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LTO-3 and DAT make strides

Certance is first to announce LTO-3 drives and, together with HP, has extended the roadmap for Digital Audio Tape (DAT).

Certance is broadening its product line at both ends with new LTO-3 drives for the high end and Digital Audio Tape (DAT) at the low end.

With the newly baked LTO-3 spec up for grabs, Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Certance Inc. has wasted no time in getting its message out to users. Its product, however, will not be available until early October. Certance plans to offer three versions of its LTO-3 CL800 drive, which provides 800 GB of capacity and 136 MBps throughput. These configurations include an internal drive ($5,899), a desktop drive ($5,999) and a rack-mountable drive ($6,999), and are aimed at large companies. For smaller organizations, it has announced the LTO-2 Half Height drive, which offers 400 GB and 40 MBps. It comes in the same three configurations but for half the price.

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.

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