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Next-Generation Distributed Robotics Architecture
Virtually Eliminates Library Downtime

Overland Data, Inc., a technology leader in automated tape backup products, today unveiled its new high-availability robotics architecture capable of 99.999 percent uptime.

The Distributed Robotics Architecture (DRA) implemented on the Overland Neo Series of scalable tape libraries builds on the modularly scalable design of the LibraryXpress, field-proven in more than 40,000 customer installations worldwide. The capabilities of DRA set a new standard for data availability in enterprise-class tape automation, with overall reliability increasing as more robotics modules are added to the scalable library system. Overland is backing its DRA with a 99.999 percent uptime guarantee on high availability configurations of Neo Series installations.

Overland created DRA to overcome the inherent vulnerabilities of conventional monolithic library designs that are built around a single robotic arm, a single point of failure that can completely disable a conventional library. The innovative Neo Series libraries incorporate a simple, highly reliable redundant robotics architecture - unique to Overland - that gives users the freedom to create customised, scalable library solutions without the configuration and reliability restrictions imposed by conventional designs.

"The focus of mid-range library design has traditionally been on higher density, higher capacity and higher performance, yet our customers have consistently said their top priority is for high reliability, high availability solutions," said Steve Richardson, vice president of marketing at Overland. "The Distributed Robotics Architecture of the Neo Series not only addresses the density, capacity and performance needs of customers but for the first time in the industry addresses the high availability needs with a flexible architecture that brings unprecedented capabilities to the mid-range library market."

The third generation DRA architecture employed by the Neo Series vastly extends the high availability features offered by the two previous generations of DRA based libraries from Overland. A key feature of the Neo Series family is the ability to configure a second module within a multi-module library as a Standby Master.

A multi-module Neo Series library configured with a Standby Master provides both redundant control for the Neo Series’ inter-module transport mechanism in addition to an alternate path for host systems to access and control the library. Fail-over of a library’s Master Module is under direct control of the host system through the integrated Web TLC (LAN) port standard on all Neo Series libraries and may be automated via scripting.

Ultra-reliable library configurations are available due to DRA’s module level granularity. Using an N+1 approach a cost-effective hot Standby module is available to the host system in the event of a module fault providing a means for late night backups to complete without the need for physical human intervention.

Should a module fault occur during a restore operation, an operator merely needs to swap magazines from the faulted module to the N+1 Module to continue. In all cases the N+1 DRA approach allows a Neo Series library to remain on line by minimising failure in the worst case to a module level.

In today’s competitive market the only way to achieve the same level of redundancy as Overland’s robotic array would be to fully mirror a monolithic library, a cost prohibitive option for most businesses. The same level of redundancy can also be offered more cost effectively with the N+1 approach. The cost of DRA’s N+1 approach diminishes for larger libraries. As an example the cost to add N+1 functionality to a library requiring 100 cartridges add less than 16 percent to the total library cost.

A Smarter Solution

Platform independent remote management using the fully integrated Web TLC port standard on all Neo Series libraries provides enhanced library management. The simple secure browser compatible interface enables operators to perform most routine library maintenance and management from the comfort of their workstation. In addition the Web TLC port provides SNMP trap notification in the case of events or faults allowing the operator or script to take appropriate action.

The innovative DRA design also offers a level of operational flexibility not available with monolithic library designs. A Neo system can be partitioned, allowing multiple heterogeneous hosts to share a common library without the need for expensive and less-robust host-based library-sharing software. Partitioning can be done down to the magazine level, maintaining both a logical as well as physical association of the media. Library partitioning is key to backup consolidation in Storage Area Network (SAN) environments. Using DRA, the Neo Series supports library partitioning at the magazine level in conjunction with SAN-based logical unit (LUN) masking, providing uncompromising security for heterogeneous SAN environments that no host-based or switch-based scheme can provide.

Pricing and Availability

Pricing for the Neo Series with DRA starts at $23,000. The Neo Series will begin shipping starting Quarter 1 Calendar Year 2001. Customers can order Neo libraries with DLT* 8000, Super DLT* or Linear Tape Open (LTO) Ultrium drives.

About Overland

Overland Data, Inc. (NASDAQ: OVRL) is a global supplier of innovative data storage and storage automation solutions for computer networks. The Company’s award-winning DLT LibraryXpress SmartScale Storage® architecture has set the standard for intelligent automated storage and scalability and established Overland as a leader in the mid-range tape storage market. Today, Overland is broadening its product line and technology offerings to address additional segments of the storage market, including the entry-level small-business market, as well as the higher-end enterprise environment. Overland's patented Variable Rate Randomizer (VR2) data encoding technology, capable of substantially increasing the capacity and throughput of linear tape formats, is being applied by the Company to its entry-level tape drive offerings. It has also been licensed to Imation Corp., Seagate Technology, StorageTek and Tandberg Data. Overland products, acclaimed for their quality and reliability, are sold worldwide through leading OEMs, including Compaq, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Groupe Bull, IBM and NCR, and commercial distributors such as Bell Microproducts, Ingram Micro and Tech Data Corp., as well as storage integrators and value-added resellers.

* A trademark or trade name of an entity other than Overland.


Howard Rippiner

Overland Data (Europe) Ltd.

+44 (0) 1189 898022

Paul Shlackman/Alex Murphy

Strategic Alliance International

+44 (0) 1494 434434

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