ADIC, Spectra Logic target SAN/NAS ATL intros remote backup appliance

Posted on November 01, 1999

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ADIC, Spectra Logic target SAN/NAS ATL intros remote backup appliance

Heidi Biggar

One by one this fall, tape library manufacturers are announcing library platforms engineered for storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) environments. For example, ADIC earlier this month introduced the Scalar 100 with plug-in SAN/NAS modules, and Spectra Logic last month unveiled Gator, which uses integrated Quad Interface Processors (QIPs) for SAN/NAS functionality.

Scalar`s optional plug-in modules enable dynamic connectivity in SCSI, SAN, and NAS environments. The basic library features HVD and LVD SCSI support, with room for optional SAN, NAS, and web management modules. The FibreReady SAN module, with a built-in Crossroads router, runs about $10,000 and includes operating system and a hard disk for caching.

The NAS StorNext network-attached library op-tion targets non-backup applications such as nearline archival storage and vaulting. "This is a new application for tape," says Steve Whitner, ADIC`s vice president of marketing. "It`s not meant to replace disk, but for use as near-line storage." For these applications, however, the library`s comparatively slow two- to four-minute access time may be a potential drawback.

Rounding out the package is a web module for management of drive and library firmware, downloads, pass/fail testing, and single-event operation. The library supports DLT, AIT, Super DLT, and LTO in five-slot magazines for up to 4.8TB of compressed capacity in a 14U footprint.

Similarly, Spectra Logic uses hot-swappable modules, or QIPs, to achieve SAN/NAS connectivity. "The strength of Gator is its interface modules," says Britt Terry, director of marketing at Spectric Logic. A QIP is essentially a hot-swappable controller with an integrated bridge.

Also built into the QIP is Spectra Logic`s Shared Library Services technology, which enables users to configure up to 16 logical libraries by controlling AIT-2 tape drives. "We`ve integrated our own `ACSLS` into the QIPs to make logical libraries," explains Terry. The entry-level Gator has room for two QIPs; the high-end model, up to eight. The modules are currently available in LVD/HVD SCSI and dual-port Fibre Channel; Gigabit Ethernet support is expected early next year.

Other library features include SNMP and "phone home" management capabilities, a 15-element entry/exit pack, and remote Virtual Control Panel (VCP) application. The library packs up to 80TB in a 19-in rackmount enclosure at a starting price of $51,000. Product shipments are expected this quarter.

Meanwhile, in an effort to streamline backup at remote offices and corporate data centers, ATL Products introduced LANvault, which houses DLT tape, hard disk, and Internet technologies in a single backup appliance.

LANvault bundles a DLTtape library with a dedicated Windows NT server pre-loaded with Computer Associates` ARCserveIT or Veritas Backup Exec. A Central Management Console Remote appliance manages remote appliances, while an ATL-operated customer service Web portal monitors the media, hardware, software, operating system, and firmware, sending e-mail alerts when action is required. The portal also acts as a database for users to post or obtain LANvault information.

"This service is going to differentiate us from others who introduce similar appliances," claims Shaun Walsh, director of SAN & NAS management for ATL, in Irvine, CA.

For wireless giant Qualcomm, the task of organizing the company`s scheduled remote data backups was daunting. Data (50TB to 70TB) stored at the company`s primary data center was spread across a farm of heterogeneous storage arrays that had their own OS, software and firmware. This made conducting and organizing backup an arduous process, comments unit manager Kevin Workman.

"Independently, (these versions) were all certified with each other, but if anything had to be changed, we were in trouble," says Workman. LANvault made it possible to easily and immediately download software patches and upgrades. Workman says LANvault will play an ongoing role in Qualcomm`s standardization and re-centralization efforts at its remote offices worldwide, easing installation and providing remote support.


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