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Vol. 5 No. 1 March 2006

NetApp joins the VTL fray

WITH NETWORK APPLIANCE'S (NetApp) announcement of its NearStore virtual tape library (VTL) last month, all of the major storage vendors now have a VTL offering. Like other VTLs, NearStore VTL integrates seamlessly with the major backup applications, and can store data from any server or storage platform. But it adds a few notable features to differentiate itself from the competition. For example, "tape smart sizing" addresses the problem of how to compress tape data without impacting the VTL's performance. Rather than actually compress the data, the VTL samples the data, estimates its compression ratio and adjusts the data set so it will fill the physical tape cartridge when it's spooled off to tape. The compression is performed by the physical drive. "The process of estimating is a much less compute-intensive process than actually compressing it," says Jay Kidd, NetApp's senior VP and general manager of the emerging products group. NearStore VTL also includes a self-tuning performance capability whereby data is directed to the ...

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