Spectra Logic has introduced near-transparent tape library upgrade with only the enclosure changing. It has also turned a SCSI library into a networked one with a chip addition.

The new Spectra T200, T380 and T680 libraries preserve storage investments because all of the expensive components can transfer, through this Transcale feature, to the next-sized library. The only replacement when users upgrade is the actual chassis.

Robert Amatruda, a research director at IDC, said: "Spectra Logic's T380 tape library, with its TranScale feature, offers customers greater scalability while helping them protect their investments by transferring existing components to a larger library as their storage needs increase."

All components of the T200, the T380 and the T680 that interface with the backup environment are inter-changeable. As data grows, customers continue to use their original tape drives, power supplies, robotics, TeraPacks - tape magazines, media and control modules in the expanded library frame.

Server host reconfiguration is eliminated because all configuration, worldwide name, and serial number information is precisely preserved. This approach takes less time and is less disruptive than traditional rack-mountable library expansions needing complex, time-consuming modifications of a chassis and alignment in the field. Upgrading the new libraries takes just half a day or less.

The libraries include BlueScale-branded encryption and key management facilities, plus RXT portable disk (RXT standing for RAID eXchangeable TeraPack). RXT drives match the size of a standard LTO tape drive. The pack has multiple Serial ATA (SATA) disks sealed in a rugged enclosure and protected by RAID. The idea is to combine tape portability and disk speed for backup and restore.

Each of the new libraries supports Fibre Channel, SCSI or iSCSI interface options, and can be configured with LTO, SAIT, SDLT and/or integrated Spectra RXT portable disk.

In more detail the T200 has 1-16 drives, up to 380 tape slots, and 20 or 40TB of RXT disk capacity. The T380 has up to 24 drives, 380 slots, and 38 or 76TB of disk. The T680 also has up to 24 drives but up to 680 slots, and 68 or 146TB of disk.

The Spectra T380 will be generally available for worldwide shipment in December 2007. List pricing for a single-drive, 50 slot T380 library begins at around $66,880 (about £34,000 at standard conversion rates). The T200 and T680 will begin shipping in Q1 and Q2 2008, respectively.

SCSI to iSCSI

Spectra Logic has also announced it is using protocol bridging technology from UK-based Bridgeworks in its new T50 library. The library was connected to host servers as a SCSI device. With Bridgeworks iSCSI-SCSI converter chip customers can use the T50 on iSCSI storage area networks (SANs) or as an Ethernet-connected device using the TCP/IP-based iSCSI protocol. Bridgeworks' 'Potomac' chip was used because it's small enough to fit in the library and doesn't need much power to run.

It means customers can take what was a direct-attach tape library and turn it into a shared resource for a bunch of servers in an office connected by Ethernet.