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October 27, 1999

IBM Will Be First With LTO Drives Through StorageSmart

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp says it will be ready to introduce its first products based on Linear Tape Open technology in the first quarter of next year. Using the LTO Ultrium format, the drives will be branded IBM StorageSmart and sold through OEM channels as well as distributors, and also through IBM’s own Personal Systems Group for the Netfinity line of Intel-based servers.

StorageSmart will be IBM’s first home grown product for the mid- range tape storage market, currently dominated by Quantum Corp with DLT7 and DLT8 digital linear tape products. IBM says it expects the new range to sell into the mid-range Unix and NT server marketplace, giving it an increased opportunity to get to new customers. Magstar – from which the Ultrium technology was originally derived – will remain as IBM’s high-end tape product line. IBM says it has more than a dozen computer and storage OEMs evaluating the new StorageSmart drives, including Fujitsu Siemens Computers NV and ATL Products Inc, the tape library division of Quantum.

IBM’s own Netfinity servers will support StorageSmart Ultrium drives from early next year, and automatic tape backup products in the second quarter of 2000. The addition will give IBM mid- range customers access to high-performance disaster readiness and near online storage needed for e-business applications, according to IBM.

LTO – the open tape format proposed last year for mid-range systems by IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co and Seagate Technology Inc – is an industry brand, as are the two LTO formats, Ultrium for high capacities of 100Gb, and the dual-reel Accelis for fast access. Licensees of LTO can market the systems under their own brands. Companies can license LTO formats and specifications direct, or go to one of the individual technology providers for ready made products. The first evaluation units for Ultrium became available last month. Further LTO announcements are expected in the weeks before Comdex, which starts on November 15.

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