I, too, am in the market for a new tape drive. Here's what I've found:

Exabyte M2: 60GB,  12MB/s, $3777 ($80 media)
Sony AIT-2: 50GB,   6MB/s, $3289 ($94 media)
DLT 8000  : 40GB,   6MB/s, $3915 ($64 media)
Sony AIT-1: 35GB,   3MB/s, $1913 ($88 media)
VXA-1     : 33GB,   3MB/s,  $939 ($67 media)
DDS-4     : 20GB,   3MB/s, $1072 ($33 media)
Mammoth   : 20GB,   3MB/s, $2126 ($56 media)
DLT 4000  : 20GB, 1.5MB/s, $1352 ($64 media)
Mammoth-LT: 14GB,   2MB/s, $1193 ($35 media)
DDS-3     : 12GB,   1MB/s,  $777 ($16 media)
Eliant 820:  7GB,   1MB/s, $1160 ( $8 media)
DDS-2     :  4GB, .51MB/s,  $606 ( $7 media)

-Native capacity listed, compressed capacity is typically 50% more
-Sustained transfer rate listed
-Cost is based on internal model with wide SCSI connector (if available)
-VXA-1 tape drive is even cheaper through Ecrix July promo ($539)
-Media listed is highest capacity format in single packs

So, the fastest, highest capacity tape drive is the Exabyte 
Mammoth-2. Unfortunately, it's one of the most expensive as well.

My understanding is that DLT drives aren't well geared for the 
repetitive start-stop-start pattern of incremental backups done by 
Retrospect. DLT drives tend to overshoot the tape and thus spend a 
lot of their time rewinding. This drive is best suited for backing up 
a large continuous flow of data. Sound right?

I've used AIT's in the past and I've been very happy with them. A few 
broken tapes but it wasn't too difficult to disassemble the Seagate 
autoloader and remove the tape.

VXA-1 seems like the deal. Good capacity, fast performance, 
super-duper reliability, fantastic price. Unfortunately, it received 
the worst performance scores by PC Mag 
But, that test was against only the higher performance versions of 
the other tapes drives (M2, DDS-4, DLT 8000, and AIT-2).

DDS (aka DAT) is definitely the most popular, price is good, media's 
cheap. But, everyone I know with DDS drives has had perpetual 
reliability problems (both media and mechanism). Someone said that 
this had to do with the thinner tapes found in the DDS-2 drives and 
that the problem had gone away with the DDS-3 drives. Anyone verify 

So, which is the winner? For me, I'm torn between the VXA-1 and 
AIT-1. The PC Mag article made the VXA-1 look pretty bad but I'm 
thinking that it's just relative and that the performance numbers for 
the AIT-1 would be pretty similar. Plus the July Ecrix promo making 
the VXA 70% cheaper than the AIT forces me to try out the VXA. Even 
better, I can buy two VXA drives for less than the cost of one AIT 
drive and make a poor man's autoloader!

One last alternative, a friend of mine decided to skip the whole tape 
drive thing and buy a Quantum Snap Server 4000 ($2,469) instead. The 
Snap Servers ship with DataKeeper. Anyone have any experience with 
this? It only works under Windows but it allows "real-time" 
continuous back-up. On the Snap Server 4000, you get up to 120GB of 

The obvious drawbacks are:
-finite storage tops out at 120GB (or 90GB with RAID 5 enabled)
-no off-site backup
-no complete images of hard drives
-no historical backup

The advantages are:
-allows users to recover files without admin assistance
-high performance (hard drive vs. tape)
-real-time backup
-no backup server to maintain or purchase.

At 1:34 PM -0500 7/24/00, Robert Cooper wrote:
>Hello List,
>I am looking into DLT vs DDS for a tape library.  I went and read the old
>posts on the Ecrix and Mammoth DLT drives.  I was wondering what the user
>experience has been with them now, since it has been some months since these
>posts were put up.

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