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Looking for alternative to 4mm dds tape backup

One of my sites has a failing 4mm dds tape drive. I don't want to do a direct replacement or 4mm upgrade due to maximum capacity limitations, so I'm considering going to an AIT-2 tape drive. I seen lots of enthusiastic recommendations for LTO drives but they're out of my budget.

Anyone know anything (good or bad) or have any experience with them? I've had very good luck with Sony DDS drives and am looking at their i130-A/S drive. I can get it for about 1/3 the cost of an LTO drive. One concern is product life cycle. Is this technolgy going to be around awhile or is it about to disappear?

All opinions welcome.

Terry

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