Larry Acosta Wong posted this very nice chart to this list about two weeks
ago, and I hope he won't mind me reposting it here again. His VXA media cost
is from his reseller, who is selling for less than we do on our website.

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

-----Original Message-----
Of Steve Rothman
Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2000 12:11 PM
To: retro-talk
Subject: RE: VXA drive (was DDS-3 vs DDS-4?)

>Steve: You're killing me here. A two-year tape purchase in advance, but we
>won't get the sale?

Now that you're mentioning tape...

Your promotional drive prices are very nice. The "External Retrospect
Bundle" for $750 is slightly better than the LaCie DDS-3 + Retro
avail from MacWarehouse for $800.

But let's talk about tape prices. It looks to me like the VXA 33/66
cartridge costs about $75 from Ecrix. It's not hard to find a DDS-3
12/24 cartridge for $18. So it looks like on a pure $/GB basis, VXA
media costs about 50% more than DDS-3 ($2.27/GB for VXA vs $1.50/GB
for DDS-3).

And that ain't all. In the real world, my backup set is going to be
some arbitrary size, so in many cases the price differential gets
even worse. In my particular case, my backup set is about 25-30 GB
(native). So that ranges from 2 to 3 DDS3 carts ($18 - $54) or 1 VXA
cart ($75).

And I want to purchase about 10 "sets" worth of media, because I do
both "rotating" and also permanent archiving. It looks to me like
with DDS3 I can probably get started with about 25 or 30 tapes
($450-540), but with VXA media I'd need at least 10 tapes ($750). So
I would be paying two or three hundred dollars extra for VXA media.

And it could get worse - what if my requirements gradually grow to 35
or 40GB native per set? I believe getting a few extra DDS3 carts a
year or two down the road is going to be cheap and easy. We have no
idea what the availability or price will be for VXA in a year or two.

(I haven't even got into the prices for cleaning cartridges, but it
appears to me that the VXA cleaning cartridges are far more expensive
than DDS-3, but then I don't know how often either of them needs to
be used.)

Listen, I'm not at all trying to slam Ecrix or VXA. I'm very hopeful
that the technology works out and becomes a big player in the market,
with more vendor support, etc. For that matter, if I was to buy a
small system now for my home computer I would strongly consider your
product, because for a home scenario all I would need is the drive
and a couple tapes.

As far as my self-professed corporate clone attitude, I'd consider
taking a chance at the office on a new single-source backup product
IF it looked WAY better than the competition AND was WAY cheaper. In
many ways, VXA *does* look a little better to me than DDS-3 - BUT,
for my particular requirements, when you include the media, it is
more expensive, not at all cheaper. <final buzzer sounds here>

Am I risk averse?  Hell, yeah -- we are talking BACKUP here, after
all, what could be a more risk-averse topic?  -Steve

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