Backing up storage nets with tape

In the opinion of officials at Global Automation Inc., the best solution for backing up data on a bunch of network-attached storage appliances is another specialized storage appliance. Last week, the company's DinoStor division took the wraps off its DinoStor TapeServer, a network backup appliance that allows a single automated tape library to be shared by multiple NAS boxes across a standard Ethernet network.

Organizations that have higher end NAS boxes (in the $10,000 to $100,000 range) often use one of them as the host for a communal tape library, according to Srini Sankaran, president and chief executive officer of DinoStor. The NAS box connected to the library is tied up during data backups and has to be brought down when the tape library needs maintenance.

"What happens is it brings down the performance of an expensive NAS box that has in effect become a tape server," Sankaran said.

Using the industry standard Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) to handle the backup, the DinoStor TapeServer connects to virtually any tape library and becomes the dedicated tape server for all the NDMP-compliant storage devices on the network. TapeServer, which is available now and is listed at $9,995, can stream data to tape drives at 110 megabytes/sec and also works with a range of third-party backup software.

Sankaran said TapeServer is also ready to support SCSI over IP, which will allow the device to be used with low-priced NAS boxes that do not support all the features of NDMP.

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