EMC Unveils Midrange Virtual Tape Library

The Hopkinton, Mass.-based vendor on Monday introduced the Clariion DL210, a hard drive-based array configured to act as a virtual tape library.

Virtual tape libraries, or VTLs, are disk arrays configured to look to the host server and the backup software as if they are physical tape libraries. Data is streamed to and recovered from the VTL as if it were tape, so no changes are needed to the backup process. However, because they use hard drives, the backup and recover speed is much higher than when using tape drives. Data backed up to a VTL can also be backed up to a physical tape for archiving or off-site storage.

The new DL210 VTL is based on EMC's AX100 entry-level storage array using 500-Gbyte Serial ATA (SATA) drives, giving it a capacity that scales from 4 Tbytes to 24 Tbytes, or three times that capacity when the data is compressed, said Barry Ader, senior director of Clariion product marketing. It will be replaced shortly with a version based on the AX150, which EMC unveiled early last week, he said.

EMC's current VTL, the DL700, is based on its Clariion CX700 and aimed at the enterprise space, said Ader. About one-third of all the company's VTL sales goes through the channel, including Dell, although Dell has not been as significant a channel partner with VTLs as it has been for general-purpose storage arrays, Ader said.

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Pricing for the DL210, which is currently shipping, starts at around $50,000 with 4.0 Tbytes of raw capacity.

Also new for both the DL210 and the DL700 series of VTLs is support for the IBM System i, formerly known as the iSeries and before that the AS/400 server family.

EMC also introduced new software capabilities for the DL700 family, said Ader. These include virtual tape shredding, under which data that is to be deleted is done so in such a way as to meet Department of Defense requirements for data destruction, he said.

The company also introduced Information Lifecycle Management, or ILM, management for tape assets, which lets customers use EMC's Legato NetWorker to see the data retention policies for the data in order to migrate that data to the VTL and to delete it from the VTL and from any physical tapes used for archiving at the same time.

"When using VTLs, customers can lose the audit trail of where data is archived using physical tape," Ader said. "With Legato NetWorker, now they have an audit trail through to the physical tape."