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Tandberg and Imation deliver SLR60 tape drive and data cartridge

Tandberg Data, Inc. of Oslo Norway, and Imation Corp., of Oakdale, Minn. recently announced a new addition to the Scalable Linear Recording (SLR) product group: the SLR60 tape drive and data cartridge.

Tandberg's SLR60 drive, coupled with Imation's data cartridge, touts a faster data transfer rate and higher native storage capacity than its direct competition, Compaq Computer Corp.'s DDS-4 automated tape drive. Both devices are competing for the workgroup to departmental server environment market.

According to Fara Yale, chief analyst for computer storage services for Dataquest, an IT market research and consulting firm in San Jose, Calif., the SLR60 gives the customer more for their IT dollars. "It stacks up pretty well against the DDS-4. The 30G bytes cartridge capacity [60G bytes compressed] and 4M bytes per second transfer rate puts it ahead of the competing devices," she said. "There are three different transfer rates per vendor and the DDS-4 family's highest rate is 3M bytes per second. It's a good price for what you get." The SLR60 is shipping at a price of $1149 (MSRP) and will be available at the end of May.

"What [Tandberg] is trying to do is sell [the SLR60] everywhere the DDS4 is sold," said Yale.

According to Tandberg the SLR60 tape drives and cartridges provide an automated data backup, file transfer and archiving solution for network environments. "Our Primary competition is the DDS-4," said Zophar Sante, product marketing manager at Tandberg. "[The SLR60] is 25% faster, so we have a pretty good edge on the transfer rate," he said. "The only way to really compare technology is to look at native capacity, and the Imation cartridge has a 30M bytes native capacity (which is33% more capacity than DDS-4)," said Sante.

The market for the SLR60, said Sante, is the small business, departmental server environment. "It's a pretty small device and will do well in ISP's that need a lot of rack space. The Linux camp we tend to do well in, because they're very conscious about spending," he said.

As with previous generation SLR tape drives, the SLR60 features a 5.25-inch half-height form factor. SLR60 tape drives are also being integrated into Tandberg's existing and future tape automation products.

According to Tandberg, the drives are optimized for automated environments. Imation SLR60 data cartridges are based upon metal particulate media technology and feature advanced servo-written patterns, which help provide high performance and capacity.

The SLR60 has the ability to monitor the buffering system. "It takes a look at how well the data is coming into the cache. We created a 4M bytes transfer rate, but if it sees that the cache isn't handling the data stream well it will automatically lower the rate to 3M bytes per second," Sante said.

Komiega is's assistant news editor.

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