HP VTLs aimed at SMBs

By Kevin Komiega

Hewlett-Packard recently began shipments of virtual tape libraries (VTLs) and a range of data-protection hardware and software products aimed at the small to medium-sized business (SMB) market.

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The StorageWorks Virtual Library System 1002i (VLS1002i) is a VTL that provides unattended backup and faster restore performance than traditional tape libraries for SMBs or branch offices of large enterprises. The VLS1002i stores up to 1.5TB, or up to 3TB when using the integrated data compression feature.

The VLS1002i is built on HP’s ProLiant hardware platform and is targeted at organizations with little or no dedicated IT staff and three or more servers. The VLS1002i also features iSCSI connectivity to take advantage of Ethernet networks.

“A lot of [smaller] customers probably won’t invest in Fibre Channel SANs, and that’s why we designed this with iSCSI connectivity. Users can plug into an existing LAN,” says Adam Thew, director of marketing, nearline, in HP’s StorageWorks Division.

The VLS1002i is priced from $6,099.

Despite the addition of a disk-based backup appliance, HP isn’t forgetting about tape. The company also introduced the midrange StorageWorks MSL4048 tape library, which stores up to 19.2TB in a 4U form factor. The library is based on Ultrium LTO technology and HP’s Ultrium 960 or Ultrium 448 tape drives. The library can be configured with one or two drives. Pricing starts at $11,300.

Both the VLS1002i and the MSL4048 come with integrated Web-based management software for remote management and troubleshooting.

HP has also begun an effort to spread the adoption of its ProLiant Data Protection Storage Server (DPSS) family by enhancing its StorageWorks Data Protector Express software. The software now offers online backup of DPSS replicas and systems, as well as an automated One-Button Disaster Recovery (OBDR) utility, which enables users to restore a server’s operating system, applications, and data by pressing a button and following on-screen instructions.

All HP tape drives and autoloaders now ship with Data Protector Express Single Server Edition software, and HP is also including the software with its Pro-Liant servers. Existing customers can also download Data Protector Express Pro-Liant Edition for free.

The revamped Data Protector Express software costs just under $1,000 and includes one year of support.

With bundled configurations, HP is targeting medium-sized enterprises looking for a complete backup infrastructure in one solution. The new software and hardware provide disk-based backup via the VTL, tape devices for archiving and off-site disaster recovery, and backup and recovery software that ties it all together for just under $25,000.

“This is an attractive offering for a lot of the SMBs that aren’t comfortable with handling tapes,” says Dianne McAdam, director of enterprise information assurance at the Clipper Group consulting firm. But McAdam maintains that smaller companies will most likely shy away from virtual tape altogether in favor of tape autoloaders or online backup service providers.

Other vendors offer similar products for SMBs, but most virtual tape products end up in large enterprises. McAdam says that Overland Storage’s REO 1000 is similar in size to HP’s VLS1002i, while EMC’s recently launched Clariion Disk Library (CDL) model DL210 is larger and more expensive than HP’s VTL.

Other VTL vendors include Bus-Tech, Copan, Data Domain, Digi-Data, Diligent Technologies, FalconStor Software, Fujitsu-Siemens, IBM, Maxxan, Neartek, Network Appliance, Quantum/ADIC, Sepaton, Sun/StorageTek, and Ultera.

This article was originally published on July 01, 2006