Nexsan is adding Falconstor's virtual tape library software to its high-capacity AutoMAID arrays.
The MAID arrays pack many more disks than usual into a rack enclosure by having most of them spun down at any one time, thus saving both heat and energy.
Falconstor's VTL software makes the array appear to be a tape library to backup applications, which read and write data at near-disk speed. Users can complete backups in a much shorter time than if they were streaming backup save sets to slower tape drives.
Currently tape libraries have a substantial cost advantage over disk arrays for storing data long-term. They can hold much more data in a rack enclosure because the tape cartridges are stored in closely packed together slots with only a few drives operating and generating heat.
By having drives spun down, Nexsan's AutoMAID (automatic massive array of idle disks) can pack up to 315TB into a rack enclosure and combine tape library-like capacity with disk-like access speeds and energy costs. Searching such disk-based archives is also a lot quicker than searching through hundreds of offline tape cartridges in a library. This makes disk-based archives more suitable for regulatory compliance functions.
These are clear signs that MAID technology is becoming a stronger aspect of virtual tape libraries and will enable them to replace rack-mounted tape libraries where data access speed is paramount. Tape libraries that are in large enclosures, such as Sun's SL8500, still retain their huge data storage cost advantages though.