Qualstar announces high-capacity library

Posted on May 24, 2006

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By Ann Silverthorn

—Qualstar today announced a high-capacity tape library that can scale from 140TB to more than four petabytes. On the performance side, the XLS can scale from four to 96 LTO-3 drives with 27TB-per-hour native throughput. Capacity will double when LTO-4 hits the market later this year.

The XLS consists of two modules, the Library Resource Module (LRM) and Memory Expansion Module (MEM). The LRM is a stand-alone library that holds up to 655 cartridges. Up to two MEMs can be attached to each LRM. Each MEM holds 1,075 tape cartridges for up to 430TB in 8.4 square feet of floor space.

The robotics for the library are completely housed within the LRM. When an MEM is attached on either side of the LRM, the robotics can access up to 2,800 tapes while only moving an average of 21 inches horizontally.

"Other libraries are expanded by adding boxes in a row and they have to move the picker all the way from one end of the library to the other," says Bob Covey, vice president of marketing for Qualstar. "The picker may have to move several feet to get the tape and bring it back to the drive. This takes a lot of power and high-speed mechanics, which generates heat and has an impact on reliability."

Qualstar has expanded on its Q-Link management interface to develop X-Link, which provides a single view of the storage for local and remote administration. X-Link includes set-up and configuration wizards, a phone-home feature, and an e-mail alert capability. Authorizations, passwords, and user-group controls are included to give administrators security tools to customize individual user access for up to eight independent logical library partitions.

The LRM is available in two models. The 820500 supports up to 20 tape drives, and the 832700 supports up to 32 drives in any mix of Fibre Channel or SCSI. Bays holding up to four tape drives or 30 media slots can be mixed and matched to meet changing requirements.

The XLS accommodates up to four dual-channel HBAs, yielding up to eight Fibre Channel or SCSI library control channels. To accommodate auxiliary hardware such as switches, arrays, or storage controllers, the XLS also offers optional 6U or 8U rack modules.

The XLS supports most backup software. Testing for certification with software from BakBone, CommVault, EMC Legato, IBM Tivoli, and Symantec/Veritas is expected to be completed by mid-summer.

Pricing for the XLS library will range from about $60,000 to more than $450,000, depending on the number of MEMs and drives. Qualstar plans to ship a limited number of libraries this summer, with general availability slated for late September.


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