SMBs still want tape, says Quantum

Quantum is the latest storage company to target the SMB sector, after it introduced a 38-slot version of its Scalar series of tape libraries.

The Scalar 50 library, which is claimed to be particularly easy to set up, can have two full-height or four half-height DLT or LTO tape drives, and with LTO-4 drives and data compression, it could store as much as 60TB. A second library module can be added if more capacity is needed, taking it to 76 slots, said Olivier Segrettin, Quantum’s product marketing manager.

The device is aimed at SMBs who have outgrown autoloaders, and who probably do not have a SAN, but still want to archive older data to removable storage. It can connect over SCSI, Fibre Channel or via an iSCSI router, and Quantum said it will add Serial Attach SCSI (SAS) connectivity next year.

“The 30 to 60TB segment is the only tape market that we think is growing,” Segrettin said. “You can very quickly get to the level where, without planning for it, you have a lot of data to backup.”

He acknowledged claims made earlier this week by Michael Dell, that storage vendors have not properly met the needs of SMBs, offering them limited-capability products that are tough to manage.

“I would agree that our industry hasn’t looked that much into customer needs, and you do have to trade off advanced features for price,” he said. “But we haven’t removed a lot of functionality here.”

He noted the Scalar 50 includes Quantum’s StorageCare Guardian remote diagnostics capability, which allows Quantum technicians to monitor and service it over the Internet, plus a set-up wizard to simplify initial configuration.

It also includes features normally only available in high-end libraries such as partitioning, which allows one Scalar 50 to appear as more than one virtual library, and can integrate with disk-based backup – Segrettin added that Quantum is considering offering it as a bundle along with a disk-based device.

The library can be used with Quantum’s StorageCare Vision software, which can manage multiple libraries, disk systems and even switches from a single screen.

“SMBs deserve features that enable them to manage backups in an easy and simple way,” he said. “I don’t see competitors such as Overland’s ARCvault or the BDT libraries sold by IBM and HP scaling like this, and I don’t see those products including a remote monitoring tool for free.”

An entry-level Scaler 50 with 38 slots, remote monitoring and a single LTO-3 drive lists for US$8,000.

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