Tandberg Data has had a tumultuous 2009 with a major reorganization under new ownership and an increased focus on the channel, but the data-protection vendor hopes its latest moves will position it for a much better 2010. The company has made a number of product announcements, including: a new entry-level tape backup solution for SMBs, the DAT 320, 320GB capacity with backup speeds of 86GB per hour and 2:1 data compression; an entry-level disk-based removable storage system with capacities from 72-320GB, the RDX QuikStor; and, LTO tape drive and tape automation solutions for mid-range customers.
"There is a very lucrative opportunity for those partners focused on the SMB market," says Scott Petersen, senior vice president of sales for Tandberg Data. Customers’ storage topologies are continuing to evolve and the company is providing them the flexibility of moving from either DAT or disk-based backup, depending upon their requirements and budgets, he says. "We’re giving them more products to sell, more solutions to provide these customers."
Tandberg started off the product blitz at the start of the month with the introduction of its half-height 4Gb Fibre Channel LTO drives. Part of the company’s StorageLibrary family, the new drives are targeted at a tape automation market estimated to be worth $1.2 billion in 2009, says Simon Anderson, business unit manager for tape automation, tape drives and media. FC accounts for 20 percent of this market and the HH LTO-4s "will reduce the cost of implementing a FC storage area network and also will be very appealing to MAC users."
A week later Tandberg boosted its RDX capacity to 640GB, offering SMBs that combines the best of tape – reliability, portability, archive life and low cost – and disk — performance, speed, random access and ease of use.
Last but not least, the company announced the availability of its DAT 320 tape drives and media products. In addition to improved capacity and speed, the drives offer the lowest power consumption of any tape drive in the market — 6.1 watts during normal operation — says Petersen.
He believes the DAT announcement is the most exciting for Tandberg and its channel partners. DAT covers 87-90 percent of all tape out there, so it opens up an opportunity for Tandberg, which also opens up a new market for its partners, he adds.
The addition of the DAT format allows the company to be a one-stop shop, and offers an attractive alternative to HP, the manufacturer of the product, says Anderson. "We were the first to release the DAT 320, and internally have done huge amount of work with our sales people to bring them up to speed."
There are a lot of channel partners who can’t or won’t buy from HP, and Tandberg should benefit from this segment. "I think the market (for this) is quite good".
Anderson says the decline in tape sales has been a result of the decline in server sales, coupled with the growth of virtualization. That means existing servers tend to be heavily utilized and a single tape drive may not provide adequate storage. He added that Tandberg is also seeing a lot of sales in the aftermarket, where customers are moving to half-height LTO for improvements in performance as well as space utilization.
In addition to offering a broader product portfolio, Tandberg is also offering "really robust margins", says Petersen, in the upper 20s and lower 30s for some of their products.