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Sony is to extend its AIT tape format with a next-gen version called S-AIT.

The new tape format enables up to 500GB native capacity on a single cartridge, and supports native data transfer of up to 30MB per second.

Sony has already recruited Matsushita to the S-AIT cause - the latter will make drives and media for the new format. Other brands are expected to sign up with the format soon, such as tape library makers ADIC, Qualstar and Spectra. Sony expects the new storage platform to be available by late 2002, with drives selling for $10,000.

Based on helical-scan recording technology, the S-AIT technology platform scales up potentially to four terabytes of uncompressed capacity in a single cartridge. First generation S-AIT drives will provide uncompressed capacities ranging from four terabytes in a 2U rack-mountable configuration to more than 500TB in a 1,000 cartridge freestanding library. It will support both fibre channel and SCSI Ultra 160 interfaces.

In October, Sony showed off its DTF-2 format tape library at the Storage Expo. DTF-2 allows 200GB native capacity; and data transfer rates of 24MB per second. &ref;

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