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Dell debuts LTO tape libraries

Dell has launched a pair of tape libraries based on the emerging LTO tape format. The PowerVault 136T and 128T LTO libraries can store from 4.4 to 14.4T bytes of data and start at $10,000 and $17,000, respectively.

Move over hot dogs and hamburgers! At Dell Computer Corp., this summer is all about tape.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company, traditionally known for its PCs and servers, is putting its brand behind a new line of automated tape libraries.

Dell is revamping its line of libraries with the launch of the Dell PowerVault 136T and PowerVault 128T tape libraries, based on the Linear Tape-Open (LTO) format developed by Seagate Technology, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

At 14.4T bytes, the PowerVault 136T has six times the capacity and quadruple the throughput of its three-year-old ancestor, the PV 130T. While the capacity has gone up, Dell's pricing has come down considerably from the last generation tape library. The 136T starts at $17,000 while the 130T began its run at a price of about $39,000.

The PowerVault 136T supports up to 72 LTO cartridges and six LTO tape drives and offers an optional Fibre Channel router for direct storage area network (SAN) connectivity. The Fibre Channel router is capable of operating at 2GBps speeds.

The PowerVault 128T "mini" tape library scales up to 4T Bytes and holds up to 20 LTO cartridges at a starting price of $10,000. Both libraries can be managed remotely through a Web-based interface.

In addition, Dell has beefed-up its PowerSuites Data Protection Software with upgrades that enable LAN-free SAN backup through a newly embedded Fibre Channel-to-SCSI router integrated in both libraries.

Dell's first LTO offering, the single-drive PowerVault 110T, was met with a lukewarm response from customers. Brett Schechter, product manager for Dell, said the single-drive LTO product did not fare well because customers are hesitant to adopt a new tape standard at the drive level and tend to standardize on a library scale.

Dell expects to see more promising results from its libraries than it did from its 110T model, but the company will take a different approach when it comes to products based on new tape standards in the future.

"From now on, all new tape technologies will see their first light of day at Dell in library form," said Schecther.

According to one analyst, Dell has a leg up in the race for a piece of the midrange tape market. "When Dell delivers a tape storage product, it brings two important things with it: Its brand name and its sales channel," said IDC analyst Bob Amatruda.

IDC puts the worldwide midrange tape library on market on track for toward 16% annual growth, generating $2.8 billion of OEM revenue by 2005.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

For more information:

Dell's Tape Backup Resource Center

Read a searchStorage Q&A withwith Russell Holt, vice president and general manager of Dell's Storage Systems Group

Dell offers higher-end tape-storage goods

Dig Deeper on Data center storage

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