...in that case, go with Sony's AIT-2. The company is certainly in no danger
and they also have a road map to higher capacity and performance.
Both VXA and AIT use evaporated metal media rather than particulate
media making head life and drive reliability a plus.

Avoid cold/condensing environments for both of these 8mm helical scan drives.

If at all possible, get a demo unit and understand the issues surrounding
system/bus/LAN/drive bandwidth and loading. The variable speed feature
of the VXA drive could change the recommendation if tape shoe-shining
becomes a problem in your situation.

The AIT drives are more expensive but, that's the cost of the "insurance
policy" your boss favors.

On the other hand, your boss should ALWAYS plan on periodic replacement
of backup tape drives:

- tape drives are  mechanically complex devices and do wear out
- waiting for a backup device to fail before replacement is sabotage by neglect
- 2 drives are worth more than twice the price because they provide for offline
copying of backup sets and an additional method of troubleshooting problems

Disclaimer: I have no fiduciary interest in Ecrix or Sony
and use both AIT and VXA drives on a variety of systems and operating systems.


>I'm not planning on taking the discussion offlist, though I've had a few responses 
>offlist, and those have recommended Ecrix or AIT, so those are the leading contenders.
>My boss is really leery of Ecrix, no matter how much I push it. She's worried that, 
>should something happen to the company in two years or so (since they're the only one 
>doing this kind of tape/drive now), we won't have the $$ in our budget to purchase a 
>whole new system. I keep working on her. :)
>At 12:56 PM -0500 1/24/01, Tim David wrote:
>>I can't speak for everyone but I hope you keep this discussion on the list. If
>>it does happen to go off-line, I would greatly appreciate a copy of the final
>>There was a thread that went around a couple of months ago with price
>>comparisons for all of these different media types (including hardware and
>>media) but I'm sure it's already outdated.  The VXA drive from Ecrix looked
>>like it had potential for a smaller setup due to it's price of drives and
>>media. The media also looks very reliable according to the material on their
>>web site.  I am currently using DLT and it gets a little expensive to stay as
>>redundant as I would like to be.  I've noticed that Ecrix is coming out with
>>larger tape libraries, Does anyone think that will make it a more viable
>>solution or is AIT still the way to go?
>>Stephen Jones wrote:
>>> 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
>>> hours).
>>> 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!
>>> Steve
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