World's First: DAT320
Showed by Tandberg but Sony-Made
At SNW in Frankfurt, Germany,
Tandberg Data exhibited the first DAT320, being the
next generation of tape drive with a native capacity of
160GB and transfer rate at 12MB/s. It will be available
at $899 - to be compared to
$749 for current Tandberg DAT160 and approximately
$40 for the media
That's the seventh generation of DAT with twice
the capacity and 2.4 times the transfer rate of preceding DAT160. The first
DDS/DAT unit was launched in 1989 by the HP/Sony tandem in competition with
German start-up Gigatape with its own Data DAT format, both of them based on
audio 4mm tapes.
It's rare to see a distributor like Tandberg being the first to show a new
product. It's generally the manufacturer itself. Here it's Sony but the new
device was not on its booth at SNW.
More precisely, HP is at the origin of DAT160, a completely new format compared
to the former generation as it used 8mm - and not 4mm - tape cartridges. In UK,
HP's engineers developed a new mechanism and the company was manufacturing the
units, resold also by Quantum. For DAT 72 and DAT160, Sony decided not to
participate, preferring to focus on its AIT technology, only providing the
helical scan head and, of course, the media.
This time, it's different and more complicated. The new devices will be totally
manufactured by Sony in Japan. First units appear in this country last August
and will ship in Europe few days. HP and Tandberg will sell them - but not Sony.
According to chairman and CEO Rick Belluzzo, Quantum has decided to quit the
low-end tape market and will not handle the DAT320 - its DAT160 came from HP -.
We are waiting to see if IBM, engaged in DAT since many years, will resell the
new drive. Dell continues to offer 4mm DAT72 (36GB) but not the most recent 8mm
The increase capacity of DAT320 is mainly the result of the replacement of Metal
Particle (MP) by Sony's Advanced Metal Evaporated (AME) that was already used
for the latest version of Exabyte Mammoth, VXA and Sony's AIT, all of them with
8mm tapes. The length of the tape remains the same: 150 meters. TDK will also
probably be one of the second sources for the DAT320 cartridges.
The DAT 320 will be read and write compatible with DAT 160, but not at all with
the former generations. It supports WORM media, compression, now encryption, USB
or SAS interface, with a lower power consumption than the preceding models (6.1W
in operation vs. 10.3W). The access time to the data is the same, 50s, but the
average load/unload time is a little longer (45s vs. 35s) and strangely, the
rewind time much longer (120s vs. 92s).
DAT 320 at BackupWorks