by May 4, 2006 0 comments



The Spectra 2K library is an entry-level 5U rack mounted
tape backup library for mid-sized businesses. It has fifteen slots to
accommodate as many as 100/260GB AIT-3 cartridges. In addition, there is
provision for accommodating another fifteen AIT-3 tapes, just by enabling a key
in its firmware. This means you can backup 7.8 TB of data using 30 tape
cartridges should your requirements shoot up in future. Its throughput can be
increased to  450 gigabytes per hour with AIT-4 tape drives.


Price:
Rs 2,65,000 (3 yrs warranty)

Meant For:
Mid sized businesses

Key Specs:
15 slots upgradable to 30, SCSI/FCI Ethernet, AIT-3 Tapes with backward compatibility

Pros:
Web-based interface, barcode-based tape media mangement

Cons:
None 

Contact:

Apex Computers, DelhiE-mail: Apex-Delhi@touchtelindia.net

At the heart of the tape library is the tape drive. It has
one Sony AIT-3 (SDX-700V) drive and can take 100 GB native and 260 GB compressed
data backup on a single AIT-3 cartridge. If you want, you can upgrade the device
by adding one additional tape drive having the same specifications.

The drive’s average rated access time is 27 sec and its
search and rewind speed is 122 inch/s. The average media load time is 10 sec
with Memory-In-Cassette (MIC).  The MIC is a 64-Kbit memory chip embedded
in a cartridge. This stores the index information of the data in the AIT-3 tape,
thus, decreasing the access time while restoring data.

The drive is also backward compatible and can read and
write data at AIT-3 speed on both AIT-1 and AIT-2 tape media.  The device
is available in desktop, tower or 19″ rackmount configuration. You can use
its barcode reader for quick file access and tape inventory. 

Installation of the tape library is fairly simple and does
not require any configuration.   You can simply connect the tape
library to the backup server, where you want to take backups. It provides a
choice of connectivity options-SCSI, Fiber Channel and Ethernet. You get one
of the above-mentioned interfaces, when you order the product.

We received the tape library with a LVD/SCSI interface.
Spectra 2K is compatible with all major backup packages and operating systems.
For indexing media, it has an in-built barcode reader, which identifies AIT-3
tapes and makes manageability easy. With Fiber Channel and Ethernet libraries,
it has a remote interface that is accessed through a Web browser.

This gives you the freedom to manage your Spectra 2K from
anywhere within your office, from a different building or from a different
country. Other management tools, including Observatory, help you manage all
Spectra Logic libraries in your data center.  

We tested this product on an IBM E-Series Server running
Windows 2003 Standard Edition, that was connected to the Spectra 2K using a SCSI
cable. On the test bed, we simulated typical office data, which included a
combination of DOC, PDF, XLS, MP3, compressed Zip files, a few MPEGs and image
files, all of which summed up to 65 GB. For taking the backup, we used Windows
2003’s built-in backup tool. Once you give the backup command, the library
creates an inventory of tapes installed inside the library. We used only one
tape and found that it took only 20 sec for creating its inventory. For
transferring 65 GB data, the drive took 1 hr 32 min 35 sec, which translates to
around 11 Mb/s. But as per the device ratings, it should have been 12 Mb/s.
During the tests, we found that a tape drive can give poor performance if we
don’t use correct and healthy cables. Initially, when we connected the drive,
it was not functioning properly and gave poor scores.

Finally, we found that the cable that we were using was
faulty. Once this was rectified, we got better scores.

Bottom Line:  A good option for mid-sized
businesses having backup requirement of upto 7TB of data.   

Sanjay Majumder

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