The explosion of the Internet, networks and the ability to store video, has meant that information storage needs have reached new levels. Technology is rapidly developing to meet these needs - there's a wide array of storage media and corresponding hardware now available to meet a variety of storage requirements. Manufacturers are embracing new technology as soon as it is developed in the race to be the first on the scene with the latest solution. Factors typically affecting the choice of storage media today include cost per megabyte, security, speed of transfer, access and capacity. ARN sent Durelle Fry to check out the storage marketHEWLETT-PACKARDARN talked to Amy Potts, Hewlett-Packard's (HP) market development manager for information storage products, about the state of the storage media market. Potts said there's currently a price war on CD-Recorder (CD-R) media, with several competitors dropping prices. While this is occurring, the role of tape media remains strong, especially on DAT and DLT (used as high-end, higher capacity tape backup).
The reason for the tape holding its place in the market is that while CD writers are faster, there is more capacity on tape and a lower cost per megabyte. CD writers only support 650Mb.
Potts predicts that when DVD recorders arrive on the market next year, CDs will begin to make tapes obsolete - because the DVDs will hold 4.7Gb per CD.
CD-Rs are treated as an extension of the hard drive for distributing large files and presentations because they are more expensive than tape.
Optical disks, used for archiving and storing offline hard drives, are targeted at high-end users such as banks. Optical disks hold up to 2.6Gb per piece of media. Potts describes a CD-R as similar to a large hard disk, and HP targets it to be used in conjunction with a scanner. The user scans an image and then stores it on a CD-R.
An advantage of CD-Rs over optical disks is that they can be read on any standard CD-ROM drive, while optical disks require an optical drive to read the media. Too expensive for the home user, Potts recommends optical drives as an entry level for a business user. As storage needs increase, the business user can incorporate a jukebox which stores several optical drives and is equipped with a robotic arm which selects the required disk.
HP SureStore range
Due for release on the first of September this year, the SureStore range includes a media pack. The pack is a first for HP because it contains a CD-RW or "rewrite". The CD-RW erases and rewrites, offering more than the current CD recorder. The complete media pack consists of two pieces of CD-R media and one piece of CD-RW media for an RRP of $77.
To accompany the media pack, HP will be releasing the hardware, a rewritable drive, in October. Pricing was not available at time of publication.
HP SureStore T4I
Designed for network backup on entry-level or low-end networks, the T4I provides a capacity of 4Gb native. If the backup software has compression capabilities, this increases up to 8Gb. Additional features are Travan (TR-4) technology; compatibility with major PC network operating systems; and inclusion of drivers for Novell NetWare and Windows NT.
HP SureStore DAT8
A direct successor to the SureStore Tape 6000, the DAT8 allows the user to store up to 3.6Gb of data per hour. The DAT8 supports HP TapeAlert Certified Solutions. TapeAlert is an industry standard developed by HP. It informs the backup application of the state of the drive and the media, and indicates any maintenance or media changes required.
Other features of the DAT8 are DDS-2 format; typical capacity of 8Gb and transfer rate of 1Mb/sec; 300,000 hours MTBF; internal head cleaner; Read After Write verification; read and write compatibility with DDS and DDS-2 formats; and compatibility with all major operating systems and software solutions.
The estimated street price (ESP) of the SureStore DAT8 series is from $1704.
HP SureStore DAT24
Designed for networks, the DAT24 can store up to 7.2Gb of data per hour. Key features include HP's new DDS-3 format; typical capacity of 24Gb and transfer rate of 2Mb/sec; tape alert support; 300,000 hours MTBF; internal head cleaner; feed forward equaliser; Read After Write data verification; read and write compatibility with DDS, DDS-2 and DDS-3; and compatibility with all major operating systems and software solutions.
The ESP of the HP SureStore DAT24 is $2299.
HP SureStore DLT30e and DLT40e
The DLT30e offers a typical capacity of 30Gb and a sustained transfer rate of 2.5Mb/sec using data compression. The DLT40e offers a typical capacity of 40Gb and a sustained transfer rate of 3Mb/sec using data compression. HP describes this product as "exceptionally reliable" due to its "robust drive construction, combined with extremely reliable media". Both products are compatible with a wide range of operating systems and software solutions, and are backed by HP's two-year warranty and lifetime telephone support.
The ESP of the SureStore DLT30e series begins at $5868, while the SureStore DLT40e series begins at $8394.
HP SureStore CD-Writer 6020i/6020es/6020epThe HP SureStore CD-Writer series includes SCSI-2 cable, a blank HP SureStore recordable CD, and a set of software. The file retrieval system allows the user to build databases of images and documents that can be searched and displayed in under three seconds. Data or audio files can be copied to the CD from Windows File Manager. Up to 650Mb of data, or 74 minutes of audio can be stored.
The ESP of the HP SureStore CD-Writer series starts at $885.
HP SureStore 40fx Optical Jukeboxes
HP SureStore Optical Jukeboxes store 2.6Gb optical disks, each holding the equivalent of 650,000 pages of text with an archival life of 100 years. Disks are warranted by HP for the life of the media.
Each drive within the jukebox reads and writes 2.6Gb and 1.3Gb disks, available in either Rewritable or Write Once types. (650Mb disks provide read only compatibility). The mechanisms are described as "rugged and reliable" and offer 100,000 hours MTBF.
The ESP of HP SureStore 40fx Optical Jukeboxes begins at $11,034.
Expanding capacity needs
HP also offers internal and external tape backup systems for both stand-alone PC and workgroup systems with growing capacity needs.
The ESP of the HP Colorado T3000 series begins at $334 while the T4000 series begins at $863.
HP's distributors include:
Tel (02) 9381 6000ÊFax (02) 9697 8670
Tel (02) 9878 4900ÊFax (02) 9878 4911
Free fax 1800 818 571
HP's products for the storage market
are distributed by:
Tel (02) 9313 4433ÊFax (02) 9313 4155
Optical products are distributed by:
Tel (02) 9922 5333ÊFax (02) 9922 5998
Media and supplies are distributed by:
Tel (02) 9310 3655
Fax (02) 9310 3707
On July 1 1996, 3M launched a new company, Imation, created by the spin-off of 3M's imaging and information businesses.
Imation now owns and manufactures all 3M branded data storage, printing and publishing and medical imaging products including 3M diskettes, 3M Data cartridges including the new platform (Travan), 3M Optical products and 3M Data Centre products.
Imation SuperDisk technology
Described by the company as its "most exciting product introduction at the moment", the SuperDisk LS-120 drive and diskette features a single 3.5in diskette that holds 120Mb. "That's 83 times the capacity of a conventional 1.44Mb disk!"
The LS-120 drive is a high-capacity removable storage option which enables users to read and write all their old disks, in addition to SuperDisk 120Mb diskettes.
The SuperDisk LS-120 drive is available on selected Compaq Deskpro and Compaq Presario models, and NEC Versa notebook computers will soon be available with an internal LS-120 drive.
Panasonic, ASA Pacific and Mitsubishi all have internal upgrade drives available at the moment.
The Imation SuperDisk Drive will be available from October 1997 and will be "the first external, parallel port drive for LS-120 technology", according to a company spokesperson.
In addition to holding as much data as 83 conventional 1.44Mb diskettes, the SuperDisk LS-120 holds 20 per cent more data than conventional high capacity floppy solutions. SuperDisk diskettes are the same size and shape as standard diskettes.
The RRP of Imation SuperDisk Media is $25. The price of the Imation SuperDisk Drive External is not yet available.
Imation Travan TR-1 Tape backup system
Since its introduction, Travan technology has become the new industry-accepted platform for backup, with native capacities ranging from 400Mb to 4Gb.
Features of the Imation Travan TR-1 tape back- up system include 9.5Mb/minute backup; a parallel port model which connects just like a printer "out of the box"; and one button backup provided by the software included in the package.
The RRP of the Imation Travan TR-1 backup system is $199.
Imation Travan TR-3 tape backup system
This product, due to be released late in 1997, will have 3.3Gb compressed capacity with an RRP of $400.
Tel 1800 022 293
Fax (02) 9479 9060
3.5in Magneto-Optical (MO) Drive M2541
Features of this rewritable 230Mb MO drive for portable and desktop computers are its 17mm height, making it suitable for integration into notebook computers; power consumption of less than 3.5W (0.1W in sleep mode); conformation to International Standards Organisation (ISO) standards; and downward compatibility with 128Mb.
The MO cartridge is almost the same size as a 3.5in floppy disk, yet "it has up to 160 times the storage capacity and offers unlimited capacity by exchanging MO cartridges". In addition, MO cartridges are not affected by magnetic fields or physical shock, and they can be written and erased an unlimited number of times.
The RRP of the M2541 is $499.
DynaMO 640 Magneto-Optical Drive
This product provides up to 640Mb capacity on rewritable 3.5in disks and can connect to any PC or Macintosh system via a standard SCSI interface. Data transfer rates are above 3Mbit/sec and 35 millisecond access times are provided.
Designed for multimedia, CAD/CAM, desktop publishing and other demanding applications, the DynaMO 640 disks come with a lifetime warranty, can be rewritten an unlimited number of times, and are not at risk from erasure by x-rays, moisture, dust, and magnetic fields. Fujitsu therefore recommends them as "the perfect medium for transporting data from home to office, from computer to computer, desktop to laptop".
The RRP of the DynaMO 640 drive with 512K Cache, drive only, manual and driver diskette, SCSI-2 interface is $794. The DynaMO 640SA with 512K Cache and drive including SCSI 16-bit adapter, manual and driver diskette, and SCSI-2 interface, is $943.
This 640Mb Direct Overwrite MO for desktop computers and subsystems conforms to ISO standards; holds 640Mb, 540Mb, 230Mb or 128Mb per rewritable MO disk; has a 2Mb cache version available; has an internal transfer rate of up to 3.9Mbit/sec; and produces fast write performance with Direct-Overwrite media. The data transfer rate for continuous writing will be up to 3.07Mbit/sec.
Fujitsu recommends the 640Mb MO drive as a storage device for distributing huge volumes of data in place of CD-ROMs or backing up data instead of tape drives. Additional uses are for data-intensive, high-capacity multimedia applications including movie, graphic, photographic and sound files.
The RRP of the M2513A2 3.5in Magneto Optical Disk Drive begins at $699.
DynaMO 230 Portable
This rewritable, external 230Mb MO drive has external PC Card connection, and ITS capacity is 230Mb or 128Mb per MO disk.
The product comes equipped with an MO drive, 230Mb MO disk, device driver, AC adapter; PC Card (PCMCIA type II); and a battery pack in some models.
The RRP of the DynaMO 230 PC for IBM and compatibles is $729.
The DynaMO 230 Portable for Apple Macintosh PowerBooks 5300 and 1900 Series has an RRP of $696.
For more reseller information contact Dirk Konetzny at:
Tel (02) 9887 9765
Fax (02) 9878 4778
IOMEGA ZIP DRIVES
In July Iomega announced an internal Zip drive solution for PC manufacturers and VARs based on the ATAPI interface (ATAPI stands for AT Attachment Packet Interface). An advantage of the internal ATAPI Zip drive is that it provides high performance with simple and affordable systems integration and compatibility. The 3.5in form slots into a conventional PC drive bay, connects to an internal power supply, and includes a full suite of value-added software applications.
Iomega believes that with the new drive, it's "one step closer to replacing the traditional floppy drive with the super-floppy Zip drive".
The ATAPI Zip drive conforms to the industry standard for high-capacity removable storage, reducing support and installation costs, and includes specialised support from Iomega.
Currently, Iomega's Zip drive is offered as a standard or optional feature in many computermodels from PC vendors such as Apple, AST, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, HP, IBM, Micron, Packard Bell/NEC, Power Computing and Unysis.
Iomega's 100Mb Zip disks provide 70 times the capacity of traditional floppy disks, providing greater capacity, increased flexibility and a built-in backup system. The speed is fast enough to run applications and multimedia, and is suitable for MMX PCs. Support for users is provided by Iomega's Zip tools software.
Tel (02) 9381 6000
Fax (02) 9697 8670
Tel (02) 9482 4088
Fax (02) 9482 4359
The medium is metal
Sony produces metal data tape because, "it has a higher storage capacity, faster transfer rates, durability and reliability". Sony points out that compared to traditional oxide tape, metal doubles the coercivity and doubles the remanent flux density. This produces four times the magnetic energy. The extra energy results in higher linear density, narrower tracks, higher area density, and thinner coatings. The thinner coating facilitates the recording of shorter wavelengths for even higher linear density, and a reduction in the total thickness of the tape. This allows a longer tape to fit into the same cartridge. Examples of Sony's metal data storage products are QIC-Wide Metal, DDS, D8 and Advanced Intelligent Tape.
The QIC or Quarter Inch Cartridge is now produced in "Wide Metal", with greater linear density and higher area density. Native capacity is 2.3Gb in the QIC-3210 up to 8Gb in the QIC-3230. The RRP of a pack of five pieces starts at $59.18.
The DDS-3 cartridge, which has evolved from the first DDS cartridge released in 1988 (which stored 1.3Gb uncompressed), now holds 12Gb native capacity. It is recommended by Sony for large-volume data distribution, archiving and network backup. The RRP of the DDS-3 is $73.53 for a five-piece pack.
D8.8mm data cartridges are used for network backup, data distribution and data archiving. The tape in the cartridge is known as Advanced Metal Evaporated (AME) data tape. It has been produced through the combined research of Exabyte and Sony, and is designed for Exabyte Mammoth drives.
AME tape is composed of metal grain that is smaller than metal particles and, according to Sony, is greater in recording density and higher in output "than any previous tape". The reason given is superior magnetivity. In conventional tape manufacture, a chemical compound or "binder" is used to adhere metal or oxide particles onto the plastic film of the tape. Binders aren't made of magnetic material so their existence dilutes the magnetic strength of the coating by as much as 40 per cent (Sony's figure).
With AME, a vapour of cobalt grain adheres to the tape completely without binder. The magnetic grain is applied in a vacuum chamber. Because of the precision of the AME process, there can be control over the way the grain builds on the base. The grain forms a curved, columnar structure, nearly perpendicular to the tape surface.
This angle is claimed to produce superior output and extremely high recording density. Sony AME tape is "double-dipped" for a second coat of ME grain which the company says results in a five- decibel increase in output at the shorter recording wavelengths, the high frequency ones used in data recording. Durability and archival life is increased through the addition of DLC, a "super-hard Diamond Like Carbon" coating, to ensure durability within the tape drive.
Transfers on D8.8mm cartridges are at 3Mb/sec and the package of AME tape and the Mammoth drive is designed for large-volume network backup, digital video editing systems and Video On Demand. The cartridge holds 20Gb uncompressed. The RRP of the QGD170ME D8.8mm certified tape is $143.43 for a pack of five pieces.
AIT tapes include a 16K/bit memory chip to store the table of contents and file location. The result, according to Sony, is that "average seek time is cut in half". Load time is also reduced, making AIT suitable for near-line storage and HSM. The cartridge has an "ultra-rigid", aluminium reinforced shell to protect data, and contains 8mm AME tape. With 25Gb native capacity and 3Mb/sec transfer rate, AIT is designed for large-volume network backup, video editing and Video On Demand. The Sony SDX-T3C 170m tape with a Memory In Cassette (MIC) chip, has an RRP of $224.21 for a five-piece pack.
Additional products in the Sony storage media range include 130mm (5.25in) MO disks with 2.6Gb capacity and wide-margin design for mark edge recording, and high-precision stampers and plate formation technology. The RRP of Sony's EDM2600 5.25in rewritable disks is $135.18 for a pack of five pieces.
Also available are Sony Travan data cartridges, Zip removable disks, and 3.5in Micro Floppy Disks.
For details of the Sony distributor in your state contact Rhys Fagan at Sony Australia Limited at:
Tel (02) 9887 6666
Fax (02) 9805 1151
Disks to dye for
According to TDK's general manager, sales and marketing, Dennis O'Sullivan, the key to TDK CD-R performance is "the use of proprietary metal-stabilised cyanine dye recording material". O'Sullivan adds that "the sensitivity of this material makes it ideal for high-speed recording where the "level of recording energy per individual time unit is reduced". Reliability is also said to be enhanced by the reduction of "the waveform distortion that is a major factor in the generation of errors".
O'Sullivan believes that CD-R media will still have a place in the market after the introduction of DVD because both CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives are playback compatible with CD-R. O'Sullivan added that "price reductions in CD-writers are making CD-R available to a whole new base of desktop PC users. These factors, along with easier CD-R authoring software, point to a continued and very healthy market for the CD-R format."
Designed for digital audio, multimedia recording and long-term archiving, TDK CD-R disks are available in 650Mb, 550Mb, 180Mb and 150Mb capacities, which translate to 74, 63, 21 and 18 minutes of audio, respectively.
For titling purposes, three surface finishes are available - a pre-labelled surface for handwriting, a printable matte surface for custom printing, and a blank surface for custom silk-screening.
The TDK MO-R range features a multilayer disk structure for longer disk life, protection from dust and dirt by a fully-enclosed chassis, and a read/write locking tab to prevent users from accidentally erasing data. Disks range from 3.5in to 5.25in and offer 128Mb to 1034Mb storage capacity per side.
TDK 8mm and 4mm data cartridges use metal particle tape for read/write accuracy. The 8mm cartridge can store 2.5Gb of data, while the 4mm offers four capacities, up to 12Gb. The cartridges are fully sealed to prevent contamination, and they have DDS, DDS2, DDS3 DATA/DAT and MRS certifications which conform to ANSI standards.
The capacity of TDK QIC cartridges ranges from 120Mb through to 5Gb. Features include permanently mounted mirrors and patented corner rollers for stable tape transport and data integrity.
All TDK floppy disks are certified 100 per cent error free and come with a lifetime replacement warranty. The technology employed by TDK to ensure reliability is called "Electron Beam Cured Binding System", which is claimed to deliver "exceptional durability and high data storage capacity".
The MF-2HD is available formatted for either IBM or Macintosh computers.
The MF-2ED is designed specifically for use with 4Mb drives with double the capacity of 3.5in HD disks.
TDK's DC4-125 tapes, which will store 12Gb backward compatible, will be available in September this year, and the company's 100Mb Zip Cartridges will be available before the end of the year.
Exabyte's Travan Tape Drive to compete with DATExabyte's Travan Tape Drive with Read-While-Write capability, the Eagle TR4, is now available in Australia. The high-speed, high-capacity Travan mini-cartridge tape drive was designed specifically for server backup.
It provides up to 8Gb of capacity on a single mini-cartridge.
Exabyte believes that the mini-cartridge drive will move into areas traditionally occupied by DAT "because it provides the same capacity and speed as DDS-2 at approximately half the price".
"Furthermore, it offers a clear migration path to much higher capacities in the future".
The TR4 is a compact drive that fits into a 3.5in x 1in or 5.25in half-high bay and connects to a SCSI card. The drive features a rugged metal chassis for long-term stability and reliable media interchange, and is rated for greater than 200,000 hours MTBF. It carries a two-year limited warranty.
The internal version of the TR4 has an RRP of $781, while the Eagle Nest version is priced at $799.
For further information contact Paul Coppola at:
Tel (02) 9418 3322
Fax (02) 9418 3833
Compaq's new tape array
In June Compaq announced the availability of a next-generation DLT drive with 35Gb native, 70Gb compressed capacity per cartridge, and up to 36Gb/hour backup performance.
The new drive provides an upward migration path to higher performance and greater capacity.
With 8Mb of cache on board, the 35/70 drive is four times faster and holds twice the capacity of the existing 15/30Gb DLT drive. The RRP of the 35/70Gb DLT Tape Drive is $15,722 (internal) and $16,469 (external).
A second new product is a DLT tape array that contains up to four 35/70Gb DLT drives for up to 280Gb of compressed storage.
The Compaq DLT Tape Array II, together with Cheyenne software using Fault Tolerance Option, provides "maximum data transfer rate" by striping data across all tape drives.
According to Compaq, the Tape Array II has exceeded backup speeds of 120Gb per hour for both NT and Novell server platforms, "allowing customers the ability to easily back up a terabyte of data in about eight hours". The RRP of the DLT Tape Array II is $64,069.
For more information contact:
Tel 1300 368 369
Fax (02) 9911 1800
"Gold on Gold" disks
ARN spoke to Rowan Lawson, business development manager for storage products with Kodak. Lawson explained that Kodak uses a pthalo-cyanine dye recording layer with a gold reflective layer on its CD-Rs to produce stability in extremes of temperature, humidity and UV light. Kodak even claims that its accelerated age testing shows a lifetime in excess of 200 years.
CD-Rs, referred to by Kodak as "Writable CD Media", have broad compatibility. The products will work in most writers at speeds from 1x to 6x. (Kodak manufactures a 6x writer, the PCD600 CD Writer).
Additional features are a hard scratch and fingerprint-resistant coating and an individual serial number on each disk so that users can identify tracks and disks where necessary. An option is a disk with a machine-readable barcode. Kodak offers a lifetime warranty on each disk and according to Lawson, "intends to stay the market leader in the CD-R business - we maintain aggressive pricing to ensure that our media is accessible to everyone from home to corporate users".
He added that "Kodak has already invested large sums of research and development in DVD media and other technologies. We intend to stay the leader in the recordable media business, and we are actively involved in all the key world-wide bodies which set the standards for the various media and hardware".
While the ESP of Kodak CD-Rs is "around" $14, Lawson claims that the pricing on the market is extremely volatile, so resellers should check with their distributor for current pricing.
Kodak's distributors are:
BBF Components and Peripherals
Tel (03) 9761 4299
Fax (03) 9761 4001
Chips and Bits Australia
Tel (03) 9696 1911
Fax (03) 9696 1942
Computer Technology Express
Tel (02) 9417 0011
Fax (02) 9417 2299
Tel (02) 9381 6000
Fax (02) 9381 6149
Tel (02) 9894 6033
Fax (02) 9894 6766