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Disk Cartridges Aim to Challenge Tape

At least two companies are working on removeable disk systems for enterprise backup and archiving. And if they manage to deliver the goods, IT pros, particularly ones in small and medium-sized businesses, might have a handy new option.

Startup ProStor Systems, for instance, unveiled today a technology called RDX, comprising a 2.5-inch removeable disk drive cartridge with capacities from 60 Gbytes to 400 Gbytes, designed for server backup. (See ProStor Intros Backup Tech.)

The startup, which was founded in May 2004, claims its "disk to removeable disk" technique comes with automatic error-correction, making it more reliable than earlier single-drive storage solutions from the likes of Iomega. The vendor says its proprietary cartridges will last 20 years, and officials claim their own tests show data transfer rates of 30 to 60 Mbytes per second (compared with 5 Mbytes per second or so for tape cartridge backup).

"We want to be half the price of tape drives with better performance," crows Steve Georgis, CEO, whose resum includes stints at Exabyte, StorageTek, and Data General.

If it sounds too good to be true, it may be. ProStor, which has $8.7 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates, Boulder Ventures, and Western Technology, says evaluation units are available now to OEMs. But pricing is still up in the air -- though in volume, the vendor would like to charge less than $1 per Gbyte, according to Georgis -- and so far, info on beta sites is indefinite as well. "We have beta customers under NDA," is all the CEO will say.

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