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QUANTUM GOES FOR SEAGATE’S HIGH END STORAGE MARKET

Quantum Corp is forging ahead with its drive to steal high-end storage market share from rival Seagate Technology Corp (CI No 3,162), with additions to its Atlas and Viking disk drive range. The Milpitas, California company says it has carried out extensive research of customer requirements, and accordingly segmented its market into the high end enterprise server segment, and the personal or high performance workstation sector. The Atlas III is the company’s enterprise storage drive, designed for multi-user applications with terabytes of data requiring multiple drives, such as datawarehousing or transaction processing. The range includes a 4.55Gb, 9.1Gb or 18.2Gb drive. For the Viking II range, the company says it stripped some of the multiple drive and RAID capability out, to provide a drive at a suitable price for the high performance or personal server market. The Viking II offers either a 4.55Gb or 9.1Gb drive. Both the Atlas and Viking run at 7,200 revolutions per minute. Quantum also claims both ranges are among the first in the industry to offer an Ultra 2 Low Voltage Differential SCSI interface, and the company says this comes at no extra charge. The Ultra2 LVD interface apparently doubles bus transfer rates between drives to 80 Mbps. It also improves signal integrity, which increases the number of drives that can be connected to the bus to 16 from 8, and increases the cable distance to 40ft from 5ft. Brendan Collins, Quantum’s workstation and system storage group product line manager, believes Ultra 2 SCSI will extend the life of parallel SCSI well beyond the year 2,000, and reckons it will continue to account for about 85% of interfaces, the remainder being fiber channel, which is due to be available on Atlas III by the middle of next year. The company is also planning to introduce 10,000 RPM drives, but says it has put this back to late 1998 or early 1999, because the major concerns at this speed are power consumption and thermal output, and Quantum is working with its OEM customers on suitable designs. The company reckons Seagate currently dominates the high end storage market with a 50% to 60% share, and Quantum puts its own share at 15% to 20%. It plans to grow this to 25% by next year by having products that ‘outperform the competition’. The company’s desktop storage products division has also announced an upgraded version of its Fireball drive, the Fireball SE, which increases capacity to 2.1Gb, and enables up to 8.4Gb with 4 platters. It will be available by the end of the summer. The Atlas III and Viking II drives are due at the end of the year. Atlas pricing is 4.5Gb $745, 9.1Gb $1,095, 18.2Gb $1,995, and Viking is 4.5Gb $595 and 9.1Gb $895.

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