Quantum has laid out a four-year road map that it believes will take it back to profitability by next quarter and produce a tape drive by 2006, with more than six times the capacity and throughput of its current super digital linear tape (SDLT) product.
Quantum is currently in a horse race with linear tape-open (LTO) vendors. When LTO technology came to the market two years ago, it had a six to nine-month head start in the marketplace over SDLT drives.
LTO vendors, which include IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Seagate Technology have about a 67 per cent market share, with 250,000 drives installed worldwide, compared to 150,000 SDLT drives sold to date, according to research firm Freeman Reports.
In an interview with IDG, Quantum's new CEO, Rick Belluzzo, said his company is going to be aggressive in rolling out new products and offering more complete data protection packages to OEMs.
"Our need to grow revenue is critical, so I've spent a lot of time on the road talking to employees, meeting with partners and customers, making decisions about restructuring," Belluzzo said.
Quantum's current tape drive product, the SDLT 320 drive, has 160GB native capacity and 16MBps native throughput.
HP, however, is expected to ship its second-generation LTO product this month. It will have 200GB native capacity and about 30MBps throughput.
"It's a race," said Bob Abraham, president of Freeman Reports. "Quantum has a very ambitious migration plan. And if they can execute on time, they will certainly hold, if not gain, market share."
Preliminary numbers for this year show SDLT gaining about 4 per cent market share against LTO.
As part of a plan to bring the beleaguered company back to profitability, Belluzzo said Quantum will be focusing on more than just tape backup, with a slant toward partnerships with leading providers of storage management software such as Veritas Software and Legato Systems.
"There's more of a mission-critical view toward data protection," he said. "I've met with a lot of customers who are trying to think about what is their architecture, what's their policy, how do they consolidate data centres, how do they lower costs. All of these things are increasingly important given some of the events we've seen in the world over the last year."