Imation Tape Drive Emulator on Tap

It’s a tape cartridge. No, a disk drive. With Imation’s Ulysses
“disk-enhanced” removal media cartridge, it’s easy to be fooled.

The Oakdale, Minn.-based company said it’s the first to integrate a hard
disk drive into a standard LTO Ultrium tape cartridge form factor for use in
a tape library.

The Imation Ulysses serial ATA 2.5-inch drive fits in any
standard tape bay and is recognized by the host, backup software and storage
management software as a standard tape drive, the company said.

The first release is planned for early next year.

“It’s a significant product because in today’s economy with applications
running 24×7 backing up solely by tape isn’t enough; we need something
quicker,” Dianne McAdam, analyst with Data Mobility Group, told

“The Imation product isn’t blazingly fast but
because it’s a drive you can access files randomly, you don’t have to spin
all the way back to the end of a tape to find what you need like you often
do with tape.”

Pricing details are slated to be released later this year. Imation did
say it plans to deliver “the performance of disk at almost the same cost as

Analyst McAdam noted it’s hard to compare directly to tape cartridge
prices as a whole as they can vary significantly between brand names and
more generic offerings.

“This is not a replacement technology, but its compatibility with tape
environments is a key benefit,” said McAdam. “There are a lot of other ways
to speed up storage, but they involve changing the backup process, and people
don’t want to touch what already works.”

Backups can be written to a Ulysses drive then migrated using
third-party software to high-capacity tape later for disaster recovery or
long-term retention

“We believe the Ulysses solution enhances the performance of tape by
allowing businesses to realize the high-speed performance benefits of disk
without experiencing the high costs of forklift disk-to-disk upgrades,” said
James Ellis, general manager of global product strategy at Imation in a statement.

“Because it can easily be integrated into current tape library systems, the
Ulysses solution provides users with a less expensive alternative.”

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