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EMC Rolls Out Mainframe Virtual Tape Tool

In the past few months it seemed that small-to-medium enterprises were the new love interest for storage vendors. Everyone from IBM to Dell were courting SMB organizations. Now it seems some powerhouse players are also wooing the mainframe environment, bearing promises of more efficient storage resource management.

EMC is the second big player in the past week to announce product improvements as well as a new mainframe storage tool. The vendor released today an updated version of its data protection software, RecoverPoint 3.0, and the latest addition to its EMC Disk Library for Mainframe (EMC DLm) portfolio, the DLm4080.

EMC describes it as a "tapeless" virtual tape (VTL) library system for the IBM z Series environment and claims it eliminates the challenges tied to traditional tape-based processes and can cut data center operating costs. The new VTL tool, available in March, is priced at $850,000.

"The challenge is protecting information but also prioritizing the most important information in terms of storage, backup and archiving. Our tool allows more efficient recovery and retrieval," Rob Emsley, senior director of software product marketing, told InternetNews.com.

[cob:Related_Articles]In a typical tape backup scenario, data is transferred to a tape drive and then onto cartridges. The process presents ongoing issues such as increased costs, security concerns over potential tape loss or theft, and a longer time in retrieving data in disaster recovery events.

"In most mainframe situations storage is tape-to-tape with maybe a combination of a disk connected to a tape library. Our product is all disk-based yet doesn't require any process changes," explained Emsley.

The EMC DLm features 1 Terabyte SATA II disk drives with RAID 6 protection and hardware compression. It's available in with either two or four virtual tape emulators and scales to 500 terabytes of storage capacity while providing 600 megabytes per second of throughput. According to EMC it represents a 33 percent gain over competing mainframe VTL offerings.

The second product announcement is an upgrade to RecoverPoint 3.0, a technology EMC bought in its acquisition of Kashya in May 2006, which works within a network environment when used with RecoverPoint appliances.

"It's the middle man in the storage transaction," says Emsley.

At the time of the acquisition Kashya had about a 100 installed users and EMC now says it's pushed that figure to 400. "We've had a very successful first year with 200 percent growth in the revenue with this product," notes Emsley.

RecoverPoint provides remote replication from one data center site to another, as well as continuous data protection (CDP) for local recovery needs. "It's like Tivo for the data center. You can roll back and recreate states of the data center from any point in time," said Emsley.

A new tweak is that prior to the latest version, customers had to replicate apart from CDP activity. Now the two processes can run concurrently. Another new aspect is that the RecoverPoint application is now embedded in the firmware of the CLARiiON CX3 networked systems.

Pricing on the upgraded software starts at $20,000. RecoverPoint devices are $10,000 each.