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Connecting Tapes And Disks For Better Backup

Storage vendors collaborate to provide customers with a better backup and recovery system
Even though disk-based storage systems are getting cheaper and more robust, they still haven't eliminated tapes as a low-cost backup option. In fact, one vendor of inexpensive disk-based backup appliances is turning to tapes to provide its customers with more options for backup and recovery systems.

StorServer Inc., which makes a low-cost backup and recovery appliance based on Serial ATA drives, on Thursday will unveil a technology and marketing deal with Qualstar Corp., a tape library vendor, to provide an integrated system that features the best of tape and disk systems. The combo system will store live data on the ATA drives, which offer quicker response, and archive unneeded data on tape drives, which offer unlimited capacity at extremely low prices. The goal is to improve the performance of the backup and recovery process while keeping costs down. It is one of the first disk and tape combinations on the market, experts say.

The system provides the kind of capabilities that users need, says David Hill, an analyst at Aberdeen Group. Most businesses will initially back up data on ATA drives because that technology offers better performance. But they'll also use tapes because of cost and portability issues, he says. The system will let "storage administrators reduce backup times, move the tape library off site, and make copies anytime they want," he says. "None of it would affect users working on the network."