Tandberg Data RDX QuikStation review
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.
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.