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5 COMPUTER: Global Value-Added Distribution
of NEW, used and refurbished computer
periphery by a family-owned and operated
company since 1979- distributing internationally
computer related peripherals on the new,
used and refurbished levels. HP,
and other major branded products as well
as a MAJOR focus on Mass Storage related
drives, media, storage
barcode labels, libraries, autoloaders,
NAS and software
holy wars between linear- and helical-scan
tape technologies were reduced to mild skirmishes.
Vendors such as Exabyte Corp. and Tandberg
Data just weren't able to market a drive
technology that offered a feature set comparable
with DLT at a similar price point. Under
the radar of many IT administrators, recent
tape technologies have loosened DLT's grip.
Although DLT continues to be an excellent
option for tape backup, we urge IT admins
interested in storage backup to look at
what else the tape market has to offer.
Whether as a solution for the workgroup
or an enterprise backup automation rollout,
a number of viable drive technology options
need to be considered. Although high-end
mainframe-class backup solutions are available
on the market, we focus our attention on
technologies appropriate for workgroups,
departments and medium- to-large enterprises.
Tape technology is broken into two major
categories: helical tape and linear tape.
The former touts higher density and performance,
while the latter promises increased reliability.
The main difference between the two is that
a helical-scan drive pulls the tape out
of the cartridge and, using a series of
tensioners, wraps the tape around a rotating
drum that contains the heads. Linear scan
uses stationary heads and a less complex
tape-threading method. The stationary heads
of the linear tape technology are what theoretically
give linear-tape drives superior reliability.
other difference is the way data is written
to the tape. Linear scan writes data from
front to back in a serpentine method. That
is, when the head reaches the end of the
tape, it drops down a row and switches direction.
Helical scan writes data diagonally across
the entire tape--simultaneously using multiple
heads. Concerns about the tape stretching
or snapping due to drum rotation speeds
upward of 7,000 rpm and high tension conditions
have been quelled by the success and reliability
of solutions such as the Sony AIT-2 drive.
Aided by DLT, linear-scan drives have been
winning the race with proven market success.
seems fitting that we first examine what
is known as the "king of the tape market,"
the DLT. As the name implies, the DLT is
a linear- tape technology. The new DLT 8000
supersedes the popular DLT 7000 and the
aging DLT 4000. Although the DLT 8000 is
a new drive, it features only modest improvements
over the DLT 7000. With a native capacity
of 40 GB, up from 35 GB, and a native transfer
rate of 6 MBps, up from 5 MBps, the DLT
8000 isn't exactly breaking new ground.
Those numbers double, however, when we take
into consideration the theoretical 2:1 hardware
compression ratio performed by the drive.
doesn't tell the whole story. The DLT 8000
was designed for heavy use in the enterprise
to back up mission-critical data automatically.
With such importance put on data integrity,
Quantum Corp. has beefed up the DLT 8000's
reliability. With an increased MTBF (mean
time between failure) of 250,000 hours,
up from 200,000, and nearly double the head
life at 50,000 hours, up from 30,000, DLT
is poised to maintain its market position.
These numbers are based on a 100 percent
duty cycle, whereas some drives base their
stats on as little as 10 percent duty cycles.
advantage of the DLT 8000 is its backward
compatibility with previous-generation DLT
drives. Because those who already have archives
of DLT tapes may be reluctant to migrate
from DLT, the DLT 8000 offers an excellent
path to upgrade from DLT 4000 or to add
a new tape library. The DLT 8000 has an
expectable price point for an enterprise-class
drive; a bare drive costs around $5,000.
to dethrone the DLT in the enterprise, Exabyte
has significantly revised the Mammoth drive,
dubbing it the Mammoth-2. In a case of "too
little, too late," the original Mammoth
offered reliability but fell short on price
and performance. With the new Mammoth-2
drive, Exabyte has delivered a very capable
enterprise-class tape drive. Exabyte is
also positioning the Mammoth-2 for the backup-automation
market. Exabyte has its work cut out, however,
with the Mammoth-2. Unlike DLT, the Mammoth-2
uses helical-scan technology, which remains
an unproven technology in the enterprise
arena, though AIT-2 is helping to change
that. Moreover, administrators are gradually
rebuilding their confidence in Exabyte.
the numbers for the Mammoth-2 are impressive.
With a native capacity of 60 GB, up to 150
GB compressed, and a native transfer rate
of 12 MBps, up to 30 MBps compressed, the
Mammoth-2 offers almost twice the performance
and capacity of the DLT 8000. Exabyte claims
an MTBF of more than 300,000 hours. Also,
the Mammoth-2 offers a head life of 50,000
hours at 100 percent duty cycle.
those who have worked with helical-scan
drives know, keeping the heads cleaned is
crucial. Exabyte has cleverly addressed
this issue with its new SmartClean cartridges.
With a small portion of tape cleaner on
every cartridge, the drive can clean its
heads without user intervention.
an attempt to remain competitive, Exabyte
has kept the price of Mammoth-2 drives down
relative to the DLT 8000 drives. It's possible
to find single drives for less than $4,000.
(Linear Tape Open) drives have just begun
to hit the market. LTO is a new technology
jointly developed by Hewlett-Packard Co.,
IBM Corp. and Seagate Technology, which
tried to develop an "open" standard
for tape formats. LTO, based on linear tape
technology, strives to combine the latest
in ECC (error-correcting code) data distribution,
data compression and head technology to
form a standard that will be the foundation
of future tape drives. LTO comprises two
separate standards, the Accelis and Ultrium.
The former focuses on fast data access;
the latter, on higher capacity. When this
was written, there was still little known
about the actual capacity and performance
specifications of LTO.
Seagate is releasing the Viper 200, which
is based on the Ultrium format of LTO. The
performance and capacity of the new Ultrium
drive look extremely promising. The Viper
features a native capacity of 100 GB, 200
GB compressed, and a native sustained transfer
rate of 16 MBps, or 32 MBps compressed.
These numbers far exceed anything the market
has previously offered. Accelis-based drives
are expected to debut with 25 GB of native
capacity with native transfers rates around
20 MBps. Prices for Ultrium or Accelis drives
have not yet been determined.
which has been a driving force in the DLT
market, has taken up arms against the LTO
threat with its new Super DLTtape technology.
Leveraging its already successful line of
DLT drives, Quantum is also integrating
a new LGMR (laser-guided magnetic recording)
technology. This LGMR will use a combination
of optical- and magnetic-head technologies
to produce better performance, higher capacity
and more resilient drives than those previously
seen in Quantum's DLT drives.
little as is known about LTO, even less
is known about Super DLTtape. Quantum plans
to release the Super DLTtape with a native
capacity starting at 100 GB and transfer
rates of 10 MBps to 40 MBps. These initial
statistics would position the Super DLTtape
favorably against LTO. Prices for Super
DLTtape drives have not been announced.
its original AIT (Advanced Intelligent Tape)
drive, Sony has released the next incarnation,
called AIT-2. Like the Mammoth-2 and DAT
(digital audio tape) drives, AIT uses a
helical-scan technology to read and write
to tape. Sony originally positioned the
AIT-2 in the midrange tape market; according
to the Gartner Group, however, AIT has become
one of the more popular alternatives to
DLT. Originally found predominately as standalone
drives, AIT drives are increasingly used
in tape automation. In fact, Sony has done
such a solid job with its AIT technology,
it has rolled out some of the highest-capacity
tape silo installations in the industry.
tape drives are known for their unique MIC
(Memory in Cassette) feature, which acts
as a data index. By using MIC, Sony has
been able to reduce load times. The new
AIT-2 drive features 50 GB of native capacity,
100 GB compressed, with a native transfer
rate of 6 MBps, equaling that of the DLT
8000 drive. One detail of the AIT-2 drive
to note: It wasn't designed for extensive
backup thrashing. The MTBF on the AIT-2
is rated at 300,000 hours but is calculated
based on a 60 percent duty cycle. However,
the reliability of AIT has been stellar,
making the duty cycle a moot issue. Those
looking at DLT automation solutions should
also be examining AIT-2 as a worthy alternative.
the high capacity and high speed comes a
higher price. AIT-2 drives sell for around
Tape Systems' DLT1 drive may be the most
promising entry in the departmental space.
Benchmark has remained relatively quiet
in the market; instead of pioneering its
own tape technology from the ground up,
it went with what people already know--Quantum
DLT. Benchmark's idea was to license DLT
and improve upon it. Benchmark is capitalizing
on an excellent opportunity as Quantum has
all but neglected the midrange market, offering
only its aging DLT 4000. The DLT1 drive
is basically a next-generation DLT 4000.
makes the DLT1 so promising? Aside from
the ease of market adoption because of the
DLT family connection, the DLT1 offers an
excellent mix of capacity, performance,
compatibility and price. With 40 GB native
capacity, 80 GB compressed, the DLT1 drive
matches the upscale DLT 8000 drive. With
a 3-MBps native transfer rate, 6 MBps compressed,
DLT1 has a respectable raw throughput rate.
Those who want to swap out older DLT 4000
tape libraries but who have a heap of archive
cartridges will be glad that DLT1 is backward
compatible with DLT 4000 cartridges.
and Exabyte are in similar boats: Tandberg
has an excellent product, but its past offerings
haven't stood out. Tandberg has taken a
step in the right direction with its SLR100
drive. Based on the previous-generation
MLRs, which have since been rebadged with
the SLR nomenclature, the SLR100 uses the
linear recording technology. Like the Mammoth-2,
the SLR100 has made significant advancements
over its counterparts.
of the keys to the SLR100's newfound performance
and capacity is the inclusion of Overland
Data's VR2 technology. The VR2 technology
lets data written to the tape be coded more
efficiently, resulting in additional capacity
and performance. The VR2 logic is performed
via an onboard processor. This VR2 logic,
coupled with an updated compression scheme
and revised heads, gives the SLR100 up to
100 GB of compressed data capacity. More
important, however, is the 50 GB of native
capacity with a native transfer rate of
5 MBps, which pits the SLR100 head to head
with the DLT 7000 drives.
you're adverse to buying a DLT solution
or want increased savings over the Mammoth-2,
the SLR100 may be the ticket. At a retail
price of $1,999, this drive offers an excellent
the newest and least known player in the
market is Ecrix Corp. A proprietary drive
designed from the ground up, Ecrix's VXA-1
drive is touted as being one of the most
reliable drives. Ecrix substantiates this
claim by pointing to VXA-1's advanced form
of parity striping, which it calls DPF (Discrete
Packet Format). DPF, along with CRC (cyclic
redundancy check) and ECC memory, optimizes
data integrity on the tapes. The DPF technology
looks promising, but only time will tell
if it lives up to Ecrix's claims.
the performance and capacity front, the
VXA-1 fares very well on paper. With 33
GB of native data capacity and a 3-MBps
native transfer rate, the VXA-1 should hold
its own. At a list price of $899, the VXA-1
could possibly be the best deal on the market--if
it performs as well as it's supposed to.
However, because VXA-1 isn't track-proven,
Ecrix is going to have to work some marketing
magic to get the ball rolling.
has begun to create some ripples in both
the consumer and workgroup markets with
its most recent drive offering, the ADR50.
The ADR50 is positioned to challenge in
the small-workgroup to midrange markets.
ADR50s are beginning to show up on everything
from NAS (network-attached storage) servers
to the smallest workgroup servers. The drive
is based on OnStream's own ADR (Advanced
Digital Recording) technology. This can
most accurately be defined as a hybrid between
helical and linear tape. Similar to linear
write, ADR doesn't require tapes to be removed
and rewound around a drum to write tracks.
Like helical scan, ADR can write multiple
tracks simultaneously--eight to be precise.
a native capacity of 25 GB and up to 2 MBps
native transfer rates, the ADR50 is certainly
no barn burner, but we are impressed by
the ADR50's features. OnStream has enabled
the ADR50 drive to continually vary tape
speeds to eliminate back hitching, thus
reducing wear and tear. Also, the way the
eight heads distribute the ECC data across
the tape makes it possible to lose an entire
track without losing any data. The ADR may
prove to be more resilient than helical-scan
drives. For the administrator looking to
add a single drive backup solution to his
or her server, the ADR50 is worth considering.
One of the amazing features of this drive
is the low price. A bare ADR50 SCSI drive
sells for $699.
in its fourth generation, DAT DDS (digital
data storage) tape drives have become a
popular choice for the low-end market. Offering
a good mix of performance, capacity and
price, the relatively new DDS-4 continues
to find success in the workgroup market.
The compact form factor of both the drive
and the media is a boon for the DDS technology
and has made the drives popular among small
DDS-4 is based on helical-scan technology.
Now offering a native capacity of 20 GB,
up from 12 GB, with a native sustained transfer
rate of 2.4 MBps, up from 1.2 MBps, the
DDS-4 drives offer a significant increase
in performance and capacity. However, the
DDS-4 keeps its roots planted in the workgroup
environment, where backups are occasional
and backup windows are small. The DDS-4
drive has an MTBF of 250,000 hours at a
40 percent duty cycle.
price is one of the biggest considerations
in the workgroup environment, costs have
been kept relatively low. A bare DDS-4 drive
will run you about $1,000, which isn't bad
given the drives' backward-compatible functionality
and inexpensive media.
Buy a tape drive, tape library, tape autoloader
of data storage drives, tape libraries, storage media
and archival solutions.
9 TO 5 COMPUTER: Global Value-Added Distribution
of new, used and refurbished computer periphery by a
family-owned and operated company since 1979- distributing
internationally computer related peripherals on the
new, used and refurbished levels. HP, COMPAQ, IBM, CISCO,
3COM, SUN, APPLE, SEAGATE, and other major branded products
as well as a MAJOR focus on Mass Storage related drives,
media, storage racks, tri-optic barcode labels, libraries,
autoloaders, duplicators, jukeboxes, HBA's, JBOD, Raid,
SAN, NAS and software solutions.
media manufacturers like:
BASF, Canon, DEC, Dysan, Ecrix, Emtec, Exabyte, Fuji,
Fujitsu, Graham, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Imation, Iomega,
Kodak, Maxell, Maxoptix, Onstream, LMSI, Panasonic,
PinnacleMicro, Phillips, Pioneer, Plasmon, Ricoh, Sony,
Syquest, TDK, and Verbatim
Buy a tape drive, tape library, tape autoloader
9 to 5 provides cutting
edge technologies from drive giants like:
ADIC, Archive, ATL, Benchmark, BreeceHill, Colorado,
Compaq, DEC, Ecrix, Exabyte, EZQuest, Fujitsu, Hewlett
Packard, IBM, Iomega, Irwin, Kodak, Lacie, LMSI, M4
Data, Maynard Maxtor, Maxoptix, Micronet, Mitsubishi,
Mountain, OnStream, Olympus, Overland Data, Panasonic,
Philips, Pinnacle Micro, Plextor, Quantum, Ricoh, Rimage,
Seagate, Smart and Friendly, Sony, Spectralogic, StorageTek,
Straightline, Sun, Tandberg, Teac, Tecmar, WangDat,
Wangtek, Western Digital, Xcerta, Yamaha
Buy a tape drive, tape library, tape autoloader
Including all major
storage platforms such as:
DLT, AIT, LTO, SUPER DLT, Mammoth, Optical, 4MM, 8MM,
Magstar, Travan, ¼", ½", Reel-to-reel, 3480, 3490, 3570,
3590, 9840, 9940, JAZ, ZIP, CDR-RW, DVD-R/RAM
And support peripherals, host adaptors, controllers,
bridges, routers and enclosures from the leaders in
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Adaptec, ATTO, CI DESIGN, Emulex, GadZoox, Initio, JMR,
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Buy a tape drive, tape library, tape autoloader
Since 1991, 9 TO 5 COMPUTER
has been providing such top tier products to corporate
data centers, government , VAR's, resellers, OEM's,
and wholesalers throughout the entire global marketplace.
Whether you need a Quantum DLT tape drive, tape library,
disaster recovery solution, storage media, storage racks,
drive repair, backup software or professional consultation
regarding your storage solution needs, contact one of
our tech sales guys today!!!!