Volume 3, Number 42 -- November 9, 2006

IDC Says Virtual Tape Library Sales to Double in Five Years

Published: November 9, 2006

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

The market researchers at IDC have polished up the crystal balls they have dedicated to the storage market, and last week predicted that sales of virtual tape libraries would double in the next five years, hitting $1.4 billion in sales by 2011.

Perhaps even more astounding than that revenue increase is the expectation that the amount of capacity under management by VTL solutions will increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 47.4 percent of that five year period. This is a huge increase in data, and it seems to indicate that companies that have loved tape archiving for decades will increasingly adopt VTL as a front end to their tapes because of the speed and flexibility it provides to backup and restores of data.

"The long-term outlook for the worldwide VTL system market calls for solid growth in market value and terabytes through 2011," explained Robert Amatruda, the research director for IDC's storage group who put together the most recent VTL report. "Although the opportunity looks bright for VTL adoption, suppliers must educate customers about the potential benefits and value proposition of VTL systems and not merely tout them solely as an alternative to tape-based data protection."

IDC is predicting that this year, open systems VTL products will eclipse the mainframe-based products, which are based on high-end mainframe disk arrays and virtualized implementations of mainframe-style hierarchical storage management programs. Amatruda says that open system VTL products are adopting high-capacity, low-cost SATA disk drives to push down the price of VTL archiving, and that VTL will be part of a tiered storage solution. This is presumably IDCspeak for saying that having a VTL as part of a disk array or SAN will not only be absolutely normal soon, but expected, because of the ever-decreasing backup windows that companies are facing. The backup window is essentially closed at many companies, and that means VTL has to stand between tape and servers.

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
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