Iomega's Latest Autoloader Designed To Replace Tape

Iomega on Thursday unveiled a new autoloader that uses removable disk cartridges instead of tape, and the company is looking to solution providers to take the solution to the small-business

March 9, 2006

3 Min Read
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Iomega on Thursday unveiled a new autoloader that uses removable disk cartridges instead of tape, and the company is looking to solution providers to take the solution to the small-business market.

Iomega's REV Loader 280 allows the automatic feeding of up to eight REV disk cartridges, said Robert Lutz, product line manager at the San Diego-based storage vendor. "It's the world's first desktop, hard drive-based data automation device," he said.

The REV Loader 280 works like a tape autoloader in that the user can load up to eight disk cartridges into slots inside the unit. Each REV disk has a native capacity of 35 Gbytes, or up to 70 Gbytes compressed, for a total capacity of up to 560 Gbytes. Inside is a positive-stop loading cartridge device that brings the right disk into the docking station for data backups and recovery as if it were a tape.

With the REV Loader 280, small businesses can do disk rotation in the same way they currently rotate tapes, such as one disk for each daily backup and one for the weekly backup, Lutz said. The disks then can be taken off-site for archival or disaster-recovery purposes.

The REV Loader 280 comes bundled with Computer Associates' BrightStor ARCserve Backup for Windows standard edition with a single server license and a disaster recovery CD. It connects to a Windows-based server via USB 2.0.Joshua Prince, general manager of Prime Systems, a Kaysville, Utah, solution provider, said his small-business customers have found REV disks to be a good alternative to tape because of their compact size and the fact that hard drives allow faster file restores than tape.

Though the typical small business can store all of its data on one REV disk, the REV Loader 280 autoloader appeals to customers who are used to tape rotations but prefer to get away from tape, according to Prince. "It automates the backup process, and the software reports on backup failures," he said.

The REV Loader 280 carries a street price of about $1,000, with each REV disk costing less than $50 when bought in packs of four drives. Including rails and mounting equipment and three drives, the cost to set up a customer with 200 Gbytes of capacity runs about $1,500, compared with roughly $4,000 for a SCSI tape drive and a 200-Gbyte cartridge, Prince said.

Iomega first started shipping the REV disks in April 2004 and has since sold more than 1 million units, Lutz said. Since the REV disks are based on hard-drive technology, their capacity is expected to double every couple of years. "Later this year, we will have announcements about capacity," he said.

Iomega is making the REV Loader 280 available through direct and indirect channels. "But autoloaders are aimed at the server level, not the desktop level, so there should be stronger interest among VARs and system integrators," Lutz said.Iomega isn’t the only storage vendor to introduce hard-drive technology designed to substitute for tape cartridges. Quantum earlier this week introduced its first hard-drive-based cartridge and docking station.

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