Not content with blitzing the mid-range tape library market with its PX series, Quantum is going to extend its DX disk-to-disk (D2D) product down from its enterprise base into the mid-range SME space. It already has a low-end D2D box, the CP3100 acquired with the Certance acquisition. This is in fact a D2D2T box as it includes a DAT72 tape drive and cartridges inside it.

But the product is destined for end-of-life. Graham Hunt, Quantum Europe's product marketing manager, reckons that for small businesses D2D isn't cost-justified. They are transitioning from DAT72 to half-height DLT/LTO drives and this gives them enough of a speed increase to make the added cost of a D2D box unjustified. The CP3100 won't be developed further.

Could we see DAT72 withering away? Lower-priced half-height LTO drives could accomplish this. It supports the idea of LTO becoming the dominant open systems tape format.

Getting back to D2D the Quantum interest is in the mid-range - where else these days. And there Microsoft is re-writing the backup landscape with DPM. HP has already announced a DPM box - the ProLiant DPSS. Fujitsu Siemens Computer is going to announce one too. Now Quantum, looking to bring its DX technology to the mid-range and needing to make a cost-reduced box, sees DPM as a great opportunity. Hunt said: "It's going to be incredibly widely adapted because of the installed (Windows) base." There are two Microsoft launch partners for DPM. HP is one and the second is not a server vendor." Hunt wouldn't confirm it is Quantum. I reckon it could be.

The cost reduction will come by dropping some of the DX's 'high performance' attributes, such as providing SCSI/iSCSI links, Hunt saying: "FC pushes the cost up. You don't need the FC back end."

Like the DX the new box will use 400GB SATA drives. It will be purely a D2D product. Quantum does not see enough benefits from a combined D2D2T box. Hunt's pitch is that it would suffer from compromises, having limited scalability. It's better to have a management interface over the disk product and the tape product, and offering a single interface.

I'm not sure I agree with this. It might well be feasible to bring out a combined box, with LTO3 providing the tape capacity and 400 gig SATA drives the disk capacity. Then software would have to be included and it might not be feasible to offload this entirely onto a third-party product such as EMC Legato or Symantec Veritas. The Quantum approach has the merit, for Quantum, of preserving SW supplier relationships. Customers though might value being able to buy a single box incorporating SW + disk + tape.

Quantum could layer a D2D enclosure on top of its Superloader - the new version will have LTO3 - but don't expect the firm to do it.

The new Quantum D2D product is "very likely" to include DPM. A nod is as good as a wink. So expect a 'something'X from Quantum offering D2D with DPM and integrating with Quantum tape automation products.

A final note. Hunt says Quantum won't be a primary storage provider, unlike Overland.