3-terabyte L200 to the 57-terabyte P3000. The M1500 competes with tape libraries from Exabyte and StorageTek.
The M1500 is fault-tolerant, letting users replace modules and drives without taking the library down. It has redundant fans and power supplies. The M1500 is user-installable and comes with SCSI connection for attachment to the network file server. Fibre Channel support will be available this summer, which will allow the M1500 to fit into popular storage-area networks.
A management console with an LED menu on the front panel of the module contains configuration, installation and technical support availability, as well as scheduling capability. One console can manage all modules in the rack. It works with back-up software from vendors such as Computer Associates, Legato and Veritas.
Pricing for the M1500 starts at US$18,750 for a 20-cartridge library with one DLT800 drive. The M1500 ships this month.
Quantum: www.quantum. com