Quantum is launching a new mid-range PX500 series of tape libraries that will replace the existing M series and provide three products in the 38 to 200-slot space.

The three products are rackmounted and share common architecture and hardware. The entry-level PX502 has one or two SDLT 600 or LTO2 or 3 drives and 32 to 38 slots in a 4U rack unit. Capacity is up to 15.2TB with LTO3. It's priced with one SDLT600 drive at $11,990, and $13,490 with an LTO3 drive. Henrik Hansen, Quantum's European marketing director, said: "It is priced at near the SuperLoader level."

The PX506 has one to six drives and 88 to 100 slots in a 10U rack unit. It can store up to 40TB with LTO3. The base unit costs $15,995 with an LTO3 drive costing $10,995, and SDLT 600, $7,995.

The PX510 has an 18U enclosure with one to 10 drives, 171 to 201 slots and up to 80.4TB with LTO3. Its base unit price is $24,995. Drives are added to this at PX506 prices. Hansen said: "The M series will eventually be replaced by the PX series in mid-2006."

Reliability is increased through having fewer parts. Quantum will offer pro-active monitoring with StorageCare Guardian services. A maximally configured rack can have two PX510s and one PX502 to provide 176TB capacity and cartridge pass-through with FlexLink architecture.

According to Quantum, the PX502 has a density of c7.2TB per U of rack space. ADIC's Scalar 24 has c4.2TB/U. THe PX506 has c8.8TB/U beating ADIC's Scalar 100 with its c3.9TB/U. The PX510 has c8.7TB/U which exceeds StorageTek's SL500 with its c6.8TB/U.

Quantum has decided that tape is one of the two planks of its future as a backup, recovery and archive supplier. The other is disk: for faster backup and recovery. It sees a flat or declining but still substantial tape market; Hansen said: "It's (still) a $4 billion-a-year market." Quantum also sees supplier consolidation with Sun buying StorageTek and ADIC potentially trying to buy Overland, as well as the rise of LTO and continuous cost-pressure.

The company has decided to be a consolidation survivor and will introduce new and better products than the competition, Hansen claimed. "We're going into announcement over-drive with a host of new products coming over the next six months," he said. "We will be introducing a series of new disk and tape products."

The company has already introduced a new 2U SuperLoader 3 with VS160, SDLT 600 and LTO2 support. LTO3 support is coming at the end of the year.