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Sony drops DDS, boosts AIT offering

Sony Electronics announced it will discontinue its DDS product line and is instead trumpeting a new set of Advanced Intelligent Tape (AIT) solutions as a migration path for customers seeking to transition from the DDS tape format.

The company said that after DDS format's ten-year run, a new member of the DDS line, offering substantial improvements in both capacity and performance beyond DDS-4, is not practical given the realities of time-to-market and technology investment constraints.

Sony's tape operation, based in San Jose, Calif., is marking the end of its DDS line-up with the DDS-4 format. At the same time, Sony maintains it is committed to fulfilling current DDS customer needs for the foreseeable future.

While Sony's AIT-1 drive, its entry-point to AIT, has a capacity of 35G Bytes and a data transfer rate of up to 4M Bytes/sec., the company plans to offer up to 100G Bytes per cartridge with AIT-3 starting in the third quarter of 2001, all the way to 800G Bytes per cartridge before the end of the decade.

According to Sony, in order to support the transition from DDS to AIT, Sony-branded AIT drives are shipping with a full version of NovaStor Corp.'s TapeCopy software, the only solution currently available for upgrading existing DDS back-up tapes to the AIT drive format. With TapeCopy software, DDS users can easily move their data to the premier AIT drive format without investing significant amounts of time or money.

In addition, Sony's trade-in program can be used to upgrade older functioning DDS drives for new Sony AIT drives and autoloaders. Sony has been shipping its enhanced AIT-1 drives since January and currently offers both OEM and branded solutions starting at a list price of $1,395.

AIT-3 incorporates Sony's Memory-in-Cassette (MIC) drive interface system featuring non-contact, "smart-card" technology and is read and write backward compatible with AIT-1 and AIT-2 media.

Sony's push into AIT has begun with the debut of an entry-level AIT library, called the Sony AIT Library 152 system. The library's storage capacity reaches up to 1.4T Bytes with data transfer rates of up to 74.9G Bytes/hour.

It houses one AIT-1 drive and one removable magazine with 15 slots for entry-level automation backup environments and comes bundled with software that provides remote management capabilities. The 152 System is available now for $5,999.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

For more information:

SearchStorage Best Storage Web links: Tape Drives Definition: Digital Data Storage (DDS)

Overview of NovaStor Corp.'s TapeCopy software

Dig Deeper on Tape backup and tape libraries

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