Tape automation gets a boost with reduced prices

Tape automation gets a boost with reduced prices

The tape automation market is seeing slashed prices and aggressive vendor manoeuvring in a bid to generate interest amongst resellers and attract a new category of customers.

Exabyte country manager ANZ, Richard Giddey, said the company has reduced prices by about 25 per cent in a bid to make automated backup more affordable to small business, remote/branch offices and government/education users.

Exabyte has slashed prices on its VXA systems and Magnum Autoloaders which use LTO technology, as well as on the VXA-2 based PacketLoader. The price reduction makes automated backup available for about the same price as a standalone tape drive.

"With this price drop, we can respond to challenges from our reseller partners to provide automated backup that satisfies the affordability needs of their customers as well as provide motivation for smaller organisations to move away from low-capacity CD/DVD backup or dead-end DDS/DAT hardware," Giddey said.

IDC estimates the VXA and LTO segments of the tape market remain bright spots in tape storage, with shipments of both formats showing increases year over year.

Quantum country manager, Craig Tamlin, said he didn't see much action locally for VXA technology.

"We don't see Exabyte in the market locally, and don't know of many clients moving toward VXA. Most are moving away from it. Certainly LTO is strong. Perhaps this price decrease by Exabyte is a shot-in-the-arm at trying to give VXA one last dying kick."

Tamlin sees tremendous opportunity for resellers peddling autoloader and tape library technologies. The company has slashed its prices by roughly 20 per cent, and recently revamped its autoloader and midrange tape library lines.

In the SMB space, the company unveiled the SuperLoader 3, and the PX500 tape library series, which caters to the mid-range open systems market. New features include remote management and increased slot counts.

Tamlin said the aggressive price moves and jockeying for position came at a time of great flux in the tape storage market.

He cited the Sun/StorageTek takeover, and the uncertainties with HP and a company called Overland Storage in North American markets as prime examples. "There's disarray in the market in general," he said.

But times are good, and tape isn't dead, Tamlin said.

"It's a fabulous time for tape," he said. "We are on fire at the moment."

A top market driver is the fact that many organisations need to comply with government regulations dealing with short- and long-term storage of company records.

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