IBM, ADIC Ship LTO Products

Years of collaboration between storage vendors has come to fruition, as IBM and ADIC release the first products based on the Linear Tape Open (LTO) standard. LTO is a backup medium designed for medium range computers and networks.

LTO was designed by a consortium of storage vendors including IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Seagate. The LTO organization was developed in part as a reaction to revolving dominators in the midrange storage market; each of the vendors were top dog at one time, but Quantum Corp. reigns today, with its DLT product line.

“This is an opportunity in the mid-market space,” says Brenda Zawatski, VP, IBM Storage Systems Group. IBM has traditionally focused its tape storage offerings on mainframe class computers. Its Magstar tape line was designed for the mainframe world and depended on proprietary technologies and interconnects. LTO transitions IBM’s tape line to the open standards of the NT world.

The LTO organization prescribes two types of tape for vendors: the single reel Ultrium offers 200GB of storage and transfer rates up to 40MB/s, while the double reel Accelis, boast 50GB of storage and 40MB/s access times. Ultrium is designed for backup and archiving, while the Accelis is designed for applications requiring fast retrieval speeds – two reels allow faster loading into the drive and the tape to begin in the center.

IBM’s Ultrium product line includes an Ultrium tape drive Ultrium tape library. Ultrium autoloaders and an expandable library should hit the street about October 20.

IBM is the first of the vendors to ship with LTO Ultrium drives and tapes. It has already demonstrated versions of the drives at the National Associaton of Broadcasters meeting in Las Vegas, where television show Entertainment Tonight announced that it plans to move its archives and video assets to the digital medium.

“This is the first time we’ll have tape library support immediately,” says Steve Whitner, marketing manager at Advanced Digital Information Corp. (ADIC). ADIC’s rollout of LTO libraries coincides with IBM’s release of their LTO drives. Whitner says that IBM is rebranding ADIC libraries.

Although ADIC is agnostic when it comes to what media to include in libraries – “We’re definitely an automation provider,” Whitner says. Whitner believes that LTO offers certain advantages for NT administrators. “LTO brings premium performance down to the client server level,” he says. Currently, only high end mainframe products can match LTO performance.

Whitner also points to LTO’s storage density as another advantage to administrators, particularly those who use NT as their web infrastructure. In libraries, LTO has a high storage density, the amount of data that can be kept in a given volume. ADIC estimates that its LTO library can hold approximately 1TB per rack unit.

The high storage density benefits administrators who keep their ‘net infrastructure in collocation facilities where space is charged by the rack unit. The compact storage allows administrators to keep coloc costs down while maintaining full backup or archives. “The density issue is becoming more and more critical,” Whitner says.

Hewlett Packard recently announced that prototypes of its LTO products have passed LTO compliance, setting the stage for HP tape and drives to ship. The devices must pass tests by the LTO organization and by a third party testing lab.

Chris McConnell is a Staff Reporter at ENT magazine.

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    Related Information:

  • LTO organization (new window)
  • Quantum Corp. (new window)
  • Advanced Digital Information Corp. (new window)
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