Pundits who say that tape is dying might want to mention that to tape vendors, who continue to put out products...
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at dizzying speeds.
In line with phase one of its SuperDLT road map, Quantum is now shipping the SDLT 320, which with 160GB of native capacity and a 16MB/s native transfer rate, easily eclipses the LTO-1 and AIT-3 competition (100MB capacity, 12MB/s transfer rate).
Lower-end DLT tape also got a boost, with the introduction of the ValuSmart Tape 160 by tape drive OEM Benchmark Storage Innovations. The ValuSmart line, which now features Magneto-Resistive heads and 80GB of native capacity, is popular in lower-end configurations, thanks to its half-height design, says Steve Berens, Benchmark vice president of marketing. Most drives in the midrange segment are full-height, "but most servers won't even accept anything other than half-height nowadays," he says, relegating them to tape library environments.
Sensing a new market opportunity, Sony is repositioning its high-end DTF-2 tape format, a reel-to-reel tape usually used for applications such as digital video capture, for enterprise use. DTF-2 drives are now the basis of a new library, switch and software bundle called PetaApp that delivers 2TB/hr backup rates.
Exabyte, meanwhile, has stepped into the void being left in the sub-$1000 drive market by DDS, which manufacturers HP, Sony, and Seagate have slated for end-of-life. Exabyte's is targeting the waning DDS market with its new VXA-2 drive, which features 80MB native capacity and a 6MB/s transfer rate. Exabyte manufactures a line of autoloaders based on the VXA-2, and has OEM relationships with Compaq, Apple, and Toshiba.
Even lowly 9-track tape, which major vendors like Emtech, E-mag, and Imation have all left for dead, is being resuscitated. This spring, computer supply distributor Media Mastr CPI began manufacturing NineTrax, a 9-track 6250 BPI reel-to-reel tape.
"The big guys, they need a multi-million dollar market, but we don't," says Bob Klar, Media Mastr president. "We feel there are still enough customers out there to justify going into the tape manufacturing business."