Service is new tale of the tape

ADIC adds management software, diagnostic services to make tape library easier to use

As companies move to consolidate tape and disk storage systems, tape storage vendors are offering additional options to increase the value and flexibility of their systems.

One such vendor, Advanced Digital Information (ADIC), last week announced iSurety, a service for troubleshooting backup problems over the Web. Using iLink — an application that runs on ADIC’s tape libraries — an off-site ADIC service team will take diagnostic data from connected storage devices and access the problem. The service will launch in March.

According to Steve Whitner, corporate marketing manager at ADIC, the company will run iSurety out of two customer support centers — one in Denver and the other in Germany. “From the tests we’ve done, we’ve been able to diagnose problems in tape libraries, disk-backup systems, backup software, host bus adapters, and storage switches,” he said.

The service could prove valuable to IT departments that constantly run into backup issues.

"There's a lot of finger-pointing between hardware and software vendors, so being able to diagnose problems could ease a lot of pain," said Pete Gerr, Enterprise Strategy Group.

ADIC’s iSurety is not the only way in which the company hopes to make its tape products easier to use. ADIC also announced it has added diagnostic features to its Scalar i2000 tape library. The improved i2000 will log traffic between the host and the library and will allow for an increased amount of diagnostic data to be stored in the library. ADIC’s method of library diagnostics — relational diagnostics — automatically selects, gathers, analyzes, and synchronizes library log data. Whitner said relational diagnostics greatly reduces the time it takes to fix a problem.

The updated tape library will also include support for hot-swap drives, drive firmware auto-leveling that automatically detects new drives, native SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification) support, and integrated drive utilization reporting. ADIC also increased its total capacity to support 3,492 tape cartridges in a single system.

With ADIC aiming to reduce storage headaches with minimal staff cost or resources, other tape vendors are also turning to service offerings to combat the leveling off of tape-drive sales, which are expected to decline slightly during the next few years, according to IDC. The market for enterprise and midrange tape devices, however, will remain strong, IDC said.

Last month, StorageTek introduced Lifecycle Fixed Content Manager 100, hardware and software designed for customers who need to meet e-mail archiving requirements.

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