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Quantum Debuts High-Capacity Storage

Aimed at the mid-market, one of the two new devices carries a list price of less than $10,000 and can scale up to 176 Tbytes in a single rack.

Storage vendor Quantum is set to take the next big step in its turnaround plan today when the company unveils its lineup of high-capacity storage devices, aimed at the midrange market.

The company is set to announce its PX502 and PX506 storage products, the latest in the PX500 lineup of tape devices that will start at a list price of less than $10,000 and carry the ability to scale up to 176 Tbytes of storage in a single, 40U rack.

>> Quantum P7000 (released in 2002) VS.
>> Quantum PX510 (released earlier this year)
134% more capacity
1,100% faster
595% more dense
80% less expensive (per Gbyte)

The PX502 is designed as a 4U device with one or two drives and between 32 and 38 tape slots; the PX506 is a 10U device with one to six drives and as many as 100 tape slots. Final pricing was not immediately available.

“I’m excited about it,” said Rick Belluzzo, CEO of Quantum, San Jose, Calif. “If you take our entire product line and the market opportunity, this particular platform is, I think, the most significant in the sense that it is very competitive, very innovative and really strengthens our position in an area that provides the most opportunity for the company.”

Belluzzo said that while much of the tape storage, backup and archive space has seen flat or negative growth, advances in tape capacity, manageability and other functionality—in addition to price-performance—has Quantum believing it is embarking on a growth strategy. A former CEO of high-end workstation vendor Silicon Graphics, Belluzzo also was president and COO of Microsoft before leaving the software giant and joining the much smaller firm.

Since then, Quantum has sold off its disk-drive business and focused on developing new, scalable tape technology that could leverage a broader segment of the market than before. The company believes its new tape products do just that.

“The capacity and performance of tape drives is increasing, so it’s pushing people to think in terms of small libraries that can meet enterprise needs,” said Ted Oade, marketing director for storage systems at Quantum. Solution providers that have remained close partners with Quantum say that the vendor’s new entry into the midrange space could see strong acceptance.

“Anything for the midrange that’s easily scalable is definitely worth its salt,” said John Howard, principal and vice president of Boston Computers and Peripherals, a Sharon, Mass.-based solution provider and Quantum dealer. “I think they are providing a solution that’s absolutely necessary.”

While Howard said he would prefer to see systems with increased caching ability and other functionality, he said compelling tape solutions still have strong potential for growth and will compete with hard-disk-drive-based solutions.

“You can direct-attach [a hard-drive array], you can network-attach it,” Howard said. “But at the end of the day, if the building burns down, everything is gone. With tapes [that are stored off-site], you haven’t lost everything.”

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