Sony to meet expected storage demand


Sony to meet expected storage demand

Despite the falling price of hard disk drives, tape storage is still a common choice for low-cost data back-up. Demand for tape drives with a capacity of 20GB or less is expected to shrink dramatically as drives with a capacity of 400GB or more increasingly become a mainstream choice for back-up storage systems, said Masashi Takao, a director at Sony's tape streamer business division.

To meet this expected shift in demand, Sony is working on development of its Advanced Intelligent Tape (AIT) format, which reached its third generation in October. Sony has doubled AIT's capacity and transfer speed with each new generation, Takao said.

AIT3 offers a capacity of 100GB per tape and a data transfer speed of 12Mbps. The company plans to keep doubling AIT's capacity and transfer speed until AIT6, which is expected to hold 800GB per tape with a data transfer speed of 96Mbps by 2007, Takao said.

Development of AIT6 is expected to be made possible as a result of a breakthrough at Sony's research labs. The company succeeded in recording data at a density of 6.5GBpsi, which would allow an 8mm AIT-sized tape to have a capacity of 1TB.

Sony also announced a licensing alliance with Matsushita to develop the Super AIT format. By changing the size of the tape's cartridge to match competing larger standards such as DLT, Super DLT and linear tape open (LTO), Super AIT tapes can hold five times more data than AIT tapes, said Yuji Takahashi, a spokesman for Sony.

Other companies planning to roll out Super AIT products include Spectra Logic and Qualstar.

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