Iomega Drives on to Exile Tape

Iomega is expanding its rack mount offerings with the StorCenter Pro NAS 200rL Linux Server, aimed at the small business and home office environment.

“It’s a solution for companies needing that next step in storage, and provides very good performance at a great price point,” Tom Kampfer, president and COO, told

The servers hold four SATA-II drives that can be configured for RAID or JBOD . The hot swappable drives can be removed without interruption, and built-in print server capability lets users share up to four USB printers.

Active Directory Services support allows domain user and group compatibility with Windows, and EMC Retrospect Express offers backup and disaster recovery protection.

It’s the newest additions to the NAS line since last September when Iomega introduced StorCenter Pro NAS 200r 1TB Server and the Pro NAS 150d 3TB Server.

“Small businesses are data-driven, and e-mail is a big driver. There is also more multimedia content, which is dense content, that has to be stored,” said Kampfer.

Client support includes Windows, Mac OS X 10.2.7 or higher and Linux distributions including Red Hat 9, Mandrake10, Debian 3.0 and Fedora Core 3.

The latest NAS offerings will hopefully bang another nail in the coffin for tape technology, says Iomega’s chief. “We think tape should die as there just isn’t any rational benefit,” Kampfer says, stating storage drive technologies are cheaper, faster and more secure.

“About 25 to 30 percent of our customers are replacing tape, which is great. Another 30 percent are getting rid of optical drives. Tape will continue to decline, it’s just that old habits die hard and change is sometimes difficult,” he said.

The death of tape won’t happen soon, Robert Amatruda, IDC research director for tape and removable storage, told, though Iomega’s taking an aggressive approach, he says.

“Tape is growing and contracting in some areas and it’s definitely under pressure,” the analyst says. Some of that pressure, said the analyst, is tied to Iomega’s refresh of its REV product line that boosts capacity to 120GB.

Calling the REV platform, which debuted
in 2003, “a proven technology that delivers performance and ruggedness that no tape product can match,” Kampfer says the third generation provides higher capacity for the best price.

The REV 120GB Backup Drive features transfer rates of up to 35MB per second and an estimated 30-year archival life. It can hold 48,000 photos, 2,000 hours of music or 12 hours of HD video. Pricing information will be released closer to shipment starting in April, according to Iomega.

The first REV product, the 35GB, debuted four years ago and the 70GB drive arrived in 2006.

REV technology divides a hard drive’s components into a drive bay and removable disk. The drive head and electronics live in the drive, and a hard disk platter and bearing motor live in the disk. This, explains Kampfer, makes for a rugged durable tape replacement option.

Amatruda describes the REV enhancement and its installed user base of 350,000 drives and two million disks as “milestones.”

“Iomega has innovated to a capacity point that is not an easy feat. The disk install base is a good benchmark of how the products are being received in the market.”

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