Iomega Looks To Replace Tape With REV Disk In Small Business, SOHO

The San Diego-based company, best-known for its Zip and Jazz removable cartridge drives, this week introduced its REV line of removable hard drives.

With REV, the electronics of the hard drive are built into an external device, with the drive itself consisting of the spindle motor and media in a standard 2.5-inch format, said Brian Reeves, product manager for the REV line.

Because the drives are removable, they can be used for data backup, archiving, and data restoration or disaster recovery, Reeves said. "It's a direct competitor against tape," he said. "Everybody hates tape. Iomega has solved the removability question of disk-to-disk backup."

Iomega is targeting small businesses and SOHOs who either currently do backups with tape drives based on such technologies as Travan, DDDS, VS80 and AIT-1, as well as those businesses who are not doing any backup at all, Reeves said.

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REV drives offer fast backups and restores and unlike tape drives never need cleaning, he said.

In case of a disaster, businesses can quickly recover with REV drives by repairing or replacing the PC's or server's original hard drive, booting the PC, restoring the system from the REV drive, and then rebooting the PC, Reeves said. Because the REV is a hard drive, the original boot after a disaster can be done from the REV, he said.

The drives include the Iomega Automatic Backup Pro software, as well as Symantec's Norton Ghost for REV Drive software. The drives also work with Veritas Backup Exec and Dantz Retrospect backup software, which treats them as tape drives. The ability to boot from a REV drive after a disaster will come when Iomega releases its Boot and Run software, sometime in 2004.

The REV drives currently have a capacity of 35 Gbytes per drive. With tape-compression software, capacity is 90 Gbytes, Reeves said. Second-generation models, expected in the next 18 months or so, are planned with 90 Gbytes of raw capacity and 230 Gbytes of compressed capacity, he said. Iomega's road map calls for follow-up models with 180 Gbytes raw and 460 Gbytes compressed capacity, followed by others with 360 Gbytes raw and 920 Gbytes compressed capacity.

For now, the USB version of the REV, including one removable hard drive cartridge, is priced at $399, compared to $379 for an internal ATAPI version. Extra 35-Gbyte disks are priced at $60 each, or $200 for a four-pack.

BDT, a German-based manufacturer of tape autoloaders on an OEM basis for such vendors as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Quantum, and ADIC, is currently evaluating building autoloaders based on the REV drive with total raw capacities of over 4 Tbytes, Reeves said.