Imation has taken the wraps off a RFID-based removable tape cartridge tracking system, in a move that raises questions about the technology's data center potential. (See Imation Intros Tape Tracking.)
Due to ship in April, Imation's DataGuard rf includes Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for LTO, DLT, 3590, 34x0, 9x40, 3592, and T10000 tape cartridges. Tagged cartridges are scanned via a mobile reader or pad. A special carrying case holds up to 20 cartridges, which can be scanned inside the case. Imation uses VaultLedger tape management software from B&L to track the RFID-tagged cartridges.
For now, DataGuard rf can be used to log in a tape cartridge at a start location, then log it in again at a destination site. If the records don't match, you've done an Iron Mountain! (See Iron Mountain Marches On and Smoke Clears for Iron Mountain.) However, in the "early second quarter," Imation plans to deliver an integral GPS system that will automatically track tagged cartridges.
No beta users were available to comment on the product, Imation said, and pricing hasn't been set. But a standard kit containing RFID hardware and B&L software will sell for "under $40,000," according to Tim Bjork, Imation's market development manager, Americas region.
Imation isn't the first vendor to work with RFID as a data center inventory tool. HP did live tests on a RFID-based asset tracking system last year. (See Can RFID Unwire Data Centers?) But Tim Osbeck, operations and technical support manager at Meijer, a Grand Rapids, Mich., retailer that tested HP's prototype, hasn't heard a peep from HP about the system since.