EMC is set to announce a new line of storage arrays designed to let customers replace tape-based backup systems with faster disk-based devices.
The new line, called the Clariion Disk Library (DL), will initially be comprised of the Clariion DL700 and DL300 disk libraries, which are based on EMC's Clariion CX700 and CX300 Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) arrays.
Unlike the CX line, the DL arrays would come pre-configured with a server called a "tape library module" that would make the disk array appear as if it were a tape library, a senior marketing manager with EMC, Sean Kinney, said.
The module would emulate several existing tape devices, including Advanced Digital Information's Scalar devices and Storage Technology's L-series and 9700 series tape libraries.
"A lot of people are interested in backing up to disk to make their tape backups go faster and better, but they don't want to change their libraries at all," Kinney said.
Tape-based backup software wouldinteract with the DL as if it were a tape device, but backup and recovery times would be significantly faster, he said.
"Backup performance is roughly 30 to 50 per cent faster than the tape library," Kinney said.
Recovery speeds would be "at least 10 times faster".
"In the disk library, all the recovery data is sitting on disk," Kinney said. "It's as if you copied from your C drive to your D drive."
Other vendors such as Quantum and Sepaton sold similar products, but EMC had become the largest company to sell these kinds of tape emulation devices, a senior analyst with Enterprise Storage Group, Tony Asaro, said.
"They're the first major storage vendor to provide something like this," he said. "They've basically legitimised this as a solution."
Asaro's research has found that about half of IT managers expect to move all of their short-term backup to disk over the next few years.
Products such as the Clarion DL series would not necessarily replace tape libraries, but they would appeal to companies looking to speed up recovery times on some of this short-term data, he said.
The DL series appliances will begin shipping April 12, with a 500GB DL300 starting at $US109,000. The DL700 starts at $US241,000, with a 32TB configuration listing for $US450,000, according to EMC.
Customers would be able to buy 3.7TB data modules for the devices for US41,500, the company said.
The DL series will work with IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager, Legato Systems' NetWorker, and Veritas Software's NetBackup and Backup Exec backup software.
EMC was planning eventually to support a number of other backup products, the company said.