Article

Benchmark, Quantum push for tape-drive standard

Kevin Komiega

In an effort to solidify Digital Linear Tape (DLTtape) as an industry standard tape format, Quantum Corp. says its upcoming Super DLTtape (SDLT) drive will read media written by Benchmark Corp.'s DLT1 tape drive.

The two companies said that this read compatibility will provide a bridge between DLT1 products and Super DLTtape family products, giving customers a continuous upgrade path from the desktop to the enterprise and further entrenching DLTtape as the industry standard tape format.

The race to see whose tape standard will win out is heating up. IBM introduced Wednesday its Linear Tape Open (LTO)Ultrium tape technology.

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LTO vs. DLT. LTO boasts a 100G Byte capacity per data cartridge and a 15M-Bits/sec transfer rate. IBM is banking on the interchangeable data cartridge as a selling point for LTO drives. LTO advocates, which have the backing of Hewlett-Packard and Seagate, are trying to knock DLTtape off the top of the mountain. While, LTO has the research and development backing, DLTtape has an installed base of more than 1.4 million drives, making it light years ahead of the game in terms of users.

"Compatibility is an important factor when a long-term storage solution is determined," said Fara Yale, a chief analyst with Computer Storage Service, GartnerGroup's Dataquest. "It can be crucial in the selection of one tape technology versus another."

"This compatibility will let customers use a single tape technology platform from entry to enterprise and providing them with investment protection," said Steve Berens, executive director of marketing for Benchmark. He added that by scaling the technology Benchmark and Quantum are looking to capture the low-end part of the market.

The Super DLTtape family will be offered in three ranges from the workgroup environment, the mid-range, and up to enterprise-class storage. According to Quantum, for workgroup and departmental servers, the Super DLTtape drive will deliver a capacity of 80G Bytes and a transfer rate of 8M-Bits/sec. The mid-range market, including large corporate departments and mid-size automated libraries, will see a drive with a capacity of 110G Bytes and transfer rate of 11M-Bits/sec. Quantum will also offer a Super DLTtape drive with a transfer rate of greater than 16 M-Bits/sec for those with enterprise storage needs.


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