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Quantum, which just edged out tape market leader HP with its LTO-5 announcement last month, is back with its latest tape automation product. The Quantum Scalar i6000 Tape Library, which will ship later this quarter, offers a significant increase in capacity, high availability and enhanced security over the previous generation, says Ryan Duffy, product marketing manager for Quantum’s automation products.
Like HP, the company says the low-hanging fruit is the installed base of LTO-3 customers as tape customers tend to skip a generation between upgrades. However, the new line should also appeal to large enterprise customers, an untapped market, he adds.

“The larger capacity opens up the market to new enterprise customers. Generally large libraries were addressed by Sun but now we can address that segment.” It’s especially attractive to Quantum and its channel now that
Oracle is moving more to a direct model for Sun’s largest customers. “Our channel can now go and compete for that business.”

At $4 billion in annual sales, the tape market is still alive and well, and accounts for 85% of the backup market, says Duffy. According to the latest research, disk-only represents 15% of the market, with tape-only 20% and a disk-tape combination accounting for the lion’s share at 65%., and more and more customers are moving to this model, he states.

Gartner says that the average annual growth rate of data is 60 percent, so managing this data growth continues to be a top priority for IT. “Tape is still the best solution for long-term data retention due to its low total cost of ownership over a multiyear timeframe,” states Gartner’s Dave Russell, Vice President for Storage Technologies and Strategies.

The i6000 is designed to address three key problem areas, says Duffy: growth, cost containment and tape consolidation. The product specs include: a capacity of 12 modules; 100 to 5,322 cartridge slots; 96 tape drives; eight I/E Stations, 528 Slots; native FC; and integrated FC (8Gb). Other features include encryption, enhanced intelligence, reporting (iLayer and MeDIA) and security, and a new release (4.0) of Quantum’s Vision software.

Duffy says the proactive monitoring, diagnostics and alerting of iLayer can deliver up to 75% in management savings, 50% fewer service calls and 30% faster resolution. What’s especially attractive about iLayer is that it learns based on its experience, he says, “so the library gets smarter over time.”

The media data integrity
tool, MeDIA, provides three levels of media scanning, without impacting system performance, says Duffy, and was a big draw in pre-release presentations to channel partners. Most vendors provide reports and statistics on tape media, but what sets Quantum apart is a library partition where tapes can be scanned for problems. “The value is when customers go to restore that data, they don’t have to have the nasty surprise that the cartridge is bad.”

Vision 4.0 extends management and monitoring across Quantum DXi Series disk-based backup systems and Scalar tape libraries, providing centralized management, proactive monitoring/alerting and a variety of reporting options for capacity planning and higher performance. It is shipping today.

Considering all the enhancements, Duffy says the i6000 can deliver up to 75% time savings over other library systems, and in over 70% of the cases, more than 50% savings over previous libraries. These savings can be realized through reduced maintenance, power, cooling, floor space and management. Throw in the LTO-5 benefits – higher capacities (almost 2x LTO-4 and 4x LTO-3), higher throughput, media and maintenance savings (63% and up to 67% versus LTO-3, respectively), and payback between three to 12 months.

These are significant benefits and represent a good opportunity for Quantum’s channel to be talking to their customers and prospects. “If you compare LTO-5 to LTO-3, just the capacity increase alone is almost a 4x increase, and the media savings are going to be fairly significant.” Throw in the exclusive media reporting feature, and it really gives Quantum’s channel a competitive advantage over other vendors, says Duffy.