StorageTek Eyes Channel For New Midrange Tape Library

The SL500 modular tape library, unveiled at the StorageWorld Conference in Long Beach, Calif., is a rack-mount system that can be easily expanded with additional slots and drives, said Gerry Fitzpatrick, business line manager for the automated tape solutions unit at StorageTek, Louisville, Colo. Each 8U module can hold up to four tape drives and 90 to 130 tape cartridges, Fitzpatrick said.

Plans call for the SL500 to start shipping in the second half of the year. It will initially be available with LTO drives; SDLT drive compatibility is slated to be available by year-end. Both types of drives can be mixed and matched within a module. The SL500 is expandable by connecting additional four-drive modules.

The SL500 leverages technology from StorageTek's enterprise-class SL8500, a mammoth tape library unveiled last November that recently began shipping, said Britt Terry, senior product marketing manager for StorageTek's automated tape solutions unit. Unlike "rack-and-stack" modular tape libraries where each module has separate--and expensive--robotics and electronics, the SL500 uses the same robotics for all of the modules in a single rack, he said.

"That's the super, key differentiation," Terry said.

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Pricing for the SL500 has yet to be determined. Though the product will be available to StorageTek's direct-sales force, the channel will be the library's main sales driver, according to Terry. "This is great for the channel. It addresses the 50-slot to 500-slot market," he said.

At StorageWorld, StorageTek also introduced Backup Resource Monitor software, which tracks an entire storage infrastructure, Terry said. The application, which resides in the storage network, gives administrators a view of all tape libraries, tape drives, tape media, entry and exit ports, history and SAN components, he said. It also offers a look at the backup application to see how many backup jobs were started, as well as how many succeeded or failed, he added. All of the data gathered is stored centrally.

Backup Resource Monitor is compatible with Veritas NetBackup, Tivoli Storage Manager and Legato backup applications. It initially will be available for StorageTek's L-series libraries but will be compatible with the SL500 when that library starts shipping, Terry said.