New NEO Tape Libraries Satisfy Continued SME Cravings for Cost-Effective Backup and Archive

Small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) face some tough choices right now. Disk-based backup is definitely on the rise and has many appealing features, but it can come with a price tag that these organizations simply cannot afford and may not meet all levels of data protection needs. Many SMEs are using tape as a primary backup target or leveraging tape as an archive in a disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) scenario. It is these requirements that the new NEO

® 200s and NEO

® 400s entry-level tape libraries announced this week from Overland Storage are designed to address.

There is no doubt that the price of disk-based backup has dropped dramatically over the last few years, even as its acceptance as a backup target has risen. But in small IT shops, tape still has appeal. It is portable, available in a small form factors and its upfront and ongoing costs are minimal, especially if needed to back up only a few hundred gigabytes (GBs) or up to one terabyte (TB) nightly. It is for reasons like these IT offices with budget, space and resource constraints are still purchasing entry-level tape libraries.

But as they look for new entry-level options, their appetite for more capacity and more features is increasing. Growing data centers and few or no IT personnel to manage backups means that hardware and software features once only found in midrange and enterprise tape libraries need to find their way into entry-level tape libraries.

To satisfy this growing hunger, Overland elected to leverage its proven NEO tape library family with the addition of an entry-level offering. The NEO 200s and NEO 400s entry-level tape libraries are the first products in this new line. While they do not possess all the features one will find in the NEOe product line, end users find the following features appealing for backup and archive applications:

  • Web-based remote management and diagnostics
  • Integrated bar code readers
  • Choice of SCSI, SAS or native FC interfaces
  • Easy rack installation
  • Removable magazines with user-configurable mail slots

Of these features, Overland’s decision to continue to support SCSI is notable because many of its competitors are moving to entry level tape libraries that only offer SAS or FC. While SAS interfaces certainly appear to the be wave of the future and are supported on these new Overland systems, continuing to offer a SCSI interface option still makes sense for SMEs since for now SCSI is still more prevalent and standardized than SAS and can provide sufficient throughput for smaller environments.

The NEO 200s and NEO 400s also diverge in a number of ways. The NEO 400s is a larger capacity, more full featured tape library while the NEO 200s more cleanly fits the definition of an autoloader/small library. Some other ways in which the NEO 200S and NEO 400s differ include:

  • The NEO 200s supports both LTO-3 and LTO-4 tape drives while the NEO 400s only supports LTO-4 tape drives. Smaller organizations are less likely to have a need for the higher capacities and faster throughput that LTO-4 tape offers plus LTO-3 tapes are, on a per cartridge basis, lower cost than LTO-4 tapes.
  • Redundant power supply option on the NEO400s. Overland has learned over the years that SMEs and data-intensive environments have a heightened need for data availability.  The ability to add redundant power ensures a “backup” power source and ongoing access to data in the event of a primary power supply failure.
  • Planned future options for the NEO 400s. For organizations faced with rapidly changing environments requiring an extra degree of flexibility, Overland is planning to provide a scalability solution that allows them to start with a NEO 400s with 48 slots and add capacity at a later date as needed. An encryption option also is planned to accommodate additional data security and compliance requirements.

Tape is no longer growing by leaps and bounds, but it is far from dead. These new tape libraries from Overland Storage give SMEs yet another way to deal with their budget, data growth and IT staffing issues. By extending the NEO product family in this fashion, Overland provides smaller IT offices with a viable entry-level solution for affordable tape backup and archive.


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