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Copan Offers Low-Cost, Highly Reliable Storage

The company's Revolution 200T offers online access from ATA disk drives, promising improved performance and better reliability.
Speed doesn't mean anything if a whole system breaks down. A startup vendor that promises online access from ATA disk drives is also promising much better reliability than is available currently.

Copan Systems on Monday will unveil its Revolution 200T. The vendor hopes to combine the performance and data protection of hard-disk storage with the price and scalability associated with tape storage. Designed for write-once information accessed occasionally, Revolution 200T is expected to bring customers 10 times the data-access speed of tape.

But unlike the standard performance improvement many vendors could deliver with ATA disk drives, Copan hopes to bring improved reliability to the table. Power-Managed RAID spins only the exact amount of disk drives needed for each app, reducing heat and vibration inside the box and allowing higher-density packaging and cost reduction.

The Yankee Group compares Copan's Revolution 200T to EMC Corp.'s leading Clariion DL 700 in the ATA disk-drive space. According to the IT market-research firm, the 200T costs around $3.50 per Gbyte and scales to 224 terabytes, while the DL 700 costs around $14 per Gbyte and scales to 174 terabytes.

Yankee Group analyst Stephanie Balaouras expects Copan to go after large customers that use big tape libraries for backup and recovery. She believes the offer of online access from Copan, which isn't possible with tape, will be attractive--although Copan has no track record. Says Balaouras, "Copan is really scalable, but most customers will just try it out with at most a couple of apps."