ADIC: A Smaller Footprint

If you’re just talking market share, ADIC is no more than, say, Neptune to StorageTek’s Jupiter: ADIC generates about one-third the tape library revenue as the market leader, says analyst firm Freeman Reports. But ADIC earns gold stars from customers for the density of its libraries and its agnostic stance on tape drives.

For Terry Duncan, chief engineer for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Starfire Optical Range research group, a top priority was to fit as much storage on tape, which can be bulky, into as little space as possible. At Kirtland Air Force Base, his group sits in the Manzano Mountains near Albuquerque, N.M., where data center floor space is scarce.

“No one could give me 100 terabytes in as small a footprint as ADIC,” says Duncan. In 1998, he put in his first ADIC Scalar 1000 library, which packed 1,000 AIT-2 tapes into 16 square feet. He’s upgraded to newer Scalar 10K and i2000 models, which together provide about 500 terabytes of tape storage capacity.

Cummins, a maker of generators and engines, also found ADIC libraries the most space-efficient. Moreover, Cummins likes that ADIC has long supported drives from multiple vendors, including Linear Tape Open (LTO), a technology jointly backed by Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Certance. Compared with proprietary StorageTek tape drives, “LTO gave us a 4-to-1 advantage on price,” says Chuck Shaffer, a Cummins I.T. administrator. Acknowledg-ing that StorageTek drives are faster than Linear Tape Open, he says Cummins didn’t need the extra performance kick.

Microsoft researcher Tom Barclay swapped out a StorageTek library for a Scalar 1000 to back up TerraServer, an online database of aerial images, in part because the ADIC system was more modular in design. “The ADIC guys do a better job of packaging,” says Barclay.

Even when its products flame out, ADIC has delivered the goods. After pension fund giant TIAA-CREF’s New York financial planning group installed a Scalar 1000 last year, the unit died. ADIC’s technicians fixed it, but it failed again. “They gave me the option to replace it, but I wanted to make sure I gave them the opportunity to repair it,” says Richard Ortiz, director of finance systems. When the system failed again, TIAA-CREF received a new Scalar, which ADIC provided at its own expense. Ortiz says there have been no major problems since.

11431 Willows Road NE, Redmond, WA 98052
(425) 881-8004 /

Ticker: ADIC
Exchange: NASDAQ
Employees: 1,100

Peter H. Van Oppen
CEO, Chairman
Oversaw ADIC’s initial public offering when it was spun off in 1996 by Interpoint, a specialized electronics manufacturer. From 1985 to 1996, he held various positions with Interpoint, including president and CEO.

William C. Britts
Executive VP, Sales and Marketing
Joined the company in 1994 as director of marketing.

Jonathan Otis
Senior VP, Technology
Chief strategist for product development, with a focus on all hardware platforms.

Flagship Scalar tape libraries offer between 21 and 15,885 tape slots and up to 648 drives; FastStor autoloaders are single-drive systems. Software products include the StorNext File System and AMASS for Unix archival software.

Reference Checks

Chuck Shaffer
Systems Development
[email protected]
Project: Uses a Scalar 10K with 35 IBM LTO drives and 1,900 tape slots to back up some 238 terabytes of data each month.

Lockheed Martin I.T.
Jeremy Ochoa
Network Administrator
[email protected]
Project: For a U.S. Dept. of Energy facility, the I.T. contractor migrated from seven older StorageTek TimberWolf 9714s to two Scalar 1000s with SDLT 320 drives.

Air Force Research Laboratory’s Starfire Optical Range
Terry Duncan
Chief Engineer
[email protected]
Project: Research unit uses Scalar 10K with eight AIT and eight LTO drives and two Scalar i2000s with LTO drives to archive 500 gigabytes of astronomical images per day.

Denver International Airport
Gabriel Calderon
Associate Systems Administrator
[email protected]
Project: Uses 250-slot Scalar 1000 with AIT drives to run about 20 backup jobs daily.

Richard Ortiz
Director of Finance Systems
[email protected]
Project: Finance planning division replaced Quantum P2000 with a 150-slot Scalar 1000, mainly because ADIC offered “very aggressive” pricing.

Microsoft Research
Tom Barclay
[email protected]
Project: Backs up the 5-terabyte TerraServer database of aerial and topographic images to a Scalar 1000.

Executives listed here are all users of ADIC’S products. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.