Benchmark debuts DLT autoloader

A new DLT autoloader offers 640G Bytes of compressed capacity and a 6 MB/second compressed transfer rate for less than $5000.

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Benchmark Storage Innovations Inc., Boulder, Colo., is working its way into high-density rack space with a new DLT autoloader, the ValuSmart Tape 640 Blade -- a 2-Unit (3.34 inches) high DLT autoloader, which uses Benchmark's ValuSmart Tape 80 half-high DLT tape drive.

The ValuSmart Tape 640 Blade, which looks like a big VCR, offers 640G Bytes of compressed capacity and a 6 MB/second compressed transfer rate for less than $5000.

Benchmark is positioning its new autoloader for backing up storage servers or workstations on a single tape cartridge housed in the server itself.

According to Benchmark, the DLT ValuSmart Tape 80 offers organizations a migration path because it is read-compatible with the DLT1, DLT4000, and utilizes DLTtape IV media.

Steve Berens, Benchmark's director of marketing, said the 640 is new, but that it leverages a lot of existing concepts.

Berens said one of the goals of the new autoloader is to win-over customers that are hesitant to move into automation technology. "We're trying to take away the intimidation factor for people that aren't comfortable with autoloaders," he said. "The software takes care of everything except tape import/outport through the mail slot. It looks like a big, fat drive."

"The trend toward flexible, modular server offerings is optimized by rack-mountable storage solutions," said Bob Abraham, president, Freeman Reports, Ojai, Calif.

According to Abraham's research, which analyzes the markets for compact tape drives and autoloaders, DLT autoloader shipments will grow steadily to 71,700 in 2006. This market activity, said Abraham, is enabled by the suitability of DLT technology to high capacity and high performance backup environments.

Freeman Reports said the installed base of DLT autoloaders will grow from 144,000 units in 2000 to 298,000 in 2006. OEM-level revenue will increase from $237 million in 2000 to $308 million in 2006, a 4% growth rate.

ADIC leads the market in DLT autoloader revenue with a 52% market share, followed by Hewlett-Packard with 38%, and Quantum|ATL with 7%.

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

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