Sony's Sleek New StorStation

By Patricia Fusco | Posted May 12, 2003
Sony Electronics is helping small businesses automate tape backup processes with a family of convenient Advanced Intelligent Tape (AIT) desktop autoloaders. The sleek StorStation autoloaders are the latest in a line of small business storage solutions intended to make a regular backup regimen a working reality for smaller enterprises.

One AIT-1, AIT-2 or AIT-3 drive and eight tape cartridge slots are housed in the LIB-D81 to store more than a week's worth of high-capacity backup without daily manual tape changes. The tapes can be easily loaded and unloaded through the front door, making tape backup procedures a matter of setting it, and forgetting it — a least for a couple of weeks.

At just eight inches high, the StorStation autoloader is only slightly larger than a standalone drive, allowing for placement of the unit on a desktop or atop a server. The StorStation is connected through an Ultra SCSI port. It incorporates a user-friendly front panel with a message display and diagnostic lights to make backup easy for small businesses to regiment a backup system for critical data, even for those without IT training.

Michael Nixon, senior marketing manager for Sony Tape Storage Solutions, said the StorStation solves a couple of storage issues for small businesses.

"Some small businesses need to backup big files regularly, if they rely on a digital data storage system, they're constantly swapping tapes back and forth," Nixon said. "The AIT tape capacity resolves storage issues and the autoloader automates the backup process."

The StorStation's capacity is impressive. The LIB-D81/A1 incorporates one AIT-1 drive and eight cartridge slots offering native capacity of up to 280 GB (728 GB compressed) and native transfer rate of up to 4 MB per second native (10 MB per sec compressed). Similarly, the LIB-D81/A2 and LIB-D81/A2 incorporate one AIT-2 and AIT-2 drive respectively, along with eight cartridge slots. Native capacity of the A2 is 400 GB (1 TB compressed) and has a native transfer rate of 6 MB per second native (15 MB per second compressed). Native capacity of the A3 is 800 GB (2 TB compressed) and offers a native transfer rate of 12 MB per second.

Nixon said the StorStation is designed for businesses that are familiar with the benefits of employing a tape backup regimen.

"The StorStation allows small businesses to create a large capacity and unattended storage system," Nixon said. "It's not designed for a home office, single PC setting."

To support the transition from DDS to AIT, Sony's LIB-D81 autoloader includes a complimentary copy of NovaStor Corporation's TapeCopy v2.0 Library Edition tape conversion and duplication software, which enables users to transfer data from any other tape format to AIT. The solution is certified with most of the popular backup software applications for seamless use.

Sony has started taking orders for the Sony LIB-D81 autoloaders this month. They can be configured with an AIT-1, AIT-2 or AIT-3 drive, with estimated street prices of $2,900, $3,500 and $5,600, respectively. The StorStation systems are available through commercial distributors, value-added resellers and system integrators.

Sony currently offers a three-year limited warranty and optional onsite service support and enhancement programs with all of its branded storage solutions. And like all Sony AIT autoloaders, the new desktop models have backward read/write compatibility with all previous generations of AIT cartridges.

For small businesses that fail to regularly use tape back systems already in place, and for small offices whose data has grown out of their digital storage systems, Sony's StorStation offers a practical autoloader system that ensures crucial business data remains safe.

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