Sony PetaSite SAIT-based Libraries a 'Strong Offering'


Sony Electronics plans to offer a new series of PetaSite tape library systems based on its breakthrough SAIT drive technology.

Designed for content management, data backup, and enterprise data storage applications, Sony claims the new SAIT PetaSite systems will set a new standard for automated tape storage density with up to 250 terabytes of native capacity per square meter of floor space, and a total native capacity of up to 1.2 petabytes.

SAIT PetaSite systems, available in June, will bring high-speed backup and restore functionality for enterprises and digital content providers. Sustained native data transfer rates for the SAIT PetaSite library will reach up to 2.88 gigabytes per second, allowing a standard file to be restored in just over one minute, according to Sony.

IDC Research Manager Robert Amatruda says the announcement represents "the first steps in Sony's ability to drive SAIT into the mainstream. It's a good announcement."

Sony "straddles the fence" between the mid and upper range of the market, according to Amatruda. Competing technologies include Quantum DLT and SuperDLT, LTO products, and StorageTek.

"It's a competitive market, but they really have a strong offering," asserts Amatruda. "In terms of performance and capacity, it's a player."

A basic SAIT PetaSite system will contain two SAIT-1 drives, an Ethernet hub, a terminal server, and a PetaSite control unit. This entry system, encapsulated within a standard 19-inch rack console, will be scalable to house up to 12 drives and 216 cartridges for up to 108 TB of native capacity.

Up to seven cartridge or drive consoles can be added to the base system. The cartridge consoles will allow users to add up to 330 cartridges for 165 TB of extra native capacity, and the drive/cartridge consoles will house up to 12 additional drives and 258 additional cartridges, for a total of nearly 135 TB of extra native capacity.

PetaServe Management Software Bundled with PetaSite

Since data management software is critical to support data warehouses that are seeing double-digit growth each year, Sony said it will deliver the SAIT PetaSite tape library pre-configured with its PetaServe hierarchical storage management (HSM) and PetaBack high-speed backup software applications.

Sony states the PetaServe software is designed to achieve maximum storage performance by automatically transferring data from hard disk to tape to achieve storage balance. This enables administrators to manage file migration through policies, while the data movement remains transparent to the end-user who is retrieving the files.

PetaBack software provides quick, automatic backup of files to the SAIT PetaSite system's drives, with high-speed restoration of data to the host computer's hard drive.

Tom Yuhas, director of data systems solutions for Sony Electronics' Business Systems and Solutions Company, says the PetaBack software, as part of Sony's PetaApp system solution, is optimized for LAN-free backup in storage networking environments.

"When organizations are confronted with terabytes and petabytes of various data and video files, management is just as important as capacity and density," Yuhas said. "The SAIT PetaSite removes the aggravation from large-scale storage management and backup by automating the entire process through intelligent hardware and software."

The basic SAIT PetaSite tape system will be available in two models, one with a Fibre Channel interface (CSM-200BF) and another with a SCSI interface (CSM-200BS).

SAIT Technology Roadmap Extends to SAIT-4

SAIT technology utilizes a half-inch, single-reel cartridge to provide more than twice the uncompressed capacity of the nearest linear half-inch tape drive, according to Sony. The first generation of SAIT tape drives (SAIT-1) provides up to 1.3 terabytes of compressed capacity (500 gigabytes uncompressed) and a transfer rate of up to 78 megabytes per second compressed (30 MB/sec uncompressed).

Sony's SAIT roadmap extends to a fourth generation, with the aim of doubling capacity and performance from generation to generation. SAIT-4 technology is expected to feature up to 4 TB of native capacity in a single cartridge (10.4 TB compressed). Sony also intends to maintain backward read/write media compatibility with at least the previous generation of SAIT drives.

The SAIT PetaSite systems are expected to be priced at $103,000 for the SCSI model (CSM-200BS) and $113,000 for the Fibre Channel configuration (CSM-200BF).

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