Besides bringing his 21 years of IT entrepreneurial success to GST, Breisacher assembled a seasoned crew of storage veterans to guide the company during its launch phase. Says Breisacher, "After taking a few months off [after the sale of BCC], I had enough end users, advisors, and contacts...who said, 'let's get back in and do it again.' For me, I have been a big iSeries advocate and champion thorough the years, and I enjoy the competition with IBM, to be quite honest. [And] I just love to work...I love what I do."
According to Breisacher, GST has launched several tape solutions and will eventually provide devices for all aspects of eServer storage, including disk drives. "Our plans provide for development of future tape solutions, storage management software, storage consulting services, and disk subsystems," says Breisacher. "The first phase of our launch is encompassing all of our tape solutions. We're going from small internal units to enterprisewide libraries that support up to 96 TB. Over the next few weeks, we will be rolling out all of the models as well as announcing various strategic alliances. By the end of the rollout, we will have 10 families [of products] and over 150 different models."
According to Breisacher, GST plans to create a reseller program, identifying up to 20 resellers in the United States, and intends to create an aggressive independent sales agent program. GST is also exploring a variety of strategic OEM contracts in North America and Europe.
Many of the innovations included in GST's offering of tape storage solutions are intended to better address disaster recovery vulnerabilities, as their research has shown that backing up to tape daily--or even more frequently--has become a critical part of the data protection strategy of most organizations since the September 11 disaster. According to Breisacher, his team has identified three important areas where storage needs are not being fully met: backup consolidation, fault-tolerant backups, and mirrored backups.
Regarding mirrored backups, GST is including the intelligence in all of their tape drive controllers to create mirrored backups without the need for processor-intensive, mirrored-tape software or the need to manually duplicate tapes.
Says, Breisacher, "As the core of the technology that we are rolling out...customers will have the choice of whether or not they want to back up to one cartridge at a time or create duplicate sets of media with every backup that they do. [With GST drives], the host thinks it is just writing to one tape drive, but our controller is capable of writing [simultaneously] to two devices."
"When you go through software to accomplish this, you've got a lot of system overhead, a lot of delays that slow down your backup," continues Breisacher. "What we're doing is...unique because, since it's a hardware solution, there's no overhead--it actually makes your backups go faster.... While one is writing, we can build up our cache and get it ready to send to the other drive."
Since most companies back up their data to one set of tapes and keep them offsite, when one or more objects need to be restored, someone has to run across town (or farther) to fetch the needed tapes and then restore the objects. Of course, this can hold up the entire company in the process, and if this becomes a recurring need, operators can get lazy and even forget to move tapes offsite, thus creating data vulnerability. By creating duplicate sets of backup tapes, one set can be sent to an offsite storage vault for disaster recovery protection while another set can be available in the computer room for easy access.
Extending the compatibility of GST's tape storage devices to the pSeries and xSeries will likely provide significant value-add for GST among iSeries shops that also want to add tape storage to their pSeries and xSeries servers. According to Breisacher, all of the tape storage devices that GST is introducing are designed to intelligently configure themselves to any model of iSeries, pSeries, or xSeries server.
GST's technology is also well-positioned as an excellent resource for enabling backup consolidations because of it modularity and scalability, according to Breisacher. GST tape storage devices can be configured together to provide a large central enterprise tape backup resource that can simultaneously back up data from all servers within an enterprise. In addition, the modularity of GST devices also provides fault-tolerant redundancy, which assures that additional drives in the configuration will complete the backup if a drive malfunctions.
GST also offers models of internal tape drives for iSeries servers--something other non-IBM storage vendors don't, according to Breisacher. Their patented LCD module attaches to a tape drive that mounts inside the iSeries with a user operator panel that displays exactly what task the drive is performing. Whether it's reading, writing, or unloading or has errors, this information is clearly displayed on the panel.
GST's introductory line of products ranges from single and dual tape subsystems, autoloaders and midrange tape libraries, to modular enterprise-wide solutions. Solutions offered by GST include field-upgradeable single- and dual-drive tape subsystems, autoloaders, and two families of tape libraries that scale to enterprise speeds and capacities. The product line ranges from internal tape subsystems that can back up 70 to 200 GB for $1,950 to $4,350 (USD) to enterprisewide libraries that can back up 6 to 96 TB for $21,450 to $324,000. Transfer speeds range from 28 GB an hour on the internal tape to 4 TB an hour on the largest enterprisewide libraries.
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