Hitachi makes move away from tape

A disk-based, virtual tape library system isn't a new idea, but HDS believes it has reached a price that can attract all comers to all-disk storage libraries

On Monday, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) launched a virtual tape library (VTL) aimed at high-end open systems and mainframe users. The system uses disk-based virtual technology from Diligent Technologies that is claimed to be up to 25 times more efficient than standard tape libraries.

According to HDS, the system lets users move their tape libraries to a virtual solution without needing to make changes to their existing backup environment, or to policies and procedures.

The new library uses ProtecTIER VT technology from Massachusetts-based Diligent Technologies, one of the rising stars of virtualisation technology. ProtecTIER uses a special data 'de-duplication' technology, to eliminate redundant data while maintaining data integrity.

The company claims this method can reduce physical storage by "up to 25 times or more". Pricing details for the new service were not available at the time of writing.

Reducing the amount of physical storage required is a key factor behind the use of virtualisation technology to replace tape and optical libraries. Most organisations continue to rely on these older technologies for backup and long-term store simply because they have been so much cheaper than disk.

But another key issue is the disruption caused when moving stored data from one medium to another. According to HDS, because the VTL appears to the backup application as one or many real tape libraries, "the backup application accesses drives, robotics, and cartridges just as it would a physical tape library." But as the data still sits on disk, users should see major performance gains.

"The combination of ProtecTIER with Hitachi’s offerings allows end-users to economically utilise disk throughout the data-protection process," claimed Doron Kempel, chairman and chief executive of Diligent Technologies. 

As a complement to the VTL solution, HDS is also introducing a Backup Assessment Service that aims to identify and reduce risks with existing backup processes.