Imation is going to introduce a disk-to-disk backup product. There are two components: a disk inside an LTO2 tape cartridge-like enclosure; and a tape emulator fitting inside a standard half-height LTO2 drive bay in a tape library.

The emulator acts like a SCSI-connected LTO2 tape drive. The disk is a 2.5 inch 100GB serial ATA (SATA) drive. Up to 200GB of compressed data can be written to it. Restores are said to be ten times faster than from an LTO2 tape.

Imation says customers can now embrace D2D without disturbing their existing infrastructure at all. The product masquerades as a tape drive and cartridges. Cartridges reside in library cartridge slots and the library's robotics transport them it to and from the emulator drive bays. Imation said the emulator product can withstand 500,000 insertions. The disk cartridge can withstand 60,000.

It is faster than tape because there is no need for tape repositioning, ie streaming the tape forwards or backwards to a new point. Instead the disk's read/write head repositions which is much faster. Imation says that the time to read the first byte of a tape cartridge is mostly spent threading and positioning the tape. This is eliminated with Ulysses and the time to read the first byte is 80 percent faster.

Imation says it will be installable for about the cost of an LTO2 tape drive and media. Announcement is expected next week.

You can view a PowerPoint presentation on Ulysses here.