Tandberg Data DPS1100 VTL review

Price when reviewed

It’s been a tough start to the year for Tandberg Data. Filing for bankruptcy in April, the company’s pinning a lot of hopes on its DPS1000 series of virtual tape libraries (VTLs), which claim to offer more features and greater scalability than its competitors.

Tandberg Data DPS1100 VTL review

The DPS1100 represents the entry point, and is delivered as a compact but noisy 1U Supermicro rack server, complete with four 750GB RAID5-protected SATA hard disks. These are used to present VTLs to the network and the appliance can manage up to 100 host connections, of which 32 can be concurrent. It has huge potential: each VTL can have 96 cartridge slots, eight drives and unlimited tapes.

It has two Gigabit data ports and the first also provides management access. Configuration is via a tidy browser interface, and target creation is neatly automated – the moment a host initiator logs on for the first time it gets its own VTL complete with an LTO-3 tape drive and five cartridge slots.

The DPS1100 scores highly on access security. Along with support for CHAP authentication, each host has its own dedicated VTL that can’t be shared with other hosts. Consequently, data backed up from one host can only be restored back to it and not to another system.

We tested it with a Boston Supermicro 3GHz 5100 Xeon server running CA ARCserve 12.5. When we logged on, a dedicated VTL was created and the system appeared in the web interface. ARCserve secured 30GB of test data to the VTL in 9mins 55secs, for an average speed of 55MB/sec.

Using the second data port, we then logged in a Dell PowerEdge R710 with dual 2.26GHz E5520 Xeons and secured the same test data from both servers simultaneously with ARCserve. Both systems took twice as long to secure the data while cumulative speeds for both systems came to 57.6MB/sec. Tandberg also claims a maximum 10:1 compression rate but it could only reduce our 30GB of data to 27GB.

Expansion is possible using the appliance’s dual-port SAS HBA to add DPS Expansion Modules. Start with a 2U 12-bay controller module, which comes with six 750GB hard disks, and you can chain up to four expansion modules off this. SMBs will find this a pricey option as the 4.5TB expansion controller costs £6,745 and you can add around £5,500 for each expansion module.

The DPS1100 includes a SCSI HBA for connecting a tape drive or library, which is used to export virtual cartridges to physical media. You can also use the second SAS port for library connection but note that the DPS1000 family only supports Tandberg’s StorageLoader and StorageLibrary products.

Few VTLs at this price point can match Tandberg’s DPS1100 for capacity and expansion potential. It was easy to deploy and manage, and it turned in good backup speeds.

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