Quantum Corp has launched low-end and mid-range tape libraries that analysts say are by far the easiest devices on the market to link together.
Called the PX500 series, the libraries are not the first to feature ports through which one device can pass a tape cartridge to another. Neither are they the first to use cable-free infra-red links between devices. But Quantum describes the new boxes, which are the first of a new architecture, as self-aligning.
The company says that if one device is stacked on top of another, the two will automatically merge and present themselves as a single device to management software.
Expandability has never been so easy before. It’s a clever approach, said Bob Abraham, analyst at Freeman Reports.
It’s pretty slick, said Robert Amatruda, analyst at IDC. Other modular libraries usually involve a fair amount of jockeying around to get them to connect. There is a lot less pain with these boxes, Amatruda said.
Abraham said the smaller customers at whom the new boxes are being aimed are the type of customer that most want this degree of flexibility. The benefit is not only in ease of scaling up, but also in the ability to easily break down and re-deploy multiple modules. Quantum said many customers redeploy tape libraries within a few years of purchase.
The smallest PX502 device is a 4U high, twin-drive machine with slots for up to 38 tape cartridges, which lists from around $12,000. The PX506 is 10U high, has up to six drives, holds up to 100 tapes, and lists from about $24,000. The PX510 expands to 40U, 22 drives and 220 tapes, and lists from around $33,000.
The low-end is the fastest growing sector of the tape library market. Freeman Reports estimates that revenue for all DLT, SDLT and LTO-fitted libraries with less than 100 cartridge capacity and excluding autoloaders will show CAGR of around 10% between 2004 and 20010.