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What will replace DDS? The media answers. (DDS Replacement).

No one has a more informed understanding of tape than the companies that make it--nor a bigger stake in the eventual DDS replacement. To gain their insight, CTR recently asked Emtec, Fujifilm, Imation, Maxell, Sony, TDK, and Verbatim to answer these questions: 1) Which technology is likely to be the successor to DDS? Why? 2) What media formulations or technologies are available to give the DDS successor added value? 3) What should VARs and Integrators know about media that will help them make the best tape technology decisions?

What follows are excerpts from their answers.

Which Technology Is Likely To Be The Successor To DDS? Why?

1 EMTEC: The biggest problem with DDS was many proprietary recording techniques and the lack of interchangeability. The most logical choice for replacement of DDS Technology is Linear Tape Open (LTO). LTO Technology incorporates all of the best recording techniques such as advanced head and servo technology, serpentine recording, and a Cartridge Memory (CM) chip imbedded in the cartridge to store pertinent tape information.

2 FUJIFILM: This is a difficult question to answer, since it is unlikely that any one technology will be the successor to DDS. It is important to point out that we at Fujifilm still see considerable market demand for the DDS product category. The DDS technology has loyal user support, and at least several more years of healthy business ahead. We are still seeing strong drive sales (particularly in the DDS3 and DDS4 products), and the tape media business remains healthy.

3 IMATION: Most likely, there will not be one single technology that will be the successor to DDS. DDS has such a large share of the removable media market and has characteristics that are diverse. For those seeking higher performance and are less concerned about cost, DLT offers an excellent alternative. Recordable CD and DYD offers those on a budget a cost-effective solution. If higher capacity is needed, then Travan offers a backup solution with over 29 times that of CD-RLRW and three to nine times that of DVD at an attractive price. And users that need a scalable and reliable backup system with the ability to read older generations of drives would do well with SLR technology.

4 MAXELL: Various capacity, performance and cost issues will come into play when choosing a new technology. I think that since there are so many choices, the companies with the big marketing budgets and sales infrastructures will win this market. So look for LTO and DLT tape technologies to win most of the DDS upgrade market.

5 SONY: The push for DDS users to upgrade to another format will come from at least one of the following: the need for more capacity, the need for faster transfer rates, and the need to increase the level of automation. Because the specifics of each user situation vary, it is natural that no single format will be the optimal choice for all users. For many current DDS users, however, migrating to an MT-based system would be an excellent choice.

AIT's combination of improved capacity, faster transfer rates, and full automation support meet the migration needs of many DDS users. To obtain these improvements with a small, familiar two-spool cartridge, that uses the same helical-scan methods as DDS and at prices starting in the DDS range, is the icing on the cake!

6 TDK: At TDK, we believe that there may be several successors to DDS product. However, due to the channel base that is being discussed here, particularly large corporation and government installations, the changeover may take some time. But, when DDS does slowly evaporate the likely successors will be LTO, S-DLT and DVD products (probably in multiple formats). LTO and S-DLT currently boast capacities of up to 200GB of memory capacity, whereas DVD products will probably only push into the 30GB range. Of course, it always depends on what is necessary for each site but typically the larger installations will use LTO or SDLT.

7 VERBATIM: Good Question. There really is a vacuum in that space as there is no clear successor to DDS...some of the obvious contenders are Sony's AIT technology, Onstream's ADR technology, Exabyte's VXA technology as well as Benchmark's DLT drives. All offer more performance and capacity, and some are less expensive than DDS technology.

Right now, the backup market served by DDS offers several compelling alternatives, each with particular advantage or disadvantages. The good news is, there seems to be room for competition in this segment, and proprietary solutions can come to the forefront with large-scale OEM adoptions.

What Media Formulations or Technologies Are Available To Give the DDS Successor Added Value?

1 EMTEC: There are many hardware and media vendors that are currently licensed and offer LTO drives and tape. The current media is Metal Particle with a native capacity of 100GB and a compressed capacity of 200GB. Data Transfer speeds are up to 40MB per second. These capacities and transfer rates will meet the needs of most customers including large networks. LTO technology also offers a migration path that will carry the product out well into the future.

2 FUJIFILM: Products that compete for this space will certainly need to offer users higher capacity, faster performance, and excellent reliability. The increased use of automation can also be expected to be a factor in this market segment. Other items that could be a factor include the need for a clear migration path and backward compatibility (critical in the success of DDS) as well as the form factor of the cartridge (users like the small size of DDS tape). Fujifilm has a long history of technology leadership in this area, as demonstrated by our ATOMM technology, a key contributor to the development of products such as DLT tape IV, DDS4, and LTO Ultrium tapes, as well as Zip disks. We expect that our recently announced NANO CUBIC technology will also play a key role as tape drive manufacturers look to push the bar even higher.

3 IMATION: All new tape formulations today revolve around advanced metal particle or metal evaporated media on thin film backing. For recordable optical, drives are packing in more density with shorter wavelength lasers that are able to create smaller recording spots on the media. Optical media is moving from single side single layer to dual side, multiple layers.

4 MAXELL: The reason DDS customers are faced with a upgrade decision is because the DDS migration path has presumably ended. Otherwise, DDS is a terrific product and users are happy and loyal. They won't migrate until they have too. When they do, future capacity migration capability will be an important factor in choosing a new technology. For example, Super DLT tape technology will be capable of reaching 1.0+ TB on a single cartridge in the years to come with various capacity milestones along the way.

5 SONY: The MT format is completely different--instead of using magnetic particles in a coating process to make the tape, it uses metal vapor deposition to build a magnetic layer made of almost pure magnetic Cobalt. Unlike coated tapes, that are usually less than 50% magnetic material, and at least 50% binders and fillers, MT tape media has no binders--only active magnetic metal. This is one of the reasons that AIT can pack so much information into a small cassette, and that means the media is no longer the limiting factor for recording density.

6 TDK: The benefit of current LTO and S-DLT products as well as future generations is simply their capacity and transfer rate. Typically, DDS products only store up to 20GB of capacity which does not serve the needs of the data that is being saved on a daily basis in today's environment. Even DLT IV, predecessor to S-DLT only had a 40GB (native capacity) and 80GB (compressed capacity); S-DLT will easily superpass that at 110GB (native). And, LTO already launched over one. year ago also provided instant relief to the storage of mass amounts of data at 100GB (native).

Regarding transfer rates, there is another clear advantage. DDS has transfer rates of 3MB/sec. DLTIV has transfer rates of 6MB/sec whereas, LTO has 20-40MB/sec. S-DLT also has this advantage at a max. of 16MB/sec. As far as transfer rates, LTO is the clear winner but capacity puts LTO and S-DLT at basically a draw.

7 VERBATIM: In terms of added value, Onstream's original ADR versions (Echo) offer a cataloging capability that allows you to restore any prior version of a particular file, as well as identifying which tape volume it is located on. Onstream's ADR2 (Tapeware XE) offers remote administration and Disaster Recovery for fast restores. Both versions offer continuously variable recording speed that can increase throughput and a complete choice of interface options.

Benchmark's solutions offer the flexibility of selection of media sources on the earlier products, as well as automation. options. Their newest drives are half height, malting physical integration easier. Their newest drive with 160GB capacity uses new AME media and cartridge manufactured to their specifications.

Exabyte's VXA technology offers variable rate recording and also has several automation options.

What Should VARs and Integrators Know About Media That Will Help Them Make the Best Tape Technology Decisions?

1 EMTEC: Because of the truly open standards and wide array of vendors currently offering LTO Tape Products, the possibilities, for VARs and Integrators are endless. From a single drive with only a few tape cartridges to robotic storage units that hold thousands of cartridges, any customer storage requirements can be satisfied. Bundling the software is convenient because most backup software products currently support LTO technology. As customer' storage requirements increase the LTO migration path offers easy upgrade capabilities. LTO is also an excellent solution for disaster recovery because of the interchangeability and large storage capacities.

2 FUJIFILM: It is important for VARs and integrators to understand the important role that the tape media plays in the development of next-generation tape drives. The media companies and the tape drive companies work closely together to develop new products offering higher performance and capacities for users.

3 IMATION: VAR's and Integrators must help their customers make the right decision. It's like seat belts. You can be fine for years without them, until the one day you have an accident. The same is true for their customer's backup system. The VAR's should select backup systems supported by companies that have been in business a long time, that have developed reliable platforms, have world class technical and customer support, that have roadmap and migration plans and have good, reliable media with low error rates for the life of the tape.

4 MAXELL: VARs and Integrators should know that as capacity per cartridge increases, it is critical to choose a robust, tried and true format. Reliability and durability are the qualities that count when data needs to be restored. I think that DLT tape has demonstrated this feature and while. LTO is a newer format, I think it promises the same performance.

5 SONY: Here is a 'short list' of factors that are likely to be important when VARs and integrators' make their choice:

A. Total storage. capacity, both current and expected over the next several years.

B. For backup, the available backup window, which dictates the required data transfer rate.

C. The available space--not only for the storage system itself, but for the backup tapes, taking the retention requirements into account.

D. The storage budget.

E. The nature of the information retrieval.

Based on the. evaluation of these factors, integrator/VARs can be confident that a storage system that meets these requirements, and is backed by a reputable company, will be a good choice.

6 TDK: This is very important to know for any VAR, integrator and/or end user. LTO is an open format. This means that any brand of LTO media that complies with the LTO (see standard will be compatible with LTO hardware products. The LTO technology was developed jointly by HP, IBM, and Seagate to provide a clear alternative to backup. tape storage solutions. Therefore, ultimately, an end user doesn't need to have the same brand of media as hardware as long as it complies with these standards.

S-DLT, on the other hand, is not an open format (similar to DLT products of its earlier development). Given this difference between open and closed format types, there may be severe competition as both formats vie for the same tape backup storage market.

7 VERBATIM: Involve the user before making a technology recommendation. Find Out which features are most important to their application (a familiar backup software, interface requirements, DR capability, backup window, data rates, automation support capacity roadmap, etc.) and steer them towards technology offering those options. By listening to what's important to them, you'll avoid making a recommendation based on pure performance or hardware/media cost specifications. By helping the user understand the options and making their decisions, you've added value as well. And users will always support their solutions more enthusiastically than your solution. Bottom line, users will need to pick through the benefits most important to their application and evaluate the total package against their criteria.

Special thanks to George Pannhausen, senior applications engineer at EMTEC Multimedia; Jeff Ash, vice president of marketing, Computer Products Division at Fuji Photo Film USA; Robert Herman, market development manager, entry level server products at Imation; Rich Gadomski, director of marketing at Maxell; Kevin Henderson, director of marketing, data media products at Sony; Chris Bailey, director of recording media at TDK; and Mark Rodgers, tape product manager at Verbatim.
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Article Details
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Publication:Computer Technology Review
Article Type:Panel Discussion
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2002
Previous Article:Autoloaders help overcome DDS capacity shortcomings: now, even price-sensitive businesses are looking at automation. (DDS Replacement).
Next Article:Data protection SLA's: measuring their effectiveness. (Storage Networking).

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