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DLT Tape Library Shipments Strong and Growing; New Lease On Life for 8-Millimeter.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 30, 1999--

Freeman Associates projects shipments of tape library units to grow at a compounded 15% annual rate through 2004. Robert C. Abraham and Raymond C. Freeman, Jr., authors of the newly completed Freeman Report, Tape Library Outlook, contend that the worldwide market for automated tape libraries, which totaled close to 37,000 units in 1997, will expand from more than 51,000 units in 1998 to almost 99,000 units by 2004, an 11% growth rate. "Tape libraries already enjoy the most favored cost position of any mode of storage. Their appeal will be heightened by forthcoming advances in the underlying storage technologies, enabling automated libraries to meet the needs of ever-more-demanding applications," states Freeman.

"Rapidly increasing demands for access to networked information may exceed the effective capability of an affordable centralized disk," Abraham said. "Automated libraries can supplement that capability, enabling fast, cost-effective access to all files." The authors predict combined revenue of all classes of automated libraries to grow from nearly $2.3 billion in 1998 to more than $4.2 billion in 2004, an 11% annual rate. "The same rates of growth for revenue and shipments mask the conflicting trends toward smaller, lower-cost libraries and generally rising average prices," state the authors of the report, in which nine classes of libraries based on six tape technologies are analyzed and forecast in detail through 2004.

Unit Shares Shifting

DLT libraries captured top volume position in the tape library market, wresting away a lead held by 8-millimeter libraries previous to 1998. Aided by recent increases in capacity and performance, DLT libraries commanded a 58% share of 1998 unit shipments, up 16% from the previous year. This percentage will begin to erode by 2000, though, due to reinvigorated 8-millimeter demand generated by AIT, VXA, Magstar MP, and Accelis libraries. Eight-millimeter libraries currently comprise 33% of the market, down from 43% in 1997.

Half-inch cartridge libraries placed third in 1998, showing a 6% share of the 1998 market, down slightly from 8% in 1997. According to Abraham, "SAN and the addition of new and forthcoming half-inch tape devices make the outlook for half-inch tape libraries very promising." Meanwhile, DAT libraries continue their descent, dropping from 6% of units in 1997 to only 2% in 1998. The authors point out that only a few manufacturers now serve the shrinking DAT library market, while DAT autoloader shipments continue to grow.

Libraries incorporating half-inch helical scan drives or 19-millimeter drives account for the remaining 1% of 1998 shipments. Shipments of tape libraries using QIC drives, which had shown promise due to the large installed base of QIC drives, failed to develop and comprise a negligible part of the tape library market.

Revenue Rankings Quite Different

The much higher prices commanded by half-inch cartridge tape libraries propelled them to a wide lead in industry revenues. These models accounted for the majority of library revenue in 1998, at 58%, although this figure dropped from a dominating 62% in 1997. "Large capacity, high transfer rates, and fully standardized media and interchange formats account for the popularity of these products," observes Abraham. A shift to increased numbers of high capacity drives in libraries will propel revenue growth even more in the future, allowing this class of tape library to retain the leading revenue share throughout the forecast period.

DLT units strengthened their grip on second rank in the industry, climbing to a 30% share of 1998 revenues, up 5% from the year before. Eight-millimeter libraries retained third position, at 10% in both years, augmented by recent AIT and Magstar MP shipments. Nineteen-millimeter tape libraries rang up a 2% share of marketplace revenue in 1998 and 1997, ahead of half-inch helical scan versions, at 1% both years, and DAT, at less than 1% in 1998.

Software Rapidly Turning Storage Hardware into Storage Solutions

Advances in storage management software are now pacing much of the growth of the automated tape library business. In Tape Library Outlook, the authors describe in detail the software that manages tape libraries or facilitates data management in a tape library environment. "Most of these software products provide nearly online access to all files in the storage subsystem, including those stored on unmounted tapes," stated Freeman. Many also perform hierarchical storage management.

Leading Source of Industry Data Is Now Available

Tape Library Outlook presents an in-depth analysis of the industry, providing market shares and forecasts of worldwide shipments and revenues for nine classes of tape libraries. Shipment and revenue data are given for each year from 1997 through 2004, apportioned by market channel. Specifications for 250 tape libraries and 100 related software products are provided. The report is derived from in-depth review, study, and analysis of all 20 hardware manufacturers and 30 representative software developers. Pricing trends are analyzed, and expected technology shifts and product directions are identified. Significant issues affecting market growth are examined; underlying market forces and interactions with competing storage products are assessed. Key findings are highlighted by 26 illustrations and 51 tables.

Tape Library Outlook complements other annual Freeman Reports on computer data storage markets, all of which include information on companion software products. Performance Tape Outlook and Compact Tape Outlook, respectively, assess the market for high performance and compact tape products. Optical Storage Outlook views the optical disk drive market, while Optical Library Outlook reviews the market for automated optical disk libraries.

The 204-page Tape Library Outlook report is available from Freeman Associates, Inc., 311 East Carrillo Street, Santa Barbara, California 93101, 805/963-3853 (, at a price of $2,895. Additional copies for the use of the same buyer are priced at $270 each. -0-


 1997 1998 2004
DAT 2.2 0.8 0.0
8-Millimeter 16.1 17.0 41.5
DLT 15.6 30.0 51.0
Half-Inch Cartridge 3.0 3.4 5.8
Half-Inch Helical 0.1 0.2 0.6
19-Millimeter -- 0.1 0.0

TOTAL UNITS 37.0 51.5 98.9

 1997 1998 2004
DAT 19 5 0
8-Millimeter 162 217 814
DLT 404 679 1,273
Half-Inch Cartridge 1,016 1,311 2,089
Half-Inch Helical 16 27 67
19-Millimeter 25 37 0

TOTAL REVENUE 1,642 2,276 4,243

 Copyright 1999 by Freeman Associates, Inc.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 30, 1999
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