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Hitachi moves away from tape

Virtual tape library uses disk-based tech that is claimed to be up to 25 times more efficient than tape.

Hitachi Data Systems launched on Monday a virtual tape library aimed at high-end open systems and mainframe users.

The library uses disk-based virtual technology from Massachusetts-based Diligent Technologies that is claimed to be up to 25 times more efficient than standard tape libraries.

According to Hitachi, the system lets people move their tape libraries to a virtual solution without needing to make changes to their existing backup environment--or to existing policies and procedures.

The new library uses ProtecTier VT technology from Diligent, one of the rising stars of virtualization technology. ProtecTier uses a special data "de-duplication" technology to eliminate redundant data while maintaining data integrity.

The company asserts that this method can reduce physical storage by up to 25 times. Pricing details for the new service were not immediately available.

Reducing the amount of physical storage required is a key factor behind the use of virtualization technology to replace tape and optical libraries. Most organizations continue to rely on these older technologies for backup and long-term storage simply because they have been so much cheaper than disks.

Another key issue is the disruption caused when moving stored data from one medium to another. According to Hitachi, because the virtual tape library appears to the backup application as one or many real tape libraries, "the backup application accesses drives, robotics, and cartridges just as it would a physical tape library." But because the data still sits on disk, people should see major performance gains.

"The combination of ProtecTier with Hitachi's offerings allows end-users to economically utilize disk throughout the data-protection process," said Doron Kempel, chief executive of Diligent.

As a complement to the virtual tape library, Hitachi is also introducing a Backup Assessment Service that aims to identify and reduce risks with existing backup processes.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.