Over the past few years there has been a lot of hype that tape storage is being left dead. But while disk is capturing the fancy of enterprise organizations because of disk’s success in solving their primary backup and recovery problems, longer-term issues with data management are just now starting to surface. It is for this reason that enterprise data centers are finding new tape library solutions such as the Overland Storage NEO 8000e well suited for their emerging archiving needs.
Companies are no longer just paying lip service to effective data management; it is now viewed as a core enterprise issue. According to IDC the amount of electronic data created and stored in 2011 will grow to 10X the 180 exabytes that existed in 2006 which totals 1.8 zettabytes. Driving extreme data growth are a number of factors including:
- The high cost of data loss
- Organizational mandates to drive more cost efficiency out of the infrastructure
- Budget constraints
- More regulatory requirements regarding data retention.
The challenge for IT then becomes how to balance their new needs for faster, successful backups and recoveries with complementary archiving solutions that provide a low cost per GB, a long shelf life, minimize power consumption and maximize floor space consumption.
It is for this combination of reasons that both disk and tape continue to be used in enterprise organizations. While disk solutions are being used as the primary target for backup and recovery, tape is settling very nicely into its new role as a deep archive for rarely accessed data in these organizations. In fact IDC anticipates that sales of automated tape libraries with more than 100 tape cartridges may actually rise over the next five years.
This is driving innovation in the tape library market as is evidenced by Overland Storage’s recent introduction of its new NEO 8000e tape library.
The new NEO 8000e provides up to 3PB of storage capacity on as many as 1000 data cartridges. Further, by including support for up to 24 LTO-5 tape drives that support throughput speeds at 1TB per hour per drive, it can move data at a whopping 24 TBs per hour.
The NEO 8000e includes the features that enterprises expect tape libraries designed for their environments to possess. Redundant robotics and power, remote management, a reduction in the number of moving parts, embedded partitioning and power management are just some of the features offered by the NEO 8000e.
Beneath the covers the NEO 8000e includes a new interface that allows it to direct connect to tape drives. This connection eliminates its prior dependency on bridge cards which should result in improved tape library reliability as well as new flexibility in providing network connections since enterprise may now have as many different interfaces (FC, SAS, SCSI) as they have tape drive slots.
The NEO 8000e also embeds partitioning at the software level. This is usually available only as a hardware add-on feature or as a firmware option that is turned on via licensing. The NEO 8000e eliminates the need for more hardware as well as the upfront firmware licensing cost by making it a standard feature that every organization can use at no charge for up to four (4) partitions.
This feature takes on added significance since more enterprise organizations are looking to consolidate archive data from multiple business units onto one device while still keeping the data from each business unit logically separate. Using this freely available partitioning feature enables enterprises to configure the NEO 8000e so it appears as a separate physical library to each business unit.
The NEO 8000e has also beefed up its reliability. In tape libraries reliability is measured in terms of MCBF (mean cycles between failures) with most tape libraries in this class averaging about two million MCBF. But due to the improvements Overland Storage has made in its NEO 8000e it has been able to increase its MCBF to four (4) million, resulting in a lower cost of ownership and improved performance.
Possibly most important to enterprises during continued times of economic strain is NEO 8000e’s price: the base configuration with 100 cartridges is currently available for $47,999 MSRP. In addition, between now and the end of September 2010, end users who purchase a 100 slot configuration can upgrade to a total of 500 slots at no additional charge, representing a savings of up to $36,000. This promotion gives end users the opportunity to use the capacity they need now and not have to pay for a capacity upgrade when their storage needs increase.
Disk may be taking over the role as the primary backup target but the focus of enterprise organizations is shifting from solely solving their enterprise backup problems to solving their larger enterprise data management issues. As they do, tape and tape libraries are clearly staying in the enterprise conversation because of the new role that tape is anticipated to play in archiving.
Overland Storage is well positioned to address the end-to-end data protection issues of customers in this class. With an extensive background in storage, Overland understands what is needed to make products such as the NEO 8000e well-suited to address the long-term backup, archive and disaster recovery needs of the most complex data center.