Quantum announces i7 Raptor tape library for hyperscalers

Scalar tape library supplying Quantum has made an early announcement that an i7 Raptor library is coming, designed for hyperscale customers’ AI workloads.

Update: Quantum clarifies i7 Raptor status versus i6H. 25 March 2024.

Its present Scalar line has three products: 25–400 tape slot i3 with 1–24 half-height drives, 50–800 slot i6 with 1–24 full-height drives, and high-end i6000 with 100–14,100 slots and 1–192 full-height drives. There is also a scale-out i6H product, dating from 2022, which is for web-scale companies – hyperscalers in other words – and based on a Redundant Array of Independent Libraries (RAIL) design providing RAID-like protection and performance. The drive numbers and tape slot counts for the i6H have not been revealed, but we think its constituent 48RU-high racks each have 24 drives and 800 tape slots with in-rack robotics. There are many similarities between the i6H and i7.

A canned quote from Bruno Hald, VP of secondary storage at Quantum, states: “Large enterprises need a low cost, highly secure archival storage system that acts as the backbone of private and hybrid clouds, and creates data lakes to fuel AI models and initiatives. As the pioneers in tape technology, we used our expertise and input from our major hyperscale customers to develop the most advanced tape solution built for these emerging use cases.”

Quantum claims the i7 RAPTOR – it capitalizes the name – delivers the highest storage density of any tape library on the market, and offers unique anti-ransomware features like Tape Blocking, which prevents a library robot from moving tape cartridges from their slots via software commands.

The i6H also supported this logical tape block feature.

The i7 features AI-driven and automated predictive analytics that can monitor drive-media interactions, predict robotic failures, and gather system data to learn and help analyze and improve performance. 

The i6H also featured predictive analytics, but now it’s 2024 so it’s mandatory to use the term “AI”.

Quantum has an ActiveScale object storage system and the i7 integrates with this, offering an S3 interface, enabling integration into S3-compatible AI work streams.

The i6H also integrated with the ActiveSale repository.

The March 2022 i6H webpage URL now takes you to an i7 Raptor webpage.

Quantum claims that, because of the i7’s high storage density, fewer libraries are needed to achieve maximum storage capacity, saving on datacenter floorspace.  We’re also told that the product has the industry’s lowest power consumption and employs sustainable materials and processes throughout its lifecycle, from manufacture to delivery to operation to maintenance to disposition. It’s a good green story.

There are so many i6H and i7 similarities that we think the i7 may be a productized i6H, and have asked Quantum if this is the case – also asking for drive type and number data and the tape slot minimum to maximum range. A Quantum spokesperson told us: “The Scalar i7 is a completely new library with a new design from the i6H, and it’s also much denser.”

Quantum picture of i6H library.

We asked how many tapes it supports and the answer was: “Quantum will release more details on slot numbers when the product is generally available but anticipate it will be the densest library on the market.”

How many bulk load slots (I/E) does it support? “It will support bulk import/export of tape cartridges, and the numbers will be available closer to GA.”

What is its Capacity on Demand (CoD)? “It will have CoD, and Quantum expects it to be in 100 slot increments.”

What number and type of tape drives does it support? “LTO-9 FH drives at launch. LTO-10 will be added when it becomes available.

Please share an image of the product. “We will have product images to share later this year.”

The i7 Raptor is available as either an opex model – with monthly, usage-based payment schedules – or an as-a-service model, which provides more flexibility and scalability. It will be generally available early in 2025, with units going into customer testing and certification by late this year.


Quantum has announced an intention to ship a tape library product in ten to twelve months time, but tis is not an actualproduct announcement. The i7 Raptor has an as yet undefined number of tape slots, tape drives and bulk load cartridge numbers and there is no product image available.