Overland Enhances REO 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.

Overland's new REO 1500 costs the same as the company's REO 1000, but with its new controller offers five times the performance of the older unit when configured as a VTL, said Jeff Graham, senior product manager for the San Diego-based vendor's REO line.

In addition, the REO 1500 can be configured for up to six VTLs with a total of 512 virtual cartridges, compared to the older model's four VTLs and 180 cartridges, Graham said. Overland also doubled the number of hosts that can access each VTL device to 16.

In addition to serving as a VTL, the REO 1500 can also be configured for disk-based backups, Graham said.

Sponsored post

Jeanne Wilson, president of Condor Storage, a Sedona, Ariz.-based solution provider, said smaller customers prefer VTLs over disk-based backup arrays because they are easier to use and install, but that larger customers are more apt to purchase disk-based backup arrays, especially since a large number of ISVs, including Symantec, CommVault and IBM Tivoli, support writing backup data to disk.

"Overland's REO is good for smaller businesses looking to move into disk to take advantage of the speed [vs. tape]," Wilson said. "And Overland's VTLs match well with its tape autoloaders and tape libraries. It's a good product. But I'm pushing more raw disk for backups. Why pay extra for VTLs when backup software works with disk arrays?"

Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Chi, a Cleveland-based solution provider specializing in storage, said Overland's new REO 1500 is a natural evolution of the REO 1000, which was introduced over two years ago.

However, Knieriemen said, the REO faces competition in the channel from other VTL vendors such as FalconStor, Melville, N.Y., and Quantum, San Jose, Calif.

"The REO 1500 looks promising," Knieriemen said. "But my emphasis from Overland is its new Ultamus [RAID array]."

Graham said that Overland has de-duplication technology for its REO VTL appliances.

De-duplication, also called "de-dupe," removes duplicate information as data is backed up or archived. It can be done on the file level, where duplicate files are replaced with a marker pointing to one copy of the file, and/or at the sub-file or byte level, where duplicate bytes of data are removed, resulting in a significant decrease in storage capacity requirements.

"We will bring de-dupe to market, but not in the 1500 for now," he said. "But we realize it's an important play for VTL and will bring it out sometime this year."

Knieriemen said he sees no hurry to bring out de-dupe for the REO 1500 or other VTLs until the technology matures and customers have more of an opportunity to evaluate it.

"The idea of reducing storage consumption will resonate with customers," he said. "Today, when customers see someone selling storage that says it can reduce storage [requirements], they are naturally suspicious. So it will take time to evaluate."

The REO 1500 is already available. It is priced at $5,343 with four 250-Gbyte hard drives for a total of 1 Tbytes of storage capacity, or $8,626 with four 500-Gbyte hard drives for 2 Tbytes. Overland is currently evaluating 750-Gbyte hard drives for the REO, Graham said.