StorageTek launches ATA disk array

Storage Technology is to launch a new class of ATA-based disk arrays for fast disk-to-disk backups that will offer high-capacity...

Storage Technology is to launch a new class of ATA-based disk arrays for fast disk-to-disk backups that will offer high-capacity secondary storage at a comparatively low cost.

The BladeStore B150 server is the first in StorageTek's B-Series disk array family. The product line, which will be rolled out during the next year, uses Advanced Technology-Attached (ATA) disks with a Fibre Channel controller to achieve gigabit speeds.

The box can be used as temporary storage before archiving to tape, or as so-called near-line storage for faster access to data online.

Tom Major, vice-president and general manager of StorageTek's Disk Business Unit, said that by using ATA, his company was able to drop the price per megabyte of storage from a range of 3 to 10 cents to 1 to 2 cents. Major said prices vary depending on configuration but a 4Tbyte BladeStore server carries a list price of about $85,000 (£55,108). BladeStore, which will be generally available by the middle of next month, will scale to 160Tbyte behind a single controller. The starting price includes a system with controller and management software.

In comparison, EMC's Centera array starts at $101,500 (£65,805) for a 5Tbyte system, plus $103,200 for companion storage management software. While boxes from both EMC and StorageTek target the fixed-data market, which includes X-ray images, checks and documentation, Centera sports a 27-character metadata tag that makes it impossible to copy over or change a file that was previously created.

Jamie Gruener, a storage networking analyst at The Yankee Group said the disk-to-disk backup and fixed-content storage markets are "becoming rather crowded fairly quickly".

"The differentiation will come in how software is used to manage the system and manage the duplication of the data - making sure there's efficient duplication as opposed to multiple copies or blanks sitting on the storage array," Gruener said.

Last week, start-up Avamar Technologies launched an ATA-based disk array that's more analogous to EMC's Centera in that it uses metadata to create unique documents that can't be changed. It costs about $175,000 (£113,457) for 7Tbyte of capacity.

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