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Quantum launches midrange virtual tape library with data dedupe technology

Sonia Lelii

Quantum Corp. today launched its highest performing midrange data deduplication disk backup device, which includes a virtual

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tape library (VTL) interface for Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN) environments. The DXi6700 is the sixth dedupe backup product Quantum has rolled out in the past year, and the first VTL device.

The DXi6700 scales from 24 TB to 56 TB, and Quantum claims it can back up 3.5 TB of data per hour. Each device has four 8 Gbps Fibre Channel ports, two for the hosts and two for the direct path to tape. The VTL appliance can scale to 64 virtual libraries, 80 virtual drives and 11,000 virtual cartridges.

Steve Whitner, product marketing manager for disk products at Quantum, said the appliance includes all licensed software features, such as deduplication, path-to-tape, replication and DXi Advance Reporting in its base price. Pricing begins at $159,000.

"We heard a lot of people say dedupe is important so we kept the value very high," Whitner said. "We have made it very simple for people to order and grow it."

Quantum has aggressively launched data dedupe appliances in the past year, introducing three devices in the DXi6500 midrange platform and two products for DXi4500 family for small- to medium-sized business (SMBs) and remote offices. The releases are part of Quantum's effort to changes its market strategy from an OEM partner of EMC Corp. to a competitor of EMC's Data Domain. EMC ended its deal with Quantum after it acquired Data Domain last July.

The other data dedupe products Quantum launched in the past year had network-attached storage (NAS) and Symantec Corp. OpenStorage (OST) interfaces, the same as most of the Data Domain platform. Quantum also has a DXi7500 enterprise product that supports VTL, NAS and OST.

Although the trend industry-wide is moving more toward NAS and OST-based data dedupe devices, Whitner said large midrange customers who have substantial tape backup stores favor VTLs for scalability and performance.

Taneja Group senior analyst Jeff Boles agreed that large-scale enterprises still use VTL for backup, adding that VTLs fits Quantum's legacy as a tape vendor.

"There still is a lot of VTL business out there, especially in Fibre Channel environments," said Boles. "They [Quantum] have been harnessing that expertise from the past."

The VTL interface integrates directly with existing Fibre Channel SANs. Quantum also includes a path-to-tape feature that bypasses the server by writing data from the DXi system to tape over a direct connection. Each DXi product has Advanced Reporting tools included for a detailed view of the internal appliance operations. Advanced Reporting lets customers see the backup and replication data for trend analysis. The tools also give a view into the CPU, disk I/O and network traffic activity per port, and they can monitor utilization, reclamation and replication status.

"We can trace and space the reclamation process," Whitner said. "We let people see it while it is going on. They can also do trend analysis, so they can see when more capacity is needed."

The DXi6700 works directly with Atempo Inc. data backup software, EMC NetWorker, Oracle Corp. Secure Backup, and Symantec NetBackup and Backup Exec.

Quantum's deduplication software can perform inline or post-processing deduplication, but Whitner said post-processing is only recommended for large enterprise customers. "At this [DXi6700] level, customers aren't that interested in post-processing and we don't recommend it," he said.