Tape storage these days gets a bad rap for unreliability and manageability even though many storage experts will tell you it isn’t going away because it complements disk storage. But if companies keep lowering the cost of disk storage, who knows what fate will befall tape?
HP (Quote) threw another question mark behind tape storage Monday, unveiling a disk-based tape emulation system for small- and medium-sized business customers that have a lot of files to store but don’t have big IT staffs or bounteous budgets.
For fewer than $3,000, the StorageWorks D2D Backup System plugs right into existing datacenters via iSCSI (define), gets configured in three steps and simultaneously backs up data for up to four Windows-based ProLiant servers.
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With StorageWorks, backups are done automatically, so that humans don’t have to tinker with the machines; by contrast, tape systems need to be physically changed, putting them at risk for human error.
Moreover, because the backed-up data is stored online, recovering lost or corrupted files takes minutes instead of the hours it takes to typically piece together lost data from tape.
Adam Thew, director of marketing for HP’s StorageWorks Division, said the D2D Backup System is a departure from most traditional backup systems on the market, which tend to be tape systems that plug directly into servers to save data.
“The problem with this is that as businesses grow and the number of servers and databases and applications grow, they end up with multiple individual devices, which increases the backup cost and complexity, the risk of a human or hardware error,” Thew said during a webcast unveiling the device today.
Migrating data backups onto a single disk system — like D2D Backup System — eliminates the need for multiple direct-attached backup devices and the associated management overhead, Thew said.
For installing the D2D Backup System, HP has taken a page from the StorageWorks All-in-One Storage Systems it unveiled last year to make configuring storage machines easier.
Thew said the new device uses an iSCSI interface that plugs into a standard Ethernet network and a Web browser-based setup interface that allows customers with little or no storage experience to configure and manage the device.
While some disk-based storage vendors denigrate tape systems, Thew said HP recommends customers keep a tape device to take an off-site copy of data in the case of disaster recovery.
Currently, customers will have to connect the tape device to a server to back up data. Later this year, D2D Backup System will be enhanced with software that allows a tape drive to be mounted inside the backup system.
The D2D Backup System is available now in two models through HP’s channel resellers. Sporting 1 terabyte(define) of capacity, the D2D110 costs $1,999. The 2TB D2D120 starts at $2,999.
Both models are available bundled with HP Data Protector Express Software licenses for four servers for an additional $1,000.
D2D Backup System will compete with Overland Storage’s REO 1000, a disk-based machine that generally costs around $4,000 or more.