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Exabyte today announced the introduction of its second generation VXA tape drive. The VXA-2 is targeted at users who seek an alternative to DDS technology at similar pricing for drives and media, but who are looking for increased capacity and performance.
To protect the investment of users who have already chosen VXA technology and invested in VXA-1 media, the VXA-2 provides full read and write compatibility with VXA-1. Shipments of the VXA-2 to select channel and OEM customers began this month, and general availability to all customers is expected by September.
The VXA-2 drive can record 160 GB to a single cartridge at a data transfer rate of 12 MB/sec (at an average 2:1 data compression ratio), doubling the data rate and quadrupling the storage capacity of DDS-4. The VXA-2 drive is priced at an MSRP of $999 for an internal unit and will be available in versions with an Ultra2 Wide SCSI, IDE/ATAPI, or FireWire interface.
Exabyte has positioned the VXA-2 to replace DDS technology for users who are outgrowing the capacity and performance of DDS tape drives which, in DDS-4 form has a maximum capacity of 40GB (with compression). DDS manufacturers discontinued development of new products beyond the current generation (DDS-4), leaving the installed user base facing growing capacity and performance needs without a compatible solution priced below $1,000.
"Exabyte's VXA tape technology offers excellent value and great performance," said Robert Amatruda, Research Manager at IDC. "VXA is a compelling alternative to DDS tape technology with two generations selling below $1,000."
Commenting on the competitive pricing of the drives and tape cartridges, Tom Ward, President and CEO of Exabyte, stated: "Historically, users have looked to DDS for drives that deliver performance and reliability at the right price. And, they have always rejected the option to purchase more expensive tape drives. But VXA-2, just like DDS-4, is priced below $1,000, and VXA media pricing is also very affordable. VXA-2 is the only drive in the market with the ideal combination of value, performance and reliability to replace DDS."
Four cartridge capacities are available for VXA-2, giving users a range of options to match their storage needs. Compressed capacities of 40GB, 80GB, and 120GB are achieved with the same V6, V10, and V17 VXAtape brand cartridges available for use with the VXA-1 today. A new V23 cartridge for use only with the VXA-2 drive features a compressed capacity of 160GB, and is ideal for users who require very high capacity on a single cartridge. The MSRP for the V6 is $26.95, placing it in the same price range as DDS cartridges of similar capacity. VXAtape media pricing for all cartridge capacities maintains a price per gigabyte very close to $0.50 which, according to Exabyte, is well within the budget of DDS users.