Quantum Offers Differentiated Tape Solution

By Steve Wexler  |  Print this article Print


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The key benefits of the new tape libraries include more capacity, better scalability and easier management, reducing by half the amount of time users have to spend managing and maintaining the systems.

The storage market is changing with new demands and technologies, but at $3.5 billion (2008), tape is still a large segment and Quantum is releasing an entry-level tape automation library that is channel-friendly.

HP owns the biggest slice of the tape drive market, with 55 percent of all factory-out tape drive shipments in 2008 (IDC), while Sun claims the top spot for tape storage automation revenue for the first half of 2009 (IDC). The research company puts the total tape market at $3.5 billion for branded tape drive/tape automation revenue in 2008. Quantum may be the third largest tape vendor with 11 percent of the overall market, behind HP and IBM, but it sees a huge opportunity in the entry-level tape automation market, especially for the channel, states Kieran Maloney, product marketing manager.

"The fact is that we're bringing to the channel what's most important to them. We're bringing them something that is truly differentiated in the entry automation space. IBM, Sun and HP all sell the same hardware, with just their name on it."

When everybody has the same offering, the only way to stand out from the pack is with price, says Maloney. Until now, and the initial response from their channel partners has been very positive.

Quantum is bringing a "smarter" automation product down into the entry-level space, with proven management capabilities from the midmarket, he says. The key benefits of the Scalar i40 and i80 tape libraries include more capacity, better scalability and easier management. That translates into reducing by half the amount of time users have to spend managing the systems, as well as up to 50 percent reduction in maintenance time, says Maloney. Even better, customers can expand capacity via a software license, so no rip and replace.

"It saves the end customer time and money, [and] provides investment protection at a competitive price," says Maloney. Early reviews on the products are "they get it. I think they will do very well for us and our channel partners."

At the heart of the announcement is Quantum's iLayer management software that provides users with simpler tape management, greater reliability and investment protection through capacity-on-demand (COD) scalability.

Available immediately at an MSRP of $7,499, the Scalar i40 features 3U format, up to two drives (1xFH, 2xHH), a 25-slot base plus 5 I/E, 40 slots COD (35+5) and 2x 20-slot magazines. Slated to ship in January, the Scalar i80 ($9,399 MSRP) specs include 6U, up to five drives (3xFH, 5xHH), a 50-slot base + 5, 10 I/E; 80 slots COD (70+10), and 4x 20-slot magazines.

Between the product benefits and ability to differentiate from the major competitors, these should be very attractive to the channel, says Maloney, which will be the sole source. Unlike other Quantum products, there will not be an OEM version. "This is optimized for the channel."

The target market is small to medium businesses, with the sweet spot being those with approximately 500 employees. "They typically don't have a lot of time to spend on tape, and we're able to provide that value to the customer. They can set this thing up and forget it." The system will let them know when something may be going wrong and provide them with specific actions before a failure occurs.

Differentiation is the biggest competitive advantage, but Maloney says there are two licensing options that can help partners retain customers—scale on demand to increase capacity—and management reporting on attributes like drive utilization and media integrity.

"Those are two opportunities where the reseller can go back in and sell them, maybe bundle them."

Overall, Quantum has been doing well in this economy, and has seen demand climb. "We see that there's still a vibrant business in the lower end of the market. We see a significant opportunity, and that's why Quantum invested in bringing out this new product. We're really trying to simplify the overall backup and management of data."


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