IBM, ADIC Ship LTO Products

Years ofcollaboration between storage vendors has come to fruition. IBM Corp. (www.ibm.com) and Advanced Digital InformationCorp. (ADIC, www.adic.com) are releasing the first products based onthe Linear Tape Open (LTO, www.lto.org) standard. LTO is a backup medium designedfor medium-range computers and networks.

LTO (wasdesigned by a consortium of storage vendors including IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co.(www.hp.com), and Seagate Technology Inc. (www.seagate.com). The LTO organization was developed inpart as a reaction to revolving dominators in the midrange storage market: Eachof the vendors were top dog at one time, but now Quantum Corp. (www.quantum.com) reigns, with its DLTproduct line.

“This is anopportunity in the mid-market space,” says Brenda Zawatski, vice president, IBMStorage Systems Group. IBM traditionally focused its tape storage offerings onmainframe-class computers. Its Magstar tape line was designed for the mainframeworld and depended on proprietary technologies and interconnects. LTOtransitions IBM’s tape line to the open standards of the Windows NT world.

The LTOorganization prescribes two types of tape for vendors: the single reel Ultriumoffers 200 GB of storage with transfer rates up to 40 MBps; the double reelAccelis boasts 50 GB of storage with 40 MBps access times. Ultrium is designedfor backup and archiving, while the Accelis is designed for applicationsrequiring fast retrieval speeds.

IBM’sUltrium line includes an Ultrium tape drive and an Ultrium tape library.Ultrium autoloaders and an expandable library should hit the street in mid tolate October.

IBM is thefirst vendor to ship with LTO Ultrium drives and tapes. It demonstratedversions of the drives at a National Association of Broadcasters meeting in LasVegas, where television show Entertainment Tonight (www.etonline.com) announced that it plansto move its archives and video assets to the digital medium.

“This isthe first time we’ll have tape library support immediately,” says Steve Whitner,marketing manager at ADIC. ADIC’s rollout of LTO libraries coincides with IBM’srelease of its LTO drives. Whitner says IBM is rebranding ADIC libraries.

Whitnerbelieves LTO offers certain advantages for NT administrators. “LTO bringspremium performance down to the client server level,” he says. Currently, onlyhigh-end mainframe products can match LTO performance.

Whitneralso points to LTO’s storage density as another advantage for administrators,particularly those who use NT as their Web infrastructure. In libraries, LTOhas a high storage density -- the amount of data that can be kept in a givenvolume. ADIC estimates that its LTO library can hold about 1 TB per rack unit.

The highstorage density benefits administrators who keep their Internet infrastructurein collocation facilities where space is charged by the rack unit. The compactstorage allows administrators to keep costs down while maintaining full backupor archives. “The density issue is becoming more and more critical,” Whitnersays.

Hewlett-Packardrecently announced that prototypes of its LTO products have passed LTOcompliance, setting the stage for HP tape and drives to ship. The devices mustpass tests by the LTO organization and by a third party testing lab.