HP, Quantum represent latest tape technology
Latest generations of LTO and SDLT prove speedy and capaciousFollow @infoworld
Testing the WORM capability of the tape drives in this roundup wasn’t in my plans, and there isn’t much to test anyway, but Quantum has taken a unique approach to the technology that warrants attention. Whereas other vendors implement WORM using another set of cartridges, Quantum offers another DLTSage application, DLTIce, which transforms regular media into the WORM format and protects it with a unique electronic key.
Turning one of my cartridges into a tamperproof medium was easy enough. I downloaded and installed the latest firmware, clicked the DLTIce icon, and in just a few seconds my cartridge was WORM-compliant.
Quantum suggests a native maximum transfer rate for the SDLT 600 of 36MBps, which more than doubles the performance of the previous SDLT 320 but falls short compared to the incredible speed of LTO3 drives.
Predictably the SDLT 600 was the slowest tape in this group. Nevertheless I measured a maximum backup transfer rate of about 70MBps using eight concurrent streams. Interestingly, the performance of the Quantum drive didn’t improve when backing up from 16 volumes; in fact, the transfer rate was just a few notches lower at 67MBps.
The performance difference compared to the other tape drives is remarkable: It took the Quantum drive almost one hour and 20 minutes to complete a backup of 315GB highly compressible files, whereas the two LTO3 drives finished in less than one hour.
Those records are usually short-lived in this business, and the upcoming next-generation SDLT drives will probably recoup that performance gap. Until that happens, speed isn't the SDLT600’s strongest feature, but its price makes it a good candidate for an update from other Quantum models.
In summary, each of these three units would be a solid investment capable of producing reliable backups and restores with unfailing regularity. Choosing the one that best fits your requirements can be an educational and also pleasant exercise. But whatever you do, don’t disregard the big picture and the upcoming generations of new tapes.