Copan Does Disk for the Price of Tape

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Copan Systems says it has developed a new architecture that provides disk-based storage performance and reliability at the scale and price of tape.

The result is a product that “fills a hole in the storage hierarchy between on-line disk systems and off-line tape systems,” says Copan CEO Dave Davenport.

At $1 to $3 per gigabyte, Davenport contends Copan can match tape in price and scalability, with the ability to store “hundreds of terabytes” in a single

Steve Kenniston, technology analyst at Enterprise Storage Group, says ESG’s research shows that in the next two years, 86% of enterprise and midrange end users will be using disk as targets for backup.

“If that is the case, when does disk begin to hit the same wall as tape?” Kenniston asks. “Copan’s technology allows for a massive amount of disk capacity in a single footprint, which is good for IT folks who need the space in the data center. On top of that, they are one of only a couple of folks who actually do power management on their drives, again another benefit for IT.”

“Lastly,” continues Kenniston, “in our research, we also found that a large percentage of customers who were going to disk-based backup targets were going to use Virtual Tape Libraries, as they fit well into their existing infrastructure. Copan is using VTL as well. Overall, a very nice solution.”

Davenport says Copan’s enterprise-class MAID (massive arrays of idle drives) technology delivers response times and transfer speeds “considerably faster than tape” at the same price and scalability.

“We think it can totally obsolete tape,” he boasts.

The start-up says it delivers improved backup and restore by removing the complexities of tape backup and enabling all the data to remain online for faster, more consistent restores. Copan claims the technology could allow for new strategic applications not possible with current architectures.

“Copan has a unique offering at the moment,” Randy Kerns, a senior patner at the Evaluator Group, told Enterprise Storage Forum. “What they have is really a ‘disk library’ where ATA disks are in a normally spun down state and they spin up to transfer data.”

“It should allow a very cost effective solution to store data that would normally be on a tape library and does not need to be on removable media,” Kerns continued. “The administrative cost should be attractive.”

The company reports its technology “has been validated by over 60 enterprise customers, including many Fortune 500 institutions spanning financial, media, manufacturing, and high-end computing industries.”

Ticketmaster says Copan “could eliminate much of the management headaches for active archive applications and backup/recovery without dramatically increasing the storage budget or re-architecting the existing environment.”

“The time and technology have arrived for mid-line storage to become a critical and cost-effective component in every enterprise storage strategy,” David Hill, VP of storage research at Aberdeen Group, said in a statement.

Davenport was formerly CEO of SANCastle and spent 11 years at Hitachi and Hitachi Data Systems. CTO Aloke Guha was a VP and chief architect at StorageTek. The company’s products will be available in April, Davenport says. Pricing is not yet available.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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