Overland Storage's new REO 1500 disk-to-disk virtual tape library product replaces the REO 1000 and has very much more powerful hardware.

It now offers five times faster backup for the same price as the REO 1000. The target customer is a small or medium enterprise. Data can be backed to Overland's ARCvault autoloader for archiving

The REO 1500 is a 1U high rack unit shelf holding four serial ATA (SATA) Seagate drives - 250 or 500GB - offering up to 2TB capacity. The upgraded base hardware has a new motherboard, a 2.93GHz Celeron CPU and, interestingly, a 512MB flash memory disk to act as a fast cache. There is an AMCC 3Ware RAID controller looking after the disks - RAID 5 is available - and the operating system is Overland's Protection OS v4.0.

Backups run at 100MBit/s, up from the REO 1000's 20MBit/s. Also the hardware and software is now powerful enough to support a 50 percent increase in the number of virtual tape libraries (partitions) supported, from four to six. The total of virtual tape cartridges supported has increased almost threefold from 180 to 512, and there can be up to 32 virtual tape drives.

The Protection O/S includes Dynamic Virtual Tape (DVT) technology, which ensures that virtual tape cartridge sizes match backup job requirements and reduces wasted (empty) space. Overland states that as it is block-based the REO 1500 will not suffer from file system overhead or problems such as disk fragmentation or manual volume management. VTLs based on network-attached storage (NAS) technology may encounter such problems according to Overland. Overland is implying that the REO 1500 will hold more backup data than NAS-based VTLS of similar raw disk capacity but no comparative data exists.

Servers can connect to the 1500 by gigabit Ethernet, also by iSCSI and the number of supported iSCSI targets has doubled to sixteen from eight. Management is via HTTPS over a network link.

Michael Kerman, Overland' chief strategy offer, claims that: "The REO 1500 will play a crucial role in helping small and medium-sized businesses solve the many problems caused by exponential data growth, shrinking backup windows and the growing demand for accelerated recovery."

Overland has a 3-product virtual tape library (VTL) range with the two larger products being the REO 4000 and REO 9000. There is no announcement today about a similar upgrade for these products but we understand that one will probably come along fairly soon. Such announcements may also feature the 750GB SATA drives now available.

The virtual tape library market is very competitive and de-duplication is becoming a feature of mid-range and high-end libraries, such as those from Data Domain. Overland will probably be forced to add de-duping to the REO 4000 and 9000 to remain competitive. It is not likely, we understand, to feature in Overland's entry-level product space for a significant period.

In the SME area HP has recently announced its D2D Backup System product which can also hold up to 2TB of data and costs $2,999 for that capacity. It does not have such comprehensive virtual tape functionality as the REO 1500. The REO 1500 costs $5,343 for 1TB, exactly the same as the now superseded REO 1000. A 2TB system will cost $8,626.