The Other Tape Contenders (March 1997)

The small systems world (PC's and workstations) has its own culture of backup media, some of which have been extended to make up quite credible robotic systems of multi-terabyte capacity.

Again the helical vs. Linear argument rages with a variety of linear contenders QIC, and Quantum's Digital Linear Tape (DLT). On the helical side of the equation we have the Exabyte, derived from the 8mm video standard, and digital systems using 4mm Digital Audio Tape. The place of these systems in the geophysical scheme of things is hard to evaluate. Exabyte is quite widely used in departmental backup and even in smaller processing shops, but these smaller systems have not really caught on in the mainstream seismic recording business. Is this prejudice?

An interesting contender also comes from IBM in the form of the "mini" Magstar MP (featured in th December 1996 edition of PDM). While IBM understandably do not wish to complicate matters by comparing the MP directly with the 3590, the price performance of MP is fairly astonishing. A US retail of $13,500 for the entry level 20 tape mini robot offers 100 GB uncompressed storage.

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