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Iomega 'REV's Up Its Storage Plans

In an effort to replace traditional tape-based data backups, storage legend Iomega Thursday announced the first product based on its Removable Rigid Disk (RRD) technology.

Dubbed the Iomega REV, the system comes configured with either external USB 2.0 or internal ATAPI internal. Both versions offer 35GB of native space (90GB if you compress it using the bundled Iomega Automatic Backup Pro software). The San Diego, Calif.-based company said the devices should be available as soon as March of 2004.

These RRD-configured disks are smaller than a deck of playing cards, and have an expected native maximum transfer rate of 22 megabytes-per-second.

"The Iomega REV drive is revolutionary, combining the high speed, reliability and ease of use of hard drive technology with low cost of tape," said Werner Heid, Iomega's president and CEO. "When our customers see how the price and performance advantages of the Iomega REV system transform their existing network and desktop backup systems, they won't go back to using high-maintenance tape drives, fragile tape backup media, or other removable storage options."

For Iomega, the RRD technology behind the new REV system represents the first big advance since the company released the 720-gigabyte NAS server to its family of NAS products last year. Made famous by the "Zip" drive that revolutionized tape data backups, Iomega has developed a variety of removable tape storage products since the rise of compact disc-storage began threatening the tape backup market in the late 1990s. he company

Compared to older backup methods, Iomega said its new RRD-oriented drives are faster, more durable, and easier to maintain. The drives also provide random access allowing users to copy or restore individual files in seconds, many times faster than is possible with tape.

"The tape backup market is ripe for a replacement technology that can lower costs and revolutionize performance," Heid noted, adding that the drives will cost less than $400, and that disks for the drives will cost approximately $49 each.

In related news, Iomega officials also announced plans to work with German manufacturer BDT GMBH & Co. K.G., to develop tape replacement autoloader products using the new RRD technology under the REV line. BDT currently supplies about 70 percent of the low-end autoloader market through Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) relationships with companies including Hewlett Packard , IBM , Quantum , and ADIC . Under the deal with Iomega, BDT would develop a full range of products, from full height 5.25-inch single drive products with 280 gigabytes of storage capacity to multi-drive 4U configurations with more than 4 terabytes of storage.

"BDT is very excited about Iomega's new RRD technology and the opportunity it provides to millions of end users to optimize their data management requirements," said Glenn Klein, BDT president and CEO. "With our combined technologies, we will be able to offer clients immediate random data access with online real-time throughput, plus online removable storage capability, all at entry level prices."

According to Klein, RRD technology was expected to debut in March 2004 in BDT's USB 2.0 and ATAPI configurations branded as the Iomega REV drive. Klein added that he expected BDT/Iomega autoloader products to arrive in the second half of next year.