Tape: Sony and Tandberg on schedule; Quantum slips

Posted on January 01, 1999

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Tape: Sony and Tandberg on schedule; Quantum slips

By Heidi Biggar

After much ado, second-generation midrange tape products are nearing production shipments. For example, Sony and Tandberg say they will begin volume shipments in March.

Up for Sony is AIT-2, a 50GB/6MBps 8mm tape drive. Library manufacturers are reporting increased interest in the AIT format. As evidence, ADIC this month announced a new AIT family of tape libraries, called Scalar AIT. The new libraries will support first-generation AIT drives, including 230-meter tapes, as well as AIT-2.

Meanwhile, Tandberg is readying its SLR100--the second product in its former multi-linear recording line--which boosts native capacity to 50GB and data rates to 5MBps (for details, see "Finding Your Way through the Tape Maze," October, pp. 16-24). On a separate note, Tandberg last month began manufacturing DLT4000 and DLT7000 drives under its own label, and will ship DLT autoloaders, libraries, and media later this quarter.

At the high end, Quantum has slipped slightly from its initial mid-1999 schedule for SuperDLT delivery. According to Jeff Hogan, senior marketing manager for Quantum`s advanced products group, volume shipments won`t happen until late this year, with beta units expected mid-year. Quantum demonstrated a 100GB/10MBps drive at Comdex in November. Quantum also hasn`t determined the initial capacity point for the new drive, which may be higher than the 100GB originally anticipated.

With little forewarning, Quantum last month reported that by mid-year it will offer a "DLT8000" drive based on existing digital linear recording technology. While the new drive is expected to provide a slightly higher capacity than current DLT7000 models, its primary purpose is to begin transitioning existing DLT technology into the PC server arena, making room for SuperDLT on the high end.

At least three generations of SuperDLT products are scheduled, all of which will be backward read compatible with DLT4000 and later products.

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