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Analyze that: Quantum

As part of our "Analyze That" series, Dianne McAdam, Senior Analyst and Partner at Data Mobility Group takes an inside look at Quantum. Dianne tells us how one of their new products may be the key to tape management, what products are carrying Quantum and how storage managers should approach buying from them.

Which of Quantum's products do you think will still be around in 3 years?
The SDLT drives have been a healthy seller in the larger shops. The DX30 is receiving traction in accounts. Not sure of the success of the lower end drives which were acquired with the acquisition of Benchmark. What has Quantum done this year to make themselves a stronger company?
I think Quantum understands that they cannot be just a tape company but need to add more value to the tape drive business. The DX30 has been an enhancement to the product line so customers can rather inexpensively backup to disk (and then later to tape). DLTSage, a new predictive maintenance tool is a comprehensive tool that allows customers to understand why their backups failed. It interfaces with common backup software and can determine if the backup failure was caused by a software or hardware failure. It also monitors tape drive and media health and predicts if a device or cartridge may fail. Who or what do you see as Quantum's biggest threat?
Probably the biggest threat for Quantum's SDLT product line is the LTO drive. The LTO drive, developed by IBM, HP and Seagate, is gaining traction. Whenever IBM supports a technology, they can gain significant mindshare. Can you give a brief overview of Quantum's product line?
Quantum has several tape drive products. At the lower end are the VS80 and VS160 drives. The VS80 is a half-high form factor with 40 GB native capacity and a transfer rate of 3 MB/sec. The VS160 is 80 GB native capacity with 8 MB/sec transfer rate. The higher capacity drives include the SDLT 220 (110 GB native capacity and 11 MB/sec transfer rate), and SDLT 320 (160 GB native capacity and 16 MB/sec transfer rate. In addition, the DX30 is a disk appliance for disk to disk backup. I expect enhancement to the DX30 and SDLT drives to be announced in the next few months. Which products should Quantum think about discontinuing?
Not sure at this time. How should storage managers approach buying from Quantum? Are they offering deep discounts..? Is now a good time to buy...3, 6, 12 months from now...?
Storage managers should approach Quantum the same way they would approach other vendors. The market is very competitive right now and customers can use that to heir advantage. All vendors desire to post good results this year, so the next two quarters would be a good time to buy.

For more information on Quantum:
Quantum expands product, service offerings

Benchmark drives Quantum technology roadmap

Quantum digs into disk backup What direction is Quantum headed? Do you think it's the right roadmap for their future success?
Quantum continues to increase the speed and capacity of its tape drives and DX30 products. They must continue on this path to continue to be successful. The addition of product such as DLTSage provides a integrated series of products that makes tapes easier to manage and that is the correct path that they need to take. Tape vendors need to provide products to customers that make tape easier and more predictable to manage.

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