Quantum starts selling its custom hyperscaler tape library rigs

All those who said tape would soon be history can eat their words. Back in October Quantum revealed custom massive capacity modular scale-out tape libraries for hyperscaler customers. Now it has turned them into the i6H Scalar library product.

The i6H is for web-scale companies and enterprise customers needing petabytes to exabytes of tape storage capacity and is based on Quantum’s Redundant Array of Independent Libraries (RAIL) architecture, a RAID-like scheme providing scale, protection, and performance.

Bruno Hald, VP and GM, secondary storage for Quantum, said in a statement: “We now have seven hyperscale and web scale accounts globally that have collectively deployed over 35 exabytes of capacity in hundreds of Quantum tape systems around the world, including many Scalar i6H systems that are already deployed in some of the world’s largest data archives.”

He said the i6H was doing well with firms operating exabyte-scale private clouds.

Quantum’s moody shot of its i6H

Quantum has four products in its Scalar tape library line:

  • i3 with 25 to 400 tapes and 18PB compressed capacity with LTO-9 media
  • i6 with 50 to 800 tapes and 136PB of maximum compressed capacity
  • i6H with unrevealed tape slots and drive counts 
  • i6000 with 100 to 12,000 tapes and 540PB of compressed capacity in 21 racks

The i3, i6, and i6000 are delivered as individual chassis whereas the i6H is a scale-out library and delivered as a complete and fully assembled 48U rack. Each rack contains eight component chassis which look like Scalar i6 modules. Quantum is being coy about what is inside an i6H rack in terms of tape slots and drive counts, only saying it has best-in-class storage density.

But a rack of Scalar i6 chassis can hold 14.4PB uncompressed and 36PB of compressed data using LTO-9 tapes. Each 6U module supports up to three full-height LTO tape drives and 100 storage slots, for up to 4.5 PB (compressed) of storage per module. Therefore a rack of eight i6 chassis would total 24 tape drives and 800 cartridge slots.

On this basis a 21-rack i6H extravaganza configuration would hold 756PB of compressed data using LTO-9 tapes.

An i6H rack can be operational in less than 60 minutes from delivery at a customer site, Quantum says. All i6H components are customer-replaceable, even the robotic system. Quantum says the rack can accommodate additional servers to run software which can provide new ways to access tape for large-scale private cloud storage and archiving. 

The RAIL architecture can be used with Quantum’s ActiveScale Cold Storage software, which has two-dimensional erasure coding software that can write objects to multiple tape systems for more durable data archiving. The library includes anti-ransomware features, such as Scalar Ransom Block,  and comes with cloud-based analytics software.

The i6H has 80 Plus certified power supplies to reduce power and cooling costs. Tape integrity can be periodically checked with Scalar Extended Data Lifecycle Management (EDLM) policy-based tape scanning. The system includes monitoring and diagnostic functions and can be managed through a suite of RESTful web services.

Quantum has a Scalar i6H webpage discussing the product and the library is now generally available from Quantum.