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Sony adds to Super AIT PetaSite libraries

Sony is set to beef up its tape library products with its high-capacity Super AIT (SAIT) tape drive technology.

As the race to make tape bigger, faster and cheaper continues, Sony has taken a slight lead when it comes to capacity. The San Jose, Calif., company is set to beef up its tape library products with its high-capacity Super AIT (SAIT) tape drive technology.

Sony announced it will offer a series of PetaSite tape library systems based on its SAIT technology. According to the company, the SAIT PetaSite libraries are designed for content management, data backup and enterprise data storage applications.

The libraries top out at 250 terabytes (TB) of native capacity per square meter of floor space and a total native capacity of up to 1.2 petabytes (PB).

A basic SAIT PetaSite system will contain two SAIT-1 drives, an Ethernet hub, a terminal server, and a PetaSite control unit in a 19-inch rack unit, Sony said.

Sony spokesman Tom Yuhas, director of data systems solutions, said the SAIT PetaSite libraries will be available with SCSI and Fibre Channel interconnects.

"We see these libraries growing … with the SAIT product line," Yuhas said.

Sony has a SAIT road map that extends to SAIT-4, with 4 TB native capacity per cartridge. He added that the SAIT PetaSite libraries will begin shipping this June.

Sony began shipping its SAIT drives to OEM partners in February. SAIT technology can store up to 500 GB of data and 1.3 TB of compressed data on a single half-inch tape cartridge.

Sony said it has staked its claim as having the industry's highest-capacity tape drive and the first available product to break the 1 TB capacity barrier. The company also said the drive features a sustained transfer rate of up to 30 Mbps for data recording and recovery.

International Data Corp. research analyst Robert Amatruda said that, despite SAIT being new on the tape scene, Sony has many prospects in its AIT customer base.

"Sony, with SAIT, leverages a lot of customer awareness around AIT. It's very hard to talk about customer demand when it's just started [shipping], but there's been a lot of positive awareness around AIT," Amatruda said.

Amatruda said Sony's challenge lies in its ability to drum up business in vertical markets such as the broadcast industry and oil and gas.

Sony expects that its OEM partners and Sony's internal business units will offer automated SAIT-1 systems for sale beginning this spring, and tape library manufacturers such as Advanced Digital Information Corp., Qualstar Corp. and Spectra Logic Corp. are all expected to integrate SAIT drives and media into half-inch tape automation systems. Later this year, Sony is also expected to introduce an SAIT version of its PetaSite tape library system.

SAIT drives utilize Sony's existing Advanced Intelligent Tape architecture in a 5.25-inch extended drive footprint and use helical-scan recording technology. Sony said SAIT-1 drives come equipped with either an Ultra SCSI or Fibre Channel interface. The Fibre Channel port supports up to 2 Gbps, so SAIT drives can provide high-speed backup functions within a storage area network (SAN).

When shipping in June, the SAIT PetaSite systems are expected to be priced at $103,000 for the SCSI model and $113,000 for the Fibre Channel configuration.


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Let us know what you think of this story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

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