While the jury is still out on the viability of tape backup, the technology continues to evolve. The simple fact is that tape backup is flexible, durable and portable and offers a significant savings in cost per Gigabyte.
Quantum's latest SDLT series tape drive, the SDLT 600, offers a viable option for backing up data.
The SDLT 600 brings several advancements to the tape market. First off, the unit offers 72 Mbps (compressed) backup speeds and a capacity of 600 Gbytes (compressed) to meet today's ever-growing storage requirements. The unit is backward-compatible with previous versions of SDLT tapes, which helps ease the transition from previous generations of the technology.
The SDLT 600 drive mechanism is available in several configurations, ranging from an internal SCSI-based unit to an external 2-Gbyte Optical Fibre Channel-based unit. The configuration options allow the unit to perform backup tasks for businesses of any size, ranging from those that have small or midsize networks to those with enterprise SANs.
CRN Test Center engineers tested the external SCSI 160-based SDLT 600 by connecting it to a Windows Server 2003-based system. Setup is easy, and the unit includes a data cartridge, cleaning cartridge, 68-pin SCSI cable, SCSI terminator, power cord, Quick Start Guide and product documentation CD.
Quantum bundles its DLTsage management and diagnostics suite with the unit, and the software is a valuable tool for installing and maintaining SDLT drives. DLTsage constantly monitors DLT drives, and the suite's predicative capabilities guard against tape and drive failures. DLTsage also offers realtime performance and usage statistics.
If the software is properly configured and installed, DLTsage can be a valuable selling tool for solution providers. The suite could also help create ongoing revenue by keeping solution providers informed of customers' backup status and capabilities.
Test Center engineers backed up 105 Gbytes of data to the SDTL 600 using the latest version of Veritas Backup Exec. The data included MP3 files, JPEG files and other pre-compressed file formats, and the unit reached speeds of 60 Mbps at roughly 1.5 times compression.
Backing up data that is more easily compressed should increase the unit's overall backup speeds.
The vendor's single-level Quantum Alliance channel program was launched in February 2004. The company offers marketing, sales and technical support and a dedicated partner Web site. Sales and marketing tools, logos and branding information are available online.
Quantum did not disclose average reseller margins. The product starts at $5,795.
CHANNEL PROGRAM SNAPSHOTS
> SDLT 600
San Jose, Calif.
DISTRIBUTORS: Accutech, Arrow, Azerty, Bell Microproducts, Dexxon, Digital Storage, Ingram Micro, Synnex, Tech Data
Note: Vendors can earn up to five stars for technical merit and five for their channel program. If the average of these two scores is four stars or greater, the product earns CRN Test Center Recommended status.
San Jose, Calif.
Tech Rating: 4 stars
Channel Rating: 3 stars