Feature

Choosing the right VTL

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Neartek's Virtual Storage Engine (VSE) 3.0 runs on any Intel-based system that supports the Linux 2.6 kernel, and lets you cluster up to 32 servers in a single logical configuration. A 32-server configuration, when fully populated with FC host bus adapters, will also deliver the highest throughput of any VTL available, topping out at more than 11GB/sec.

Neartek's VSE is highly scalable and allows users to create a heterogeneous server, storage and software configuration; however, mixed configurations also introduce the possibility for incompatibilities among devices. A better way to attain infinite capacity is to use a VTL tape library. Tape library-based architectures logically integrate disk and tape, though vendors implement this technology differently. ADIC's Pathlight VX 450 and VX 650 models integrate and manage existing tape library models using their VTL management software. Data is stored initially on the disk within the VTL; movement of the data between disk and real tape is then handled and managed by Pathlight VX. Only the VX 650 supports other vendors' tape library models, including Sun's StorageTek L180 and L700, and IBM Corp.'s 3584. The Pathlight VX 650 is sold as a self-contained appliance; pricing starts at $118,700 for a 3.8TB system with a single controller.

Spectra Logic's Spectra T950 fits more cleanly into the traditional tape library category but provides a disk media option, RAID eXchangeable TeraPack (RXT) SabreMedia, that when used

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effectively converts the T950 library into a VTL. The RXT SabreMedia, priced at $1,595 for 500GB in a RAID 0 configuration or $6,995 for 1.2TB in a RAID 5 configuration, comprises SATA disks housed in a container that can be inserted, ejected and moved just like tape media. However, this configuration requires special RXT drives, which sell for approximately $16,650 or about the same price as some LTO-3 drives.

This was first published in August 2006

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