Tandberg Data RDX QuikStation review

Price when reviewed

Considering how popular the RDX removable cartridge has been, it’s surprising it’s taken Tandberg five years to produce an autoloader. The RDX QuikStation is a 2U rack chassis with room for eight RDX QuikStor drives.

They’re SATA drives, with six cabled to the motherboard and two plugged into a PCI Express SATA interface card. The QuikStation allows the drives to be presented as eight disks, each with their own target IQN. It can also emulate a single Tandberg StorageLibrary T24 with two LTO-3 tape drives and eight slots; or a Tandberg StorageLoader with one LTO-3 drive.

The pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports defaults to a failover team where one is on standby, but you can make them a load-balanced team. Two hot-plug cooling fans sit at the back, but only a single power supply is provided; think about extra UPS protection.

Tandberg Data RDX QuikStation

Installation is a cinch. We opted for eight drives, and logging in from a Dell PowerEdge R515 server running Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit, we could see all eight targets. When connecting to any, a NTFS-formatted removable drive appears. Although drag-and-drop copies of 17.4GB of small files produced only 22MB/sec read and write speeds, multiple drives can be used simultaneously. With four servers logged into their own logical drive, we saw Iometer report a cumulative raw read speed of 79MB/sec.

You can change emulation modes, but it will cause a system-wide cartridge eject and reboot. We swapped to a virtual StorageLoader and, after logging the Dell server back in, found a new medium changer and HP Ultrium LTO-3 drive.

Symantec Backup Exec 2010 had no problems with these virtual devices. Tape emulation was faster: securing a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 files took 13 minutes for an average of almost 30MB/sec.

The QuikStation is a natural progression for the format, making it suited to a range of businesses. Performance is still much faster than DAT 160 and DAT 320 tape drives; it supports removable disk and LTO library emulations; and it has a high storage capacity too.

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