According to a Certance spokesman, there are a couple of important features that separate its LTO products from those offered by Hewlett Packard Co. and IBM, the other main suppliers in this market. The first is a feature called Media Shield, which monitors how many backups are safe to perform per cartridge. Certance said it guarantees up to 500 full backups per cartridge, while it claims HP and IBM support around 260. "We have found ways to minimize heat, dust and friction, which destroy the tape over time," the Certance spokesman said.
Other features include Smart Verify, which is a read-on-write feature and a dynamic power function that matches the speed of tape drive to the speed of the machine, thus conserving power when possible.
For the very low end of the market, Certance, in conjunction with HP, has extended the roadmap for DAT. There are apparently more than 6 million users of this technology worldwide. The extended product road map runs through 2010 and includes three future product generations beyond the current, fifth-generation product called DAT72.