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July 5, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Aspen Peripherals Inc is looking to TPM Computer Services Ltd of London to spearhead its penetration of the European market. TPM, a third party maintenance and equipment distribution outfit, will be distributing the new B-482 computer cartridge tape drive and A-40 Control Unit from Aspen, the company headed up by former Storage Technology Corp chairman Jesse Aweida. The products have hitherto been available only in the US. Aspen of Boulder, Colorado, claims the B-482 is the first IBM plug-compatible, 18 track cartridge device available and that it is compatible with the IBM 3480 but cheaper at around UKP23,000 instead of UKP35,000. The B482 can be upgraded to support an autoload feature that handles up to 10 tape cartridges without operator intervention. The Aspen A480 Cartridge Tape Controllers are available in two models: the entry level A480-1 supports up to eight drives, and the A480-2, both having 2Mb of buffer memory. Two, three or four channel support is available on the A480-2 which Aspen says allows the customer to support twice the standard concurrent input-output with twice the standard buffer space. The A480-A2 Control Unit contains two separate Buffer Management Units, each an independent controller providing support for up to four drives with each tape drive permanently assigned 512Kb of buffer memory. The products will be offered both OEM and to IBM end users – Aspen is currently negotiating an OEM contract with a major European company. In April 1987 Aspen merged with Aweida Systems Corp to add maintenance, support, training and marketing to its US operation, and intends to use TPM similarly in the UK and Europe. TPM, with its UK base in southwest London, currently has offices in Benelux, France, Germany and is in the process of setting up an Iberian operation. Its third party management formula is to add consultancy, equipment staging and testing, transport, installation, and training to conventional maintenance, as well as supplying a range of hardware and software. These include Cardware, a facility that enables a DEC VAX user to run IBM PC-DOS software; Boardware, which enables the upgrading of a PDP-11/34 to an 11/84; the Britton Lee Relational Database System for both IBM and DEC users; Flexlink high speed local networking software designed to interconnect IBM and VAX systems as well as Apollo, Gould and Sun machines; and Unbound compact packaged PDP-11/23, 11/73 or MicroVAX II processors. Aspen forecasts worldwide sales of UKP10m this year for the tape drive and controller.

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