Exabyte sets sights on Mammoth-2
With its Comdex announcement of a second-generation Mammoth tape drive, Exabyte hopes to check its recent downward spiral. With a 12MBps native transfer rate, the drive`s speed is perhaps its greatest attribute, significantly outperforming competing midrange products such as Sony`s AIT-2 and Quantum`s DLT8000. Product shipments are expected this month.
"The drive`s performance and capacity will help Exabyte immensely," says Bob Amatruda, a senior analyst at Interna-tional Data Corp., a research firm in Framingham, MA. "And its pricing is competitive. The looming problem [for Exabyte] is Super DLT and LTO--both of which are being designed for cost reduction," says Amatruda.
In 1998, 8mm tape technologies accounted for just 5% of total tape revenues, versus 24% for DLT, while 8mm unit shipments dropped 19 percent, according to Dataquest, a market research firm in San Jose, CA. In the 8mm race, Mammoth continues to lose ground to AIT, which has benefited from renewed marketing efforts.
Success will largely depend on support from library vendors. "We`re looking to get into that business," says Brandon Hoff, Exabyte`s senior manager for OEM marketing. However, Exabyte faces an uphill battle. Other than some initial support from Spectra Logic, Exabyte was the only vendor to offer libraries for Mammoth-1. Mammoth-2 will be integrated into the company`s full automation line, including the EZ17, 220, X80, and X200 Arrowhead libraries.
Mammoth-2 is the second of three scheduled drive releases; however, the drive`s architecture can reportedly scale five or six generations with minimal changes, while retaining backward read compatibility with previous models. Mammoth-2, for example, required two modifications for improved performance: a power-on-rotor and read-while-write recording.
Other drive features include ALDC 2.5:1 compression, an adaptive data buffer for continuous data flow, SmartClean tape technology for improved durability, and TapeAlert device monitoring.
Three cartridge capacities are available: 225m for 60GB of native capacity, 150m for 40GB, and 75m for 20GB. The drive lists for $4,100 and is currently available with a SCSI LVD interface. A Fibre Channel interface is expected in January.