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DDS-DAT is back from the dead

HP and Seagate apply heart massage while Sony reads the last rites

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Two years after terminating DDS-DAT with extreme prejudice, customer pressure has pushed HP and Seagate into reviving the popular mid-range tape technology. Showing at CeBIT, the new version is called DDS Generation 5 and stores 72GB of compressed data per cassette.

The slight name change from DDS-5 to DDS Gen 5 is down to Sony, which owns the DDS logo as well as the rival AIT tape technology, and is the only DDS-DAT supplier not to introduce Gen 5 products.

Gen 5 is the same speed as DDS-4, according to Ken MacDonald, European sales manager for OEM storage at HP. "We could have made it faster by the end of this year, but our customers said they wanted capacity now rather than speed later," he says.

The revival of DDS is all down to pressure from OEM and end user customers, claims Daniel Hernandez, sales and marketing manager at Mast Storage, a Spanish OEM which is building DDS Gen 5 products using HP mechanisms.

"Our customers are very satisfied with the capacity and backward-compatibility of DDS - they were disappointed and hesitant to change when the death of DDS was announced," he says.

DDS Gen 5 drives will cost much the same as Tandberg SLR, Sony AIT or Exabyte VXA drives, but DDS will cost up to 20% less overall because DAT media is much cheaper, Hernandez adds. "We have even found that some customers who moved to AIT now want to come back to DDS," he says.

MacDonald says that there may also be a DDS Generation 6, but that HP has not yet decided whether to take this route or introduce a low cost LTO drive instead. ®

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