StorageTek Pads ILM Strategy

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With a mind to plugging gaps in its strategy for managing customers’ storage layers, StorageTek is unveiling a new tape system and software and a partnership with long-time chum Sun Microsystems at the Storage World Conference 2004 in Long Beach, Calif., this week.

Like rival EMC , StorageTek has embarked on a plan to provide information lifecycle management to help shepherd customers’ information from its inception to its disposal through a tiered storage network. Customers use such systems to meet stringent compliance regulations for data retention.

But unlike EMC, which recently embraced tape storage through a partnership with ADIC, StorageTek has long been a believer that tape storage is an important piece of the ILM puzzle, which also includes a smattering of disk-based storage, software, hardware and services to make a complete portfolio.

That’s why StorageTek is unveiling the StreamLine SL500 modular tape library for mid-market customers.

Jon Benson, vice president and general manager of StorageTek’s Automated Tape Solutions Group, said the SL500 leverages capabilities from the company’s SL8500 to bring customers enterprise-grade features.

“If you take a look from the customer’s point of view, he’s sitting there and he puts data in and he wants data back,” Benson told “If you look at tape automation prior to the StreamLine series, you had lots of [products with] single points of failure, so then you have to migrate the data because of something like that; it’s not available for the customer. That’s the reason we put out the 8500 a few months ago and that’s the reason for the SL500.”

Benson said the SL500 offers mixed-media support to help companies consolidate UNIX and Windows computer systems, as well as incremental upgrades of capacity and throughput. To the point of availability — a hallmark of storage devices — customers looking to upgrade their tape systems may do so because the SL500 can be scaled within the same library system.

The system starts at 30 LTO cartridges and scales to over 500 LTO cartridges while storing over 100 terabytes of data. It also uses a dense cartridge design to save floor space in the customer’s data center. Pricing for the SL500 will be announced at the time of its availability, which is slated for late 2004.

StorageTek has also produced a new piece of back-up software to address the dearth of products geared toward managing mid-range tape systems, Benson said. The Backup Resource Monitor (BRM) provides a single window view into storage operations for customers of StorageTek StreamLine and L-Series tape libraries.

“[Before BRM], you basically could talk to the library, SAN or application,” Benson explained. “But nobody’s really bundled it together for you to provide the right solution that brings all of those to bear. So BRM allows you to look at the [back-up] application, whether it be Veritas, Tivoli or Legato, or the SAN, whether it be Brocade, McDATA or Cisco from an overall point of view.”

Benson said BRM gives IT managers a reprieve from having to monitor each little step in a back-up process to make sure it’s working. BRM does it for customers and each BRM license allows customers to monitor a single library, a backup application and up to two SAN switches.

BRM single license list price for StorageTek’s mid-range tape libraries ranges from $15,000 to $25,000.

Lastly, Benson said StorageTek has gotten cozier with systems vendor Sun, agreeing to an OEM agreement in which Sun will market and sell StorageTek’s SL8500, under Sun’s StorEdge brand, along with StorageTek’s Powderhorn 9310 tape library and the L-5500, L-700e and L-180 tape libraries.

Unlike previous OEM deals between them, Sun and StorageTek will work closely to market and sell the products.

Article courtesy of

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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