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RDX Technology 10 Years Later - The Full Story

RDX Technology - 10 years The Full Story


RDX (Removable Disk Exchange) technology was first envisioned in 2004 by ProStor Systems Inc. to offer an alternative storage device to tape storage. The goal was to create an easy-to-use storage system which wouldn’t need special care and knowledge for non-professional IT-environments in Small to Medium Businesses (SMB), which need to transport business data for compliance and disaster recovery purposes, as well as for storage, backup and restore, archiving and data exchange.

The Early Days

In 2006, the first RDX drives and three disk-based media devices were introduced. Tandberg Data was the first licensee of RDX technology and introduced an internal drive with SATA I interface for integrating into desktop PCs and servers plus an external device with a USB 2.0 interface for tabletop operation.

The three RDX media capacity points included 40GB, 80GB and 120GB. All were required to pass several test scenarios including extremes of shock, vibration and climate as well as other challenging environments such as electrostatic discharge events (ESD). However, the most notable test was the ability to survive 800 drops from the height of one meter to a concrete floor. This ensured the highest reliability and durability needed for a business grade solution and provided the foundation for the RDX standard.

RDX Gains Attention

In 2006, system integrators and OEMs started recognizing the benefits of this innovative storage device and its market opportunities, especially in the SMB environment. Dell was the first OEM partner, followed by HP, IBM and Fujitsu. During the next couple of years, NEC, Hitachi, Maxell, Lenovo, Imation and Toshiba signed OEM agreements. In 2010 Quantum preferred RDX over their own removable disk product GoVault.

Going Further

Over the next decade numerous RDX product developments and enhancements were introduced to the market. The 160GB media capacity point was introduced in 2007, increased capacities were introduced every year with the latest addition of 4TB in 2016 - more than 100x the capacity of the 40GB media which was available in 2006. Throughout its lifetime RDX products have maintained full forward and backward compatibility to all RDX drives and media generations. RDX drive interfaces were kept up to date as well. Internal models were enhanced to SATA III and USB 3.0. In 2011, external drives were equipped with USB 3.0 followed by the next stage in 2014 – a full USB3.0 bus powered RDX drive with our USB3+ interface was introduced to optimize ease of use.

The Next Level of Innovation: RDX QuikStation

From the early days of RDX, the engineers conceptualized a device for larger IT-environments to replace the tape autoloader market, especially while virtualization was becoming adopted. The QuikStation, a 2U rack mountable removable disk appliance with eight drives was born. It provides capacity points and media similar to an autoloader, overcomes all Direct Attached Storage (DAS) disadvantages and over network connectivity for RDX.

In 2010 Tandberg Data launched the first RDX QuikStation which was immediately labeled the Swiss army knife of data protection. Connected via iSCSI, the RDX QuikStation became the perfect device for physical and especially virtual multi-server environments. It provided various operational modes including LTO tape, autoloader and tape library emulations which enabled customers to replace obsolete technologies like DAT, DLT or aging LTO installations.

In 2014, Tandberg Data launched a new generation, the QuikStation a 1U removable disk appliance with four drives. Logical volume capabilities gave it the nickname “the Big RDX and all four drives could be consolidated to one RDX drive - overcoming capacity limitations. Two years later, QuikStation 8, which was based on QuikStation 4, was introduced and fault tolerance capabilities and the 10GbE interface were introduced to ensure full data availability and high performance.

Increasing Application Awareness

To cover a broader area of applications, additional RDX features were introduced. For compliance archiving, RDX WORM (Write Once Read Many) media was launched in 2013 allowing seamless integration of RDX into document management systems and similar applications. With an archival life of ten years, RDX is an ideal device for long term data retention.

In the area of data transportation, the RDX Cartridge Encryption (RCE) software ensures data security during transit and archiving. Data is protected and cannot be accessed without the appropriate 256-bit decryption key.

Over time, the built-in backup application of Windows operating systems eliminated support for removable media. Users needed to switch to local disk or implement third party software. With the introduction of the fixed disk mode for USB 3.0 drives, this problem was solved. Users could continue to use the Windows built-in backup utility and protect their servers and critical data with RDX. They also benefitted from media rotation to meet emerging compliance requirements.

For high performance industries, such as media and entertainment, with large dataset backup requirements, Tandberg Data launched SSD based RDX media in 2013.

Continuous Sales Success

The number of RDX units sold reached one million in 2011 for media and dramatically increased to two million units just two years later. Currently, more than four million devices have been shipped so far. The capacity of RDX media shipped exceeds 1.5 Exabytes.

The Future of RDX

The current RDX portfolio consists of internal drives with SATA III and USB 3.0 interfaces and 3.5“ and 5.25“ bezels plus an external drive with the USB3+ interface. Media are available from 500GB to 4TB with HDD and 128GB and 256GB with SSD technology. The QuikStation 4 and QuikStation 8 complete the RDX product portfolio.

The evolution of RDX will continue as we support increasing capacities, new standards and market opportunities.

For more information or a quote contact your BackupWorks.com Account rep today at 866 801 2944


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