The Dell PowerVault 136T is based on the Linear Tape-Open standard, which means it can interoperate with other libraries that support the same standard. LTO competes with the Digital Linear Tape standard, which is owned by Quantum Corp. Both deliver comparable levels of capacity, performance, and scalability. But several vendors, including Hewlett-Packard and IBM, manufacture the LTO drives.
Dell's new tape library is available now, with pricing starting at $17,000. The PowerVault 136T is loaded with diagnostics for storage management, has four times the throughput of its predecessor, the Dell 130T, stores as much as 14.4 terabytes of data, and comes with an optional Fibre Channel switch for connections to Fibre Channel-based storage area networks. It's usually difficult to back up and recover data between a SAN and tape libraries because the library doesn't support the Fibre Channel interconnect.
Gartner analyst Fara Yale says that Dell is moving into an upscale space with the LTO support and the SAN support. But she says Dell will bring more than high capacity, performance, and throughput to the market with the 136T. "They'll be aggressive on price," says Yale. "Yet still offer full service and support."