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By | Chris Mellor 17th October 2014 11:39

Hey small biz: You know what you need? A tape library – Overland

Puts the XL into NEOxl with a good few terabytes of storage

Overland has got itself a new NEO tape library (cue jokes about the Matrix Reloaded) called the NEOxl, and it's packed a huge amount of capacity inside it.

The two models in the product line both support LTO5 and LTO6 tape formats and come in 6U enclosures:

  • NEOxl 60
    • To 3 drives and 60 slots
    • 90TB-375TB capacity (90TB is assuming 60 slots with LTO5 uncompressed; 375TB is assuming 60 slots with LTO6 compressed)
    • 504GB/hour to 4.3TB/hour transfer rate (504GB/hour is 1 LTO5 drive uncompressed; 4.3TB/hour is 3 x LTO6 drives compressed)
  • NEOxl 80
    • To 6 drives and 80 slots
    • 120TB-500TB capacity (120TB assuming 80 slots with LTO5 raw; 500TB assuming 80 slots with LTO6 compressed)
    • 504GB/hour to 8.6TB/hour transfer rate (504GB/hour is 1 LTO5 drive raw; 8.6TB/hour is 6 x LTO6 drives compressed)

A NEOxl expansion unit has six drives and 80 slots and is usable by both the 60 and 80 base units. By adding these the maximum NEOxl capacity is 560 slots filled with LTO6 compressed tapes, meaning 3.5PB, and 42 drives. This means a NEOxl 80 base unit and six expansion units.

A NEOxl can have modules removed and installed elsewhere, so it is both scale-up and scale-down in that sense.

Overland claims the NEOxl has six times better transfer rate performance and 64 per cent more density per rack unit compared with the nearest competitors in its class.

Let's have a look at Quantum's iScalar line to see if this claim has legs:

  • i40 — 3U rackspace, two drives, 25-40 slots, 156.25TB-500TB with 2.5:1 compression
  • i80 — 6U rackspace, five drives, 50-80 slots, 312TB-500TB
  • i500 — 5U-23U base rack, 1-18 drives, 41-409 slots, 256TB-2.6PB with 9U expansion units

The NEOxls have the i40 and i80 beat on expansion and on drive count but not on i80 6U base unit capacity. This holds a maximum of 500TB, just like the NEOxl 80 base unit. However, a fully-expanded NEOxl 80 holds 3.5PB in a 42U standard rack. That beats the iScalar 500's 2.6TB. The NEOxl also tops out at 42 drives, versus the iScalar 500's 18.

We believe that robotics are part of the reason, with the Scalar i500 having a continuous robotics system. We understand the NEOxl has a robot per base and expansion unit. The Scalar i500 is a scale-up library design. In comparison it might be a stretch to say that the NEOxl is a scale-out library, with each expansion unit being a self-contained sub-library managed by the base unit. But that is how it seems to us.

Overland's business situation

Loss-making Overland says its merger with Sphere3D, which makes application virtualisation software, is on track and should enable 10-15 per cent more operational synergies than the $20m cost savings first thought.

Its transitioning its manufacturing from San Diego to the Chinese facility that came with the Tandberg Data acquisition and contract manufacturers. Around 100 people will have been let go between the acquisition's closing and the end of the year.

It dares to think it might have a profitable run-rate exiting calendar year 2014, excluding stock-based compensation and one-time charges related to the Sphere3D merger and the Tandberg acquisition. So, if there are no more one-time charges, and the Sphere 3D merger works then Overland could actually start making a profit; be still my beating heart.

In the meantime it has secured $5m of working capital in the form of debt financing from Cyrus Capital to support restructuring and transition plans. A profitable run rate and increased cash flow can't come soon enough.

Both NEOxl products are available now from Overland's resellers with pricing starting from $12,599 MSRP. ®

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