Which is the better LTO-4 tape drive - Dell Powervault TL2000 or Quantum Superloader 3?

Posted on 2008-11-05
Last Modified: 2013-12-01
I am replacing my SDLT tape drive with an LTO-4 tape drive.  All of my servers are Dell - the only piece of equipment that isn't is my current tape drive - an Overland.  I am in need of a new drive due to spiraling data backup sizes, and I have two very similar quotes for both of these machines.  If you had to choose, which drive would you buy, and why?

Right now I am leaning towards the Dell, only because it will connect through SAS vs. SCSI. Thoughts???
Question by:brisully
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    I have had a number of different Dell autoloaders go bad, which disinclines me to view any such Dell offering favorably. But I haven't any experience with Quantum's, so I have no personal data to draw on for comparison purposes.

    But whichever you buy, don't get one with a half-height drive - they're just not built as ruggedly as full-height units.
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    I will weigh in on the reverse: I have used Dell autoloaders at several of my clients and they are all running to spec. I also have not used a Quantum.

    Author Comment

    So Dell 1, Quantum 1......
    LVL 63

    Expert Comment

    Also, don't forget that Dell is an OEM for some others, so the drive could well be a Quantum inside in any case.

    If you want support, then Stay with Dell so that there will be no finger pointing.

    Just my $.02

    I hope this helps !
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    Yes, as Sysexpert has pointed out, Dell doesn't actually manufacture any LTO drives. I've seen Dell badged units from Quantum, IBM, and Certance, for example.

    Still don't like their library mechanisms much, though...

    Expert Comment

    Just an FYI, the TL2000 is a rebadged IBM TS3100/TS3200  I have no experience with IBM Tape loaders. Maybe someone familiar with these can provide you with some feedback. Also consider the warranties on both (Dell 3Yr NBD support or Quantum 1Yr Rapid Exchange) and the price for uplifts. Both have their benefits if the Dell product requires an actual replacement it can be a long and ardous process.
    More food for thought
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    by:Hedley Phillips
    Our last library was a SDLT PowerVault 132T which was made by ADIC Scalar 24 and the drive was made by Quantum.

    We now have a TL4000 and a TL2000 which as Inveigler says is a rebadged IBM.

    The main thing to do is to make sure you have support. Dells Gold Support which has now been 'rebadged' as 'Mission Critical' gives you a replacement part and an engineer on your doorstep within 4 hours. This is critical when it comes to backups!

    Note though that the LTO4 4000 and 2000 only connect using SAS and not SCSI so make sure that your servers either have the correct card or you can add one. LTO3 still uses the 'old' SCSI.

    I will continue to use Dell for storage and tape backups. I like theor products and am impressed with their support.
    LVL 55

    Expert Comment

    I would recommend an Overland NEO 2000 or 4100. Presumably this is what you already have so you just have to swap the drives and magazines - perhaps the robot needs adjusting as well but they are certainly upgradable to LTO4.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    I have had significant experience with Quantum Superloaders, mostly because we have to repair them.  All the time.  They are cheaply made and break easily.  Most of the gearing is brittle plastic and what small amount of metal is used is low quality.

    The Superloaders are marginally better than Valueloaders, but we tend to hold Quantum products (internally developed, not acquisitions) in very low regard.

    I have not worked specifically with the TL2000 or the IBM TS3200 yet, but in general, we have had very good experiences with IBM tape drives and libraries.  Very solidly built.

    So, in this case, I would recommend the Dell TL2000.  One other option to consider is the Overland Arcvault 24 or 48, which has the same 2U form factor you are looking for.  Again, I haven't personally worked on one yet, but in our experience Overland products are also well built.

    Also, SAS drives do indeed run a bit faster than their SCSI counterparts.  You will want to tweak the block size settings to get full performance.
    LVL 6

    Accepted Solution

    Background info: The Dell PowerVault 124T is a rebranded Quantum Superloader 3. As mentioned already, the TL2000 is a rebranded IBM TotalStorage library. This is important to my comment as I support both professionally.

    The PV124T is an entry-level autoloader, the TL2000 is more medium business oriented. Between the two, the TL2000 is easily the more robust product and personally I would say it's more reliable as well, but that is my own personal opinion. The PV124T can hold up to 16 tapes if you get both magazines, and a single drive. The TL2000 supports 24 tapes and up to 2 drives if you purchase half height drives. Both are decent products, which you choose should be a determination based on what you need.

    If you decide to go for the Superloader, I personally believe you would be better off purchasing the Dell PV124T if only for the warranty (extendable to 5 years) and their tech support. I don't have experience with Quantum support but I hold Dell enterprise technical support in high regard, for reasons that should, by now, be obvious. ;)

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