Tributary Gets Closer to Quantum with Hardware Deal
September 27, 2011 Alex Woodie
Tributary Systems, a developer of storage virtualization software for IBM i and z/OS systems, unveiled a tightened partnership with storage hardware provider Quantum last week. Under the new partnership, Tributary will be selling Quantum’s DXi-Series line of data de-duplication appliances, as well as its Scalar line of tape libraries, into its IBM i and z/OS customer bases. The DXi-Series deal will provide Tributary a solid platform upon which to build virtual tape library (VTL) solutions.
Tributary Systems is a Bedford, Texas, company that has a long history developing storage technology for minicomputers and mainframes. In 2009, Tributary entered the IBM i storage market for the first time when it acquired the VTL software and associated intellectual property from Gresham Computing.
Gresham had IBM i expertise, built IBM i hooks into Enterprise Storage VTL software, and aggressively marketed the solution into the IBM i customer base. Gresham also had forged a partnership with Quantum and certified the Storage Director software to run on Quantum’s new DXi-Series line of storage arrays and de-duplication appliances. Unlike some VTL vendors, Gresham had elected to keep its solution software-only, and give its customers choice in hardware.
When Tributary bought the Gresham VTL assets, the certification between Storage Director (which it also calls Virtual Integrated Tape and Library, or ViTAL) and the DXi-Series was only months old. However, it appears that it was necessary for Tributary to renew the partnership with the San Jose, California-based storage giant.
As part of the renewed partnership, Tributary is now reselling Quantum’s DXi-Series devices, which the company will undoubtedly pre-load Storage Director/ViTAL onto and sell as a pre-configured, ready-to-run VTL solution for IBM Power Systems and mainframe shops.
The DXi-Series is a line of disk-based VTL and de-duplication appliances that were developed to compete with similar offerings from Data Domain. The devices utilize Fibre Channel and solid state disk, and range in capacity from 2 TB with the entry-level DXi4500 to 200 TB on the DXi8600. The appliances, which can appear as Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices to servers, can de-duplicate data at rates up to 90 percent through Quantum’s variable hash algorithm, providing customers with a big boost in storage efficiency.
Tributary will also be re-selling Quantum’s Scalar line of tape libraries, which run LTO tape drives and range in capacity from 32 TB up to 5.2 PB. Despite the early predictions that VTL technology would eliminate the need for tape, tape libraries are often welcomed by VTL advocates today as a cost-effective way to maintain archives. The folks at Tributary (and Gresham previously) have spoke kindly of tape. The company’s software is built on concepts, and its developers speak in tape terms. They even espoused using the VTL software not as a front-end for disk (as VTL is most often considered), but as a front-end to boost the efficiency of tape libraries.
Peter Prinos, senior director of global alliances for Quantum, commented on the partnership with Tributary. “Many existing and prospective Quantum customers have heterogeneous server environments that include IBM zOS mainframe, IBM Power i, and iSeries servers, in addition to open systems servers,” he stated in a press release. “With Tributary’s Storage Director, these customers can now leverage their investments in our … DXi-Series de-duplication appliances and Scalar tape automation solutions by consolidating their backup storage across these platforms.”
Tributary’s director of business development Ed Ahl hailed the partnership as a way for mainframe and IBM i shops to take advantage of new technology options. “Together, Tributary and Quantum offer IBM customers a single solution to easily share storage resources among multiple server environments, to replicate data to disaster recovery locations over WAN infrastructures, and to migrate their existing legacy data media to newer technology,” he stated in a pres release.
Storage Director/ViTAL connects to IBM i servers by emulating an LTO drive. The company says the software works just like a native IBM i solution; supports BRMS, SAVLIB, and Tivoli Storage Manager; and also supports third-party backup products like Help/Systems Robot/SAVE. The software also provides data replication capabilities, giving customers another way to protect their data.