Sony's SAIT-1 Tape Drives Do The Worm

Simi Valley, Calif.-based Qualstar was the first Sony partner to unveil tape libraries incorporating Sony's SAIT-1 WORM drives. Spectra Logic is currently qualifying the WORM drives.

Islandia, N.Y.-based Computer Associates International is also supporting WORM SAIT-1 drives in its BrightStor ARCserve backup software, while Walnut Creek, Calif.-based XenData is offering similar support with its XenData Archive software.

Hard disk arrays using low-cost ATA or Serial ATA hard drives are gradually replacing tape drives, especially in the compliance and regulatory space. Vendors including EMC are offering disk arrays targeting this space, while several ISVs have introduced products to give such capabilities to arrays regardless of manufacturer.

Channel reaction to Sony's announcement has been mixed.

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Dan Carson, vice president of marketing and business development at Open Systems Solutions, a Yardley, Pa.-based storage solution provider, said his company installs a high number of tape drives, and financial services companies are especially interested in WORM technology. The low cost and long life of tape drives also keeps them popular.

"If you keep data on rotating disk, you pay a lot to keep it rotating," Carson said.

Warrensville Heights, Ohio-based Chi also sells a lot of tape libraries, but has had no requests for WORM-based tape, said Greg Knieriemen, Chi's vice president of marketing. Plus, Knieriemen stressed that the market's overall choice of media has yet to be decided.

"Is the market moving to disk or tape?" Knieriemen said. "For now, we'll wait and see."