Overland + Imation = VR2 + Travan
Late last month, Imation announced that it will integrate Overland Data?s VR2 (Variable Rate Randomizer) chips into next-generation Travan NS tape drives. At least two Travan licensees?Aiwa and Tecmar?also plan to use VR2 in tape drives that succeed Travan NS20. At the time of the announcement, Seagate had not yet announced plans to support the chip.
According to Overland and Imation officials, VR2 improves the native transfer rate and capacity of linear tape drives by 1.5x to 2x through the use of partial response maximum likelihood (PRML) channel encoding technology. Those officials refused to comment on specific capacity or transfer rate specs?or delivery schedule?for next-generation Travan NS drives.
Incorporating VR2 may spur shipments and an increase in market share for the Travan product segment. OIt?s a positive development for Travan tape technology,O says Bob Amatruda of International Data Corp. OThe development of the roadmap for Travan NS is clear with the VR2 enhancement; native capacity now has the capability to hit 30GB native.O
The Imation deal is the second licensing agreement for Overland?s VR2. Tandberg Data last year announced it will use VR2 in its line of SLR drives.
Sony first to ship DDS-4 drive
Amid speculation about the fate of 4mm DAT technology, Sony earlier this month began shipping its fourth-generation DDS drive. The new drive, which leverages the mechanics and many of the key components of second- and third-generation products, has a 20GB native capacity and a 2.4MBps throughput.
As for positioning, Sony is primarily targeting legacy users. Says Doug Stringer, DDS marketing manager at Sony, DDS-4 will Oinstill confidence in the installed base of DDS users.O
Sony plans on rolling out an LVD version this summer and a new line of 160GB (native) DDS autoloaders. DDS-4 drives will be priced at $1,495; autoloaders at $3,495.