I would have to say AIT.  Sony pulled the plug on the proposed DDS-5 so I
wouldn't suggest that line at all (end of product life).  Also, DAT drives
have 1/5th the head life expectancy (10,000 hours instead of AIT's 50,000

DLT would definitely be better than DAT but is faced with the same situation
as 4mm.  The current best DLT is the 8000 series.  It's 40GB uncompressed by
6MB/second.  The Gen I version of the upcoming SuperDLT will *NOT* be
backward compatible.  Are you prepared to purchase something that will not
work with the very next version of the hardware?

AIT, also made by Sony, gives you two choices (AIT-1 and AIT-2).  AIT-1
(35GB/3MB/second uncompressed) inside a library costs less than $4500 and
holds 525GB uncompressed.  AIT-2 is 50GB by 6MB/second (and is considerably
less than a DLT library - it's also self-cleaning, DLT is not).

AIT-2 is backward compatible (read and write) with AIT-1.  You could start
with AIT-1 and upgrade to AIT-2 in the future should you need more capacity
and speed -- and use the very same library chassis.

AIT-3 (100GB by 12MB/second) is due out later this year and is backward
compatible with AIT-1 and 2.  When AIT-4 hits the street two years form now
(a proposed 200GB by 24MB/second), it too will be backward compatible with
all previous AIT generations.

DLT, up to a couple years ago, was definitely king of the hill.  But in the
game of technology, no one stands paramount indefinitely.  AIT has
definitely become more popular -- with a roadmap to larger/faster drives
while remaining backward compatible.  I was surprised to hear the news that
DLT could not offer backward compatibility with their upcoming SuperDLT
drive.  We have many DLT customers who will not be able to upgrade.  In
fact, because of that, a lot of our DLT customers have moved to AIT.

Please feel free to contact me with any tech questions, I have been a
storage engineer for ten years and work with all formats daily.

All the best!


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