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Compaq doubles tape drive size

The PC maker doubles the capacity of its standard Digital Linear Tape drive to 70GB.

Compaq Computer (CPQ) has doubled the capacity of its standard Digital Linear Tape drive to 70GB and complemented the release with a new line of tape arrays and libraries.

DLT, a variety of magnetic storage tape from Quantum (QNTM), has become the technology to watch in the tape storage arena, analysts say.

Compaq's new DLT drive comes with 35 native gigabytes in storage and a capacity for 70GB in compression. Previously, Compaq's largest DLT drive had a capacity of 15 to 30 GB, spokesman Jim Cortese said.

The new drive comes separately or in the new Tape Array II or rack-mountable cartridge library. The Tape Array II can hold up to four of the new drives for a storage capacity of 280GB. Data can be stored directly on disks or broken up and stored across a team of drives in a process known as "data striping." Data striping makes the information less susceptible to destruction, analysts said.

The DLT tape library holds up to 15 tape cartridges, which are managed by a robotic arm. Overall, the library has a 450GB capacity. In addition, Compaq released the Smart-2DH Raid Array Controller for storage management.

"DLT is the medium of choice for library systems," said Robert Amatruda, senior research analyst at International Data Corporation. "By the year 2000, it will probably double in revenue."

DLT sales grew by 52 percent in 1995 and close to 30 percent in 1996, he said. By contrast, other tape storage technology grew only by 7 percent to 10 percent. As database work increases, so will the tape arena, he added.

Quantum acquired DLT technology from Digital Equipment (DEC) in 1994. The company licenses DLT to a variety of manufacturers.

The new larger drive comes with an estimated price of $8,807 for internal drives and $9,034 for external. The DLT tape Array II is priced at $36,000, while the tape library costs $13,068. The Smart-2DH Array Controller will sell from $2,250.

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