In looking at the tape market and what it needs to provide in tape libraries to meet today’s organizational needs, it is refreshes, not overhauls, that are required to align with these needs. Because tape libraries are becoming a secondary, as opposed to a primary, backup target in customer environments, tape library providers need to re-prioritize and even scale back the number of changes they make because if users do not want or use specific features, they will not pay for them.
The recent announcement of the new NEO E-Series from Overland Storage reflects these reshaped customer priorities. In this iteration, Overland did not overhaul its NEO Series tape libraries, but instead performed what can be best described as a refresh. While the E-Series still brings forward new features, those it introduces are reflective of the less critical role that tape now plays in organizational backup processes and the fact that customers are less willing to pay for new tape libraries and features than they have been in the past.
Some of the main new features found on the NEO E-Series include:
- Embedded features in new controller. In the original NEO Series tape libraries, to introduce network connectivity options, such as SAS or FC connectivity or library partitioning, required the introduction of a Virtual Interface Architecture (V.I.A.) card. The NEO E-Series now embeds these features in the tape library controller, which eliminates the need for this card and contributes to reducing the price of the E-Series by 15 percent.
- Embedded SCSI, FC and SAS Connectivity. This level of integration streamlines installations and assures connectivity with future interface technologies.
- Support for both full-height and half-height tape drives. The NEO E-Series continues to give organizations a choice between half-height and full-height tape drives. This permits companies to performance and affordabiloity that best meets their particular demands.
- More flexible mail slot configurations. Administrators can configure NEO E-Series libraries with up to 30 mailslots, which provides more efficient data access for long-term storage and archive.
The new Overland Storage NEO E-Series affirms the company’s commitment to tape automation. It wisely recognized that an overhaul was neither warranted nor needed since customer demands did not dictate them. Further, since most of the changes to the NEO E-Series are enhancements, this eliminates the need for organizations already using NEO tape libraries to re-qualify the E-Series with their existing backup infrastructure.
All indications are that tape has a long, stable life ahead, but those individuals responsible for making buying decisions about tape formats and libraries must exercise more discretion than in the past. Not only must they look into the future and pick a tape format that will age gracefully, but they must pick tape libraries from providers that understand and can support their data protection needs. The enhancements that Overland Storage has made to the NEO E-Series, coupled with its line of NAS and SAN data protection appliances, provide assurances that Overland Storage can meet the needs of those organizations who are looking to protect their data in the most efficient and affordable way possible.