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DR. FRED HERTRICH -- FATHER OF DLT.

Dr. Fred Hertrich died May 7 in Boulder, CO of heart disease. He was 66. Fred was one of five children, born in Hohenaltheim, Bavaria, Germany.

After receiving his Masters in Aeronautical Engineering and PhD in Civil Engineering, Fred emigrated to the U.S. in 1961. His career in mass storage devices would draw heavily upon his strong theoretical and mathematics skills and his apprenticeship as a tool and die maker in Germany.

Shortly after arriving in the U.S., Fred joined IBM in San Jose. While at IBM, he was granted more than 20 patents, and several Outstanding Contribution and Invention awards. He contributed to the development of numerous IBM mass storage products including the 2321 Data Cell. His final position with IBM was as manager of the Recording Technology Department in Boulder.

Fred joined several other IBMers in 1969 to start JOMEC, a firm that attempted the first commercial product development of "flying floppy" or Bernoulli disk drive. After IOMEC, Fred decided that consulting was the right career path for him and formed Hertrich Consulting. After some general consulting and teaching assignments, Digital Equipment Corporation engaged Hertrich Consulting in a skunk works product development role in 1972. A number of hugely successful products were created with this relationship, including the RL01/02, the first fully embedded servo disk drive, which received an IR100 Award for innovation.

As disk capacities exploded and the VAX penetrated traditional IT applications, DEC needed a commercial data processing reliability tape drive in a 5.25-inch form factor. Fred was challenged by DEC Storage Systems vice president Grant Saviers to "put an IBM l600bpi tape drive into a 5.25-inch form factor." The 100MB TK5O resulted and became DEC's small and medium VAX systems standard tape drive. Fred then upgraded it to 300MB capacity. In parallel with Fred's six man team, Demetrios Lignos, tape systems group manager at DEC built an internal team to exploit the architectural advantages of Fred's design. "Fred got it all right," said Demetrios, "a linear serpentine format, embedded track following, high linear bit densities, and maximized square inches of tape in the cartridge." With these advantages, the DEC/Quantum team went on to set a new industry standard with multi-gigabyte DLTs.

Fred is survived by his four brothers and sisters, four children by two marriages, and one grandchild. His legacy endures in the things he liked the best, his marvelous inventions.
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Author:Wacker, Peter
Publication:Computer Technology Review
Date:Jul 1, 1999
Words:402
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