Plasmon seeks optical opportunities

Plasmon seeks optical opportunities

Storage vendor, Plasmon, will launch its new Ultra Density Optical (UDO) drives in October.

The UK-based company has been selling its products in Australia for 12 years — typically to government departments, financial institutions and medical organisations that are subject to archiving regulations.

These are usually large library-based solutions but Plasmon expects its new UDO drives to open up many new smaller scale applications than its previous offerings.

The new UDO products will replace Magneto-Optical (MO) drives — more than tripling storage capacity in a single drive to 30GB and reducing the cost per gigabyte to $2 from $10, according to Plasmon. MO originally came onto the market in 1988 at 650MB, reaching 9.1GB in its final lifecycle.

Plasmon plans to release 60GB, 120GB and possibly 240GB versions of its UDO drives in cycles of 18-24 months. UDO drives are backward compatible with MO products.

In terms of finding new applications, Plasmon will rely heavily on systems integrators and value-added resellers. Key integrators it has worked with in the past include Alphawest and Volante.

“There has been a lot of new reg­ulation recently and email is becoming so dominant,” Plasmon international sales director, Michel Locquegnies, said.

“Everything from business contracts to price lists are sent by email and yet 65 per cent of companies have no email storage processes in place. It is left up to individual employees to decide what is important.

“A typical small firm with no IT department — maybe involved in graphics, post-production or desktop publishing — might typically need to archive 10-20 per cent of its data and would probably be able to do that on a single 30GB UDO disc.”

Locquegnies confirmed Plasmon had an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) arrangement with IBM for the new UDO drives.

He was confident HP would also come aboard. Plasmon would continue to go direct on large medical contracts but Locquegnies estimated 95 per cent of its business would go through the channel.

UDO technology is the result of collaboration between Plasmon, IBM, HP and Sony dating back to 2000. A year later, Sony pulled out to concentrate on consumer products, leaving Plasmon to develop the drives and media with IBM and HP agreeing to take the products on if they came to market.

According to IDC figures, Plasmon, IBM and HP manufactured more than 90 per cent of optical libraries shipped worldwide in 2002.

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