Quantum/ATL ships GE/FC library

Posted on May 01, 2001

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BY HEIDI BIGGAR

Addressing user demand for a library that can be shared in mixed storage networking environments, Quantum/ATL last month introduced the P3000 Gemini series, which features both Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel connectivity.

"Enterprise-level organizations have bought into storage networking in all its forms," says Gene Nagle, product line manager at Quantum/ATL. "They're not only doing network-attached storage [NAS], but they're also doing Fibre Channel-based storage area networks [SANs]."

To that end, Quantum/ATL has divided its P3000 library into two pieces. Half of the drives are Ethernet-connected to Network Appliance NAS filers and half are Fibre Channel-connected to host systems in a SAN configuration (see diagram), explains Nagle.

The Ethernet side of the library features high-speed data movement over a dedicated Gigabit Ethernet subnet using Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) for control. The Fibre Channel side connects to up to eight application servers running Windows NT/2000 or Solaris. A Prism FC230 router allows users to stream up to eight drives at maximum throughput speeds. Sharing is enabled by NDMP on the filer side and by Veritas Shared Storage Option (SSO) on the Fibre Channel side.


A P3000 Gemini library configured for three NetApp filers and three application servers.
Click here to enlarge image

Currently, the Ethernet side of the library controls the robotics, though Nagle says the company is looking at alternate solutions. "It really depends on the software," he says. The library has been qualified with Veritas NetBackup 3.2 and 3.4, which work equally well in Ethernet and Fibre Channel environments.

"Veritas NetBackup works pretty well either way, so our engineers chose the Ethernet side to make the connectivity easy," explains Nagle. "Other software applications seem to prefer having the robot control on the Fibre Channel side."

The company expects to certify the library with other software packages in the near future and says it will offer the same capabilities in multiple-frame systems with pass-through capabilities by year-end, boosting capacity from 5TB to tens of terabytes.

Each side of the library currently houses up to eight DLT 7000 or 8000 drives. Support for Super DLT and LTO drives is expected later this summer, and full rollout is expected by year-end.

The reason for the lag in integrating Super DLT and LTO drives, explains Nagle, centers around the interface. He says the company is in the process of making its Ethernet-based libraries "Super Drive"-available. This amounts to converting its libraries from 100BaseT Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet to match the performance requirements of this new class of drives.

A Gemini library configured with two DLT 7000 or 8000 drives on each side lists for $112,565.


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