Quantum Tape Drive Takes Capacity, Throughput To New Levels

Quantum, a global manufacturer of tape backup and data archive solutions, recently released the Quantum DLT VS160, a tabletop, half-high form-factor tape drive. The device is part of the company's DLT family of storage solutions and builds on existing DLT technology.

The VS160 marks a breakthrough in capacity and throughput with uncompressed data transfer rates of 8 MBps and 16 MBps with compression. The drive is capable of storing up to 80 Gbytes of uncompressed data or 160 Gbytes compressed.

The DLT VS160 combines high capacity, speed and read compatibility with earlier DLT tape products such as the DLT1 and DLT VS80.

CRN Test Center engineers installed the drive on a Hewlett-Packard Netserver running Microsoft Windows 2003 Server. Engineers used a wide-to-wide, low-voltage differential (LVD) SCSI interface (i.e., 68-pin to 68-pin) to connect to an Ultra Wide SCSI controller. The SCSI ID and LVD/SE Ultra Wide SCSI interface are located on the back of the drive.

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Hardware installation was simple, but oddly enough, Quantum does not bundle software with its drive. However, the popularity of Quantum's DLT technology offers solution providers the luxury of using almost any third-party backup software with the VS160. DLT technology is compatible with almost every backup software package on the market.

Quantum's software-agnostic approach makes life much easier for storage solution providers, as they are not tied to one particular backup software package. Solution providers can use software they are comfortable and familiar with, which can help ease customer concerns, especially when backing up mission-critical data. Customers can also request that solution providers use less-expensive software, which keeps operating costs to a minimum.

The drive excels when used in a system that can push through data at a rate close to the drive's maximum speed. The type of server used to back up data and the SCSI interface will have a huge impact on the data transfer rate. For example, an Ultra320 SCSI interface with a fast host processor will provide more impressive transfer rates than using an Ultra160 with the same host CPU.

The Quantum DLT VS160 drive uses DLTtape VS1media cartridges, which cost around $43 to $60 each. The drive itself costs $1,349 and is suitable for a wide range of backup and storage applications. Quantum is almost 100 percent channel-driven. The company's channel program offers extensive pre- and post-sales, marketing and 24x7 priority technical support. Sales and technical training is provided upon request.

According to Quantum, the company strives to maintain solid double-digit margins for solution providers, usually in the range of 5 percent to 30 percent depending on the product line. Quantum also offers margin enhancement incentives, demonstration unit pricing, volume discounts and a dedicated solution provider resource center. The VS160 drive is protected by a three-year warranty.