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Exabyte's VXA-2 tape drive technology wins key endorsements, poised to replace DDS. (Advertisement).

With the continuing growth of data within enterprises and the continuing demand on IT managers to store more data at a lower price, one of the biggest storage challenges facing VARs, system integrators and end users during the coming months will be the obsolescence of DDS -- the aging technology that has been the most widely used tape storage technology for data backup and restore.

While DDS represents more than half of all tape drives purchased in recent years, the technology has become antiquated and no longer offers adequate capacity, speed and reliability to meet end users' ever-growing storage needs. Worse yet, key DDS manufacturers have recently decided to abandon the technology, rather than struggle to overcome its inherent capacity, performance and reliability problems. And the few remaining DDS manufacturers have only added to the uncertainty by releasing a product roadmap that raises more questions than it answers.

As a result, more and more companies that recognize the issues with DDS have begun preparing transition strategies to new storage technologies, and the most influential transition plans are those being made by the major GEMs, whose storage choices have significant ripple effects across the IT industry. The first and perhaps the most important OEM endorsement for a DDS replacement technology occurred recently when IBM selected Exabyte's VXA-2 technology for all three of its best--selling server lines: the popular pSeries, xSeries and iSeries. "Being selected by IBM for all of these server lines is the strongest endorsement you could give to VXA," says Tom Ward, president and CEO of Exabyte. "IBM's endorsement positions VXA. as the leading technology to replace DDS, and that has quickly been followed by endorsements from other OEMs, channel partners and end users. VXA has tremendous momentum right now, and it is well on its way to becoming the technology of choice in this market sector."

Industry analysts have been closely monitoring OEM evaluation of DDS replacement technologies because of the impact their endorsements have on product adoption, and IBM's announcements regarding VXA. have been characterized as milestones in the battle to replace DDS. "[IBM's selection of VXA] is further evidence that VXA is an excellent alternative to DDS," reports Bob Abraham of Freeman Reports. "IBM server customers who face the challenges of rapidly growing data storage requirements and who are not convinced of the ability of DDS technology to keep pace can be confident in their selection of VXA-2."

"IBM did extensive testing and Exabyte's VXA clearly stood above DDS and other competing technologies," Ward says. "VXA-2 has four times the capacity, twice the speed and dramatically higher reliability than DDS-4, all at a similar price point. That puts VXA light years ahead of the competition."

VXA-2 delivers a native capacity of up to 80 GB, up to 160 GB compressed, at a sustained transfer rate of up to 12 MB/sec. Many of Exabyte's partners have conducted head-to-head evaluations of VXA-2 against DDS and other tape drives in the class, and VXA is the clear winner. The results were so definitive for SoftPak Financial Systems that they are transitioning all 10 of its backup systems to VXA-2 technology this year. "Switching backup and restore technology is not something that customers take lightly," adds Ward, "but it's a no--brainer when you compare what VXA offers against the shortcomings of DDS."

"The reason why VXA-2 has such an enormous capacity, speed and reliability advantage over DDS is our Packet Technology, the most significant advancement in tape storage technology in the last 30 years," states Kieran Maloney, Director of Marketing at Exabyte. "VXA-2 even outperforms the hastily announced fifth generation DDS (DAT72)."

"VXA reads and writes data in 'packets' allowing Exabyte to achieve a quantum leap forward in tape storage reliability -- especially compared to DDS' dismal reliability record. I've heard horror stories about DDS from VARs and end users, and it's a big reason why we are getting such an enthusiastic response to VXA," Maloney adds. Exabyte's testing shows that VXA is at least five times more reliable than DDS, and is achieving reliability results that are unmatched by any other technology on the market. The company has published a lengthy roadmap for VXA that guarantees a similar price point for future generations of the technology, while achieving significantly higher capacities and speeds to keep up with growing data storage needs.

VXA's packet architecture is also the key to achieving such high capacity and performance levels, while keeping the price of VXA tape drives below $1000 (MSRP) -- a price point that is very important to DDS users.

Four lengths of VXA-2 tape cartridges and a cleaning cartridge are also available, allowing customers to select a cartridge native capacity from 20GB to 80GB to meet their exact storage needs for better control over their cost of ownership. VXA-2 also delivers full read and write compatibility with VXA-1, protecting the investment of users who have already standardized on VXA-1 technology.

"Why should VARs and end users look for an alternative to DDS technology for back up and restore? The simple reason: all tape technology is not created equal," Ward says. "DDS has out-lived its usefulness. VXA is better suited for customers' current and future storage needs. With its ground-breaking Packet Technology, Exabyte is poised to step in with greater capacity, faster transfer rates and superior reliability with our VXA-2 tape drive."

For more information, contact, call 303-442-4333 or visit

VXA-2 vs. DDS-4 & DAT72

VXA-2 has 4x the capacity of DDS-4; more than 2x of DAT72

VXA-2 has 2x the speed of both DDS-4 and DAT72

VXA-2 has at least 5x the reliability of both DDS-4 and DAT72

VXA-2 pricing is similar to both DDS-4 and DAT72

VXA-2 has superior automation solutions

VXA-2 has a long-term product roadmap with rapidly increasing capacity and speed
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Publication:Computer Technology Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2003
Previous Article:Storage over SONET/SDH connectivity. (Internet).
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