Certance LLC is putting the finishing touches on the DAT72 line, the companys fifth generation of tape storage products that use the popular Digital Data Storage format.
The tapes and related hardware will be announced next week and ship by years end to users at the same price as, or approximately $30 less than, prior generations, said company officials, in Costa Mesa, Calif.
DDS tapes, also made by Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sony Electronics Inc., are intended for small businesses and remote offices of enterprises, shipping nearly 1 million units per year, industry analysts said. But as DDS evolves it will become more competitive to current enterprise tape formats such as Linear Tape Open and Super Digital Linear Tape, experts say.
Next month, the tapes will ship to OEM vendors such as Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, Fujitsu-Siemens Computers GmbH and Sun Microsystems Inc.
"Its read/write-compatible back to the third generation," said Mike Lakowicz, Certances vice president of product strategy and business development. "We believe that certainly the DDS-4 platform is capable of up to two more generations [beyond DDS-5]."
Those models will last up to 2007, with specifications still under evaluation, Lakowicz said. But even the aging DDS-3 tapes will continue to be sold as long as users buy them, he said.
One observer, Robert Amatruda, an analyst at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass., said Certance could use the technologys popularity to help customers in new ways. "Not many storage products on the removable side can actually boast having five complete generations," Amatruda said. "It ships close to a million units a year. The opportunities they have are to plan adjacent products."
The autoloader upgrades for the DAT72 will come this fall, Lakowicz said. Certance is also considering entering the disk-based backup field through in-house research and development, Lakowicz said. An appliance will probably combine that technology, using advanced technology architecture drives, with tape drives in the same unit, he said. "Look for us to make more definite statements about it over the next 90 days," he said.