Sony tapes its storage offerings

Sony has rounded out its tape-drive storage offerings with new Advanced Intelligent Tape (AIT) drives for the lower end of the market.

The vendor has just announced new entry-level tape drives: the internal SDX520B and the external AITE90UL. The internal drive uses an ATAPI-IDE interface and features 50GB uncompressed capacity with transfer rates of up to 21.5GB per hour. The drive is also backwards compatible with previous generations of the AIT technology. The external AITE90UL drive features USB 2.0 and IEEE1394 connectivity options for connection to a PC, Mac or notebook. It features 35GB capacity with a transfer rate of up to 14.4GB per hour.

Sony is well-known for its offerings in the optical storage market, but the vendor has in the past been very quiet about its tape solutions. That is about to change. Sony is rebranding its storage offerings under the StorStation moniker and this week will travel to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to brief channel partners on its new products and strategy.

Sony is hoping its new range will help boost its market share from 20 to 28 per cent in the next 12 months.

"Our new low-cost drives are where we see the additional growth," said Rhys Fagan, product manager for magnetic storage with Sony's mobile network products and network marketing group. "It's not just the high end that needs it; it's small business. As we see broadband take off, people are also going to need backup for the home."

The new drives will also be offered at the retail level and Sony is currently in discussions with Harvey Norman. But the vendor also has plans for the enterprise with its Super AIT (S-AIT) platform, which will be launched as a single drive but will also be available in auto-load versions further down the track.

"Tape is still the area of biggest growth for business storage," said Ian Morgan, Sony's group marketing manager for storage. "We are being constantly pressured by our channel partners to offer more storage solutions."

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