Advanced Digital Information Corp., Redmond, Wash., went back to the drawing board and emerged this week with a new way to build a library. The company announced the Scalar i2000, the first tape library designed around its iPlatform architecture; the new library brings external functions inside the system.
The Scalar i2000 integrates backup management functions, reducing the need for external applications, equipment and management activities.
"We're rolling over our whole approach as to how we do libraries," said Steve Whitner, ADIC's product marketing manager.
Whitner said that ADIC put a server-class central processor in the i2000 and linked it with multiple processors out across the library systems. "We've also linked everything inside with a different kind of communications network, which lets us bring more functions inside," he said.
He said that, in the past, ADIC's libraries required applications running on external servers. "The whole idea is to automate the whole thing. This is far and away far more advanced than anything that we've ever done," Whitner said.
ADIC said that the Scalar i2000's capacity-on-demand scalability grows economically with expanding IT requirements.
Peter Gerr, a research analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., based in Milford, Mass., said that the i2000 packs in more processing power, more capacity per square foot and more intelligence about itself and the external storage environment than competitive boxes from StorageTek and IBM Corp.
"They're positioning all the right incremental advancements, [like] better troubleshooting, more internal and external communications and better reporting, but I think I was left with the sense that ADIC was setting up the iPlatform for the next wave of intelligence, which is automation," Gerr said.
Gerr added that the i2000 will carry on processing and storing functions while it's monitoring and analyzing itself and the internal components, and then report back proactively on six different internal systems. It also gathers information on the data written and read, the capacity of the library and the tape, as well as media history and life.
The most notable characteristic of ADIC's library, according to Gerr, is the capacity-on-demand pricing. "It's an especially good investment protection story. ADIC stated that 70% of their Scalar 10K library sales include capacity-on-demand," Gerr said. "I think it's a great scalability, 'pay as you grow' message in a tough economic environment. I think it's a trend you'll see others emulate with the high-end libraries."
Functions integrated within the library include native partitioning of a single library into multiple logical libraries, mixed media operation, native Fibre Channel connectivity, performance monitoring, proactive system-readiness checks, self-guided diagnostics and policy-based user alerts. ADIC said the iPlatform's embedded controller displays real-time backup performance data and gathers information for predictive analysis.
The iPlatform architecture is designed to allow easy extension of the library's connectivity to support other storage network transports and protocols, including Gigabit Ethernet.
The Scalar i2000 graphical user interface, which supports identical functions locally and from remote sites, provides real-time performance monitoring, component status checks and self-guided preliminary diagnostic routines.
Dave Uvelli, product manager for the Scalar i2000, said that the library will launch with LTO and LTO2 drives and that the company will add Super DLT and AIT later this year.
Uvelli said the features of the i2000 will find their way up and down the ADIC product line quickly. "They will be in the Scalar 10K within the next nine months, and all of the features in that library will go down to our Scalar 100 class," he said.
The Scalar i2000 offers from one to 48 drives and up to 2,232 tape cartridges, depending on the drive technology selected, for a total capacity of up to 670 terabytes (TB).
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