Benchmark rebrands product line

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Benchmark Storage Innovations Inc., is trying to make a name for itself.

The Boulder, Colo., company, which develops tape and storage solutions based on digital linear tape (DLT) technology, launched a new brand called "ValuSmart Tape."

Rebranding its DLT product family as the ValuSmart Tape family is a clear attempt to give Benchmark a distinctive brand in the marketplace, differentiating itself from other tape vendor making DLT products.

As part of the ValuSmart push, Benchmark announced OEM deliveries of its new ValuSmart Tape 80 half-high DLT tape drive.

The ValuSmart Tape 80 half-high drive features 80G Bytes compressed capacity and 6M Bytes/sec compressed transfer rate. The ValuSmart Tape 80 is read-compatible with the DLT1, DLT4000, and uses DLTtape IV media. Quantum's Super DLTtape will back read data written on the ValuSmart Tape 80.

"We wanted to give [our line]its own identity," said Steve Berens, vice president of marketing for Benchmark. So far the ValuSmart Tape family includes Benchmark's current DLT1 tape drive and the new ValuSmart Tape 80.

But name recognition is not the only goal of the new half-height drive. Berens said they have their eye on the digital data storage (DDS) space. Hewlett-Packard, Sony both announced the discontinuation of their respective DDS product lines, leaving users with task of finding a new tape format to migrate to when existing DDS products no longer meet their storage needs.

"We're targeting the DDS space. We're a natural progression from that space," Berens said.

With the price and capacity levels of the ValuSmart Tape 80, it carries a street price of $1499, Benchmark might be on track to grab a piece of the migrating DDS market. "In terms of capacity and performance it provides a complimentary fit where DDS leaves off," said Bob Amatruda, research director for IDC. "I also see it as a pretty extensible product."

Benchmark said the half-height design of the ValuSmart Tape 80 drive follows the trend in the industry toward smaller, higher capacity storage devices.

The ValuSmart Tape 80 will be available through Benchmark's OEM partners, website and channel sales in early summer. Evaluation units are being qualified by OEMs now.

Benchmark markets its products and services through multiple channels and strategic partners like Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

For more information:

Sony drops DDS, boosts AIT offering

Sony, HP halt future DDS products

Benchmark outgrows its name

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