Spectra Logic Looks to Put Disk on Even Footing with Tape


Spectra Logic has given disk-based backup a missing ingredient it needs to compete directly with tape: the ability to be quickly and efficiently removed for off-site storage.

The company's RAID eXchangeable TeraPack, or RXT for short, is a portable disk technology that "expands the conventional drive-and-tape model of removable backup to include high-capacity RAID." The RXT docking station matches a tape drive's form factor and stores data to enclosed Serial ATA (SATA) disks.

"Over the past year or so we have heard a great deal about the advantages of disk-based backup," says Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group. "However, we all know that tape is still required for off-site storage. Spectra Logic has found a way to leverage the best of both worlds and integrate a solution for IT that does not disrupt fragile backup processes."

Standalone Spectra Logic RXT

Spectra RXT

The Boulder, Colo.-based company says its RXT technology can be implemented four ways: integrated into the Spectra T950 library, or in rackmount-ready, server-ready, or standalone forms.

The technology is intended for everyone from small businesses to large enterprises, and works transparently with standard backup, archive, and storage management applications. Standalone external RXT disks offer cost-effective portable RAID for desktop backup and archival operations, while the server-ready RXT technology plugs into servers' standard 5.25-inch drive bays. The rackmount-ready RXT arrays are designed for data center specifications.

All the implementations, the company says, deliver media portability and high-performance, flexible data protection and disaster recovery for any storage environment.

"Spectra Logic has developed a unique and innovative approach to provide the first truly removable disk library," states Robert Abraham, president of Freeman Reports. "The RXT concept is a clever implementation that optimizes the synergy between disk and tape in the backup process."

RXT technology can be added to the automated T950 in minutes and can be done by the customer, allowing portable RAID to be incorporated "without costly and bulky external disk array cabinets that take up additional floor space," says Spectra Logic.

With RXT RAID, the drive and media can be treated as another removable storage medium and expanded to any capacity supported by the T950, up to 600 terabytes.

"With this solution, RXT technology moves beyond just tape emulation and disk caching, and provides true automated removable disk and tape, leveraging both technologies, integrating them in one box, from one vendor," the company states.

RXT RAID provides the same scalability, near-online, and off-line storage capabilities of tape, but with much faster backup and restore performance, according to Spectra Logic. The company claims RXT RAID also offers a higher level of reliability and data integrity through the use of RAID technology and highly reliable and robust SATA disk drives.

RXT media is available in several capacities, using twelve 2.5-inch SATA disks designed for mobile computing, or two 3.5-inch disks designed for server applications. Each drive is mounted in a sealed enclosure and stores nearly one terabyte of data.

List pricing for server-ready RXT configurations begin at $3,000. List pricing for automation-ready RXT drives for use with the T950 cost about $9,500. 800GB capacity RXT media costs about $2,000. All RXT technology configurations are expected to be available in the fall.

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