Quantum leads disk-based backup initiative

Quantum joined forces with storage software and equipment vendors to form the Enhanced Backup Solutions Initiative (EBSI), a vendor-agnostic, industry coalition that is out to catalyze the adoption of disk-based backup technology.

Quantum Corp., is out to prove that tape isn't the only game in town when it comes to data backup.

Milpitas, Calif.-based Quantum announced the formation of the Enhanced Backup Solutions Initiative (EBSI) at the Networld + Interop conference Wednesday. The EBSI is a vendor-agnostic, industry coalition of storage companies aimed at educating end users on the benefits and cost savings associated with disk-based backup technologies.

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The founding members of the EBSI, Atempo Software Inc., Legato Systems Inc., Network Appliance Inc., OTG Software Inc., and QLogic Corp., joined Quantum Wednesday, in outlining their product strategies for supporting the EBSI.

The pitch is simple: the cost of disk has dropped to the point that it is now a viable option for backup and restore applications.

The EBSI said disk-based solutions that complement tape libraries can optimize backup performance and provide interoperability, while preserving customers' existing investments in backup hardware, software and operational procedures.

The EBSI said traditional approaches to backup consist of a backup application, a backup server, tape libraries, tape drives and media. Disk-based solutions, however, integrate hard disk technology and systems into the backup function to serve as the primary target of the backup application, complementing tape drives and libraries that, in this case, focus on the archive function. The result is a performance boost.

"Businesses are realizing the power of disk-based backup, but many are confused about when and how to use it," stated Kevin Daly, CTO of Quantum's Storage Solutions Group.

The EBSI wants to cut through that confusion with products and support materials that educate users and hopes to play a role in defining the disk-based backup market.

Michael Fisch, senior analyst for The Clipper Group Inc., Wellesely, Mass., said that backup is automatically associated with tape.

"I think the main goal of EBSI is to re-educate the market to think disk and tape," he said.

There's still work to be done before these technologies can get off the ground. Fisch said vendors need to integrate the new low-cost disk systems into complete backup solutions.

Fisch said the EBSI will be a good forum to handle interoperability and integration efforts, but he believes most activities will center on education and promotion because awareness is the biggest hurdle to adoption.

Currently, EBSI members are working together to test, integrate and certify their products to enable enhanced backup solutions.

Some of the applications being developed by the EBSI and its members include serverless archive, synthetic full backup, distributed backup targets and centralized backup archives and the virtualization of tape systems.

Early activities of the EBSI will focus on interoperability testing and certification, publication of co-authored white papers and promotion of best practices for backup.

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