New Storage Layer: Disk-Based Backup

StorageTek just launched its BladeStore Disk System, which uses Maxtor ATA hard drives to provide up to 8 Tbytes of backup storage in a 6U form factor, said Thomas Major, vice president and general manager of StorageTek's Disk Business Unit.

On the same day, Quantum shipped its long-delayed DX30 tapeless backup system, which offers up to 3.8 Tbytes of native capacity in a 4U form factor, said Shane Jackson, director of business development at the vendor.

Michael Fanelli, Western regional manager at Sales Strategies, a Metuchen, N.J.-based solution provider, said he's been waiting for vendors to offer such products. In the meantime, Sales Strategies has been using snapshot technology to copy data to a disk array for later backup to tape, but the procedure required products from multiple vendors, he said.

"It's great to have it in one package, assuming it works and it's priced right," Fanelli said. "This will simplify our integration and give us one throat to choke."

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Disk-based backup systems are emerging as a new class of storage systems that will sit in tiered architectures consisting of primary online disks, disk-based backup systems and existing tape drive subsystems for archival storage, Major said.

The new layer of storage will make data backups more reliable and speed up recovery of data when compared with tape, Major said. Disk-based backup systems are expected to range from $10 to $20 per Gbyte, compared with $30 to $100 per Gbyte for primary online storage and 30 cents to $1.50 per Gbyte for tape backup systems, he said.

Up to five Maxtor ATA-drives can fit on a single server blade, and 10 blades can be configured in an array to provide up to 8 Tbytes of storage. Up to 20 groups of 10 blades can be connected to a single controller for a maximum of up to 160 Tbytes.

For solution providers, StorageTek plans to follow the BladeStore launch with new co-marketing and certification programs built around the entire StorageTek product lineup, Thomas said.

Quantum's DX30 was unveiled in March but is only now becoming available, Jackson said. It's already in use at about 40 beta sites, and about eight solution providers are participating in the company's beta program, he said.

The DX30 capacity is fixed at 3.8 Tbytes, or about 3 Tbytes when configured for RAID 5. Throughput for the 2-Gbit-per-second Fibre Channel system is about 80 Mbytes per second, Jackson said. The list price for a fully configured DX30 is about $55,000, or $16 per Gbyte.