Backup Vendors Offer Array of Alternatives

Vendor backup offerings fall into three key areas. These include:

Disk-to-Disk Backup

Disk-to-disk backup systems typically work like network-attached storage devices and can perform backups as a simple file copy.

On the high end, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Network Appliance Inc.'s NearStore R100 array sells for $275,000 for a 12TB unit.

The $45,000 Quantum DX30, from Quantum Corp. in Milpitas, Calif., supports up to 3TB of backup storage. It emulates a tape drive to work with third-party backup software.

On the low end, the ATAboy, from Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Nexsan Technologies Ltd., starts at about $10,000 for 500GB of storage and scales to 2.5TB.

Virtual Tape Servers

Virtual tape servers offer tape caching capabilities similar to those of disk-to-disk backup systems, but they also support the mainframe arena.

IBM's TotalStorage Virtual Tape Server (VTS) is the heavyweight here, with about 89% of the market, according to Framingham, Mass.-based IDC. The other major competitor is Louisville, Colo.-based Storage Technology Corp., with its V960 Shared Virtual Array disk system.

IBM's integrated system consists of a high-performance VTS disk cache controller and tape management software, plus adapters for connecting to host servers and an IBM 3494 Enterprise Tape Library (see diagram). A fully configured VTS system runs about $250,000.

Automated Tape Libraries

Some 20 vendors offer about 3,000 automated tape library (ATL) products, ranging from autoloaders to full-size ATLs

with tens of tape drives and hundreds of tape cartridges.

The leading vendors, IBM and StorageTek, sell a full range of products. Quantum, Redmond, Wash.-based Advanced Digital Information Corp. and Overland Storage Inc. in San Diego focus on the midrange backup systems.

Noticeably absent is Hewlett-Packard Co., which announced that it's exiting the ATL business. HP will continue to sell libraries but won't manufacture them, says Bob Abraham, an analyst at Freeman Reports in Ojai, Calif.

Editor's note: The statement that IBM has 89% of the virtual tape server market was based on 1999 IDC market share estimates. An IDC spokesperson says the company no longer tracks market share in this area, but adds that StorageTek's Virtual Storage Manager, introduced last year, has made "substantial gains" against IBM.


Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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