Iomega's new REV Drive is aimed at the system administrator look-ing for faster backup and retrieval. It uses high-capacity cartridges and offers faster read/write speeds and random access than tape-based systems.
Essentially a hard disk in two parts, the REV Drive's pre-formatted cartridges contain a 32.4GB platter, spindle hub and motor, while the chassis holds the rest. It employs UDF 1.2 formatting to avoid the size and media limitations of FAT32 and NTFS, which also makes it a plug-and-play removable drive. This version is an external USB 2.0 unit, but an internal ATAPI drive is also available, with FireWire and SCSI currently in the pipeline.
At $699, a single REV Drive and cartridge will cost you about half as much as a typical DDS-4 (digital data storage) tape drive, but the $89 cartridges are more than twice the price of a 20GB DDS-4 tape. However, each one can be rewritten up to a million times, and won't suffer from data loss caused by dirty heads or stretching. Seek time is quoted as a maximum of 25ms, while data transfer rates are typically between 14 and 20MBps. The cartridges can also be made bootable, assuming your BIOS is fairly contemporary.
With software for incremental or complete system backups, plus the ability to compress up to 90GB of data onto a single disk, the REV Drive is easy to recommend to anyone who manages a rotating backup or medium/large data archival system. Consumers should stick to a removable hard disk, while enterprise users may want to wait for the planned higher-capacity versions and cartridge autoloader.
In brief: Iomega REV DriveAn excellent replacement for medium-sized tape backup systems; larger organisations may prefer to wait for SATA drives and the proposed autoloader.
Price: $699 (includes cartridge)
Phone: (02) 9925 7700