Research tells us that for the typical enterprise data is doubling in size each year and is increasingly valuable. Twenty years ago, data was important to the business; today, it is the business.
As a result, the need to manage and protect data, by backing up, archiving and restoring, has itself become mission-critical and represents a rapidly growing market.
In facing this problem, today's IT manager also has to take into account tough economic pressures and a lack of specialist skills in the face of complex multiple-user network environments.
The task therefore is to protect critical assets while ensuring maximum return on investment and low total cost of ownership.
Owners of earlier-generation tape libraries have found this especially difficult. Running out of capacity has meant buying an additional library, paying for its capacity upfront and hoping they have judged the rate of growth accurately.
Even if the growth predictions are accurate, there is still a need for multiple libraries. This means repeatedly paying for expensive robotics and either managing several separate devices or linking libraries together.
But there is a way out. For the first time the market now offers an alternative for resellers and end-users, by focusing on the provision of additional capacity as and when required.
The 'capacity on demand' principle is simple. When buying the base library, the user decides how many tape slots are initially required. The chassis incorporates additional inactive tape positions that may be activated incrementally whenever further capacity is required.
The user does not have to pay for the slots until activated, there is no obligation to activate them and usually there is no interruption in service when adding tape positions.
In some cases, capacity on demand includes hardware expansion, providing users with free expansion modules when they have used most of their existing capacity.
This serves customers well in that it allows for planned growth with minimum interruption of service. For resellers, too, it provides an ideal opportunity to sell on-going incremental capacity with minimal overheads.
The result is a solution providing long-term investment protection, a safeguard against unexpected cost increases and inherent scalability.
Steve Mackey is sales director at ADIC.
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