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Sony tape drive could subtly shift storage strategies

Almost everyone relies on tape for some portion of their storage. How tape is deployed and used may change subtly later this year when Sony starts shipping its S-AIT (Super-AIT) drives to its OEM partners. According to a Sony spokesperson, Qualstar, Spectra Logic, and ADIC (which plans to integrate the technology into its networked storage products) are some of the library manufacturers who intend to support the integration of S-AIT drives and media into half-inch tape automation solutions. The new tape-based data storage technology will enable up to 500G Bytes of native capacity to be stored on a single-reel, half-inch tape cartridge.

"As disk capacities continue to grow with the explosion of digital content and mission-critical data warehouses, the tape storage segment has a bigger opportunity to close the gap between disk and tape roadmaps," said Fara Yale, an analyst with Gartner Dataquest. "For a tape product to be successful, capacity, performance and automation support are key," added Yale.

The S-AIT drive will take advantage of Sony's familiar AIT architecture in a 5.25-inch extended drive form-factor. It is expected to deliver the industry's highest capacity tape drive, featuring a sustained native transfer rate of up to 30M Bytes per second -- uncompressed.

Based on helical-scan recording technology, Sony says the S-AIT technology platform has the potential to scale to up to 4T Bytes of uncompressed capacity in a single cartridge.

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"As digital content continues to expand unabated and needs to be stored and managed, the S-AIT format offers a compelling combination of capacity and performance for the automation market," said Bob Abraham, President of Freeman Reports.

The first generation S-AIT drives incorporated into automation solutions will provide uncompressed capacities ranging from 4T Bytes in a 2U rack-mountable configuration to more than 500T Bytes in a 1,000 cartridge freestanding library.

For more information:

Featured Topic: Solving the backup dilemma

Jon William Toigo will be giving a talk on Disk mirroring vs. tape: Cost-effective strategies for data protection at the free Storage Decisions 2002 conference. Learn more here.

Sony debuts tape systems for HSM


  • Alan Earls often writes about things NAS and SAN in his weekly "SAN/NAS Update: Trends" column. View the latest
  • About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, MA.


    This was first published in July 2002

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