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Quantum and SDLT Also Battle Entrenched LTO
Quantum has come out with its version of a "super tape" based on the SuperDLtape (SDLT) technology. According to Steve Berens, Quantum's senior director of product marketing and strategy, Sony's SAIT technology has offered a new entrant technology with no backward compatibility to anything, including its own abandoned 8mm AIT format. He also states that Sony delivers a drive that is oversized for the majority of the market.
"The SAIT drive, says Berens, is significantly out of form factor length, making it difficult to integrate into automation." Berens believes that customers are seeking a smart balance between capacity and speed, and that Quantum's SDLT 320 has achieved that. "Customers measure cost of storage on more than one metric, including acquisition cost, implementation cost, management cost, and just plain total cost of ownership," he states. Berens says that DLTtape has excelled in all these areas for over a decade and continues to focus on simplifying customers' data protection with value and performance offerings that are compatible and cost effective.
Yet according to industry analyst Bob Abraham, president of Freeman Reports, twice as many LTO drives as SDLT drives shipped in 2001 -- a year in which LTO was the only tape category to show revenue growth. As we all know, part of LTO's strength came from its well-publicized technology road map, so how do Sony and Quantum measure up to LTO?
While Sony's Woelbern agrees that a solid and sustainable roadmap is a key factor in market adoption, he also believes that users want to know that their tape storage investment is going to last and that the company providing them with storage solutions is stable and innovative. "Sony has a six-generation roadmap for SAIT that has been verified through internal testing, and Sony has proven its ability to execute according to its roadmap," he says.
Berens argues that DLTtape has shown to be the fastest growing technology in the super drive category and that SDLT has taken significant share in the category over the last year based on Bob Abraham's estimates. "In fact, says Berens, DLTtape is the only player now delivering Super drives with backward compatibility to the large installed base. Berens says that while LTO has shipped 1,000 petabytes of storage capacity, DLTtape has shipped 5 to 6 times that amount.
"Investing in technology has kept Quantum in a true leadership position in the market," says Berens. "We have consistently been delivering products on a faster cycle time than LTO. "Data protection is our core business, and we are extremely focused and committed to this market and believe that this will continue to bear fruit for customers and our business," he continues.