Overland Expands Entry-Level Tape Library Line

Introduced at the Storage Networking World Conference in San Diego, the ARCvault 48 can hold up to four LTO-3 tape drives and 48 tape cartridges and includes SCSI and 4-Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity. The library also can be partitioned into two virtual libraries.

The new library follows last summer's launch of the ARCvault 12, which has one drive and 12 cartridge slots, and the ARCvault 24, which accommodates up to two drives and 24 slots.

The tape library business has been declining, thanks to customer adoption of disk-based backup technology such as Overland's REO series of disk arrays, said John Thome, vice president at Chi, a Cleveland-based storage solution provider. But sales of autoloaders and entry-level libraries are still doing well, since those same customers are looking to tape to handle long-term archiving instead of daily backups, he noted.

"Tape is really starting to move to the archiving role, where they are used to back up the secondary disk arrays," Thome said.

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Overland's new ARCvault -- which fits up to four LTO-3 tape drives and can be upgraded with LTO-4 when that technology becomes available -- should start to compete with the entry-level models of the vendor's higher-end NEO series of tape libraries, according to Thome. "But if you don't eat your young, somebody else will," he said.

Peri Grover, Overland's director of product management, said the ARCvault line is aimed at small and midsize businesses that are budget-strained or aim to implement a disk-to-disk-to-tape strategy in combination with the vendor's REO array line.

When adopting such a strategy, storage priorities change, Grover said. "The primary reason to do disk-based backups is for tape," she said. "So high-speed tape drives and redundancy of drives is less important. When using tape as the archive, customers mainly just need the capacity."

The ARCvault 48 also can be used as a primary backup device for smaller customers, Grover added. "If they need scalable backups, hot-swap capability and redundancy, they can go to the NEO family," she said. "But we needed a solution for customers who don't need those features."

The ARCvault 48, which ships this week, carries a list price of $13,500 for one SCSI LTO-3 tape drive and 48 tape slots. A second SCSI LTO-3 drive lists for $6,154.