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Iomega revs removable HDD challenge to tape

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Iomega announced its Removable Rigid Disk (RRD) system last August. Three months on, it has finally unveiled a product that will feature the system - which won't ship for another four months.

The Rev is an alternative to tape back-up systems and archival storage rigs for SMEs and enterprise workgroups. Iomega will bundle back-up software that copies and compresses - effectively doubling the drive's native 35GB capacity, it says - the files that need backing up.

RRD is a 2.5in disk system that incorporates its own motors and read/write head assembly into the cartridge. The upshot, claims Iomega, is a far more resilient system that eliminates the problem past removable drive formats have had with dust getting into the cartridge and onto the disk, buggering up data as it does so.

With the extra complexity, RRD cartridges are not going to be cheap - Rev media will be $49 a pop, says. Lacking the rotation mechanism and head assemblies, the drives should be far less expensive than others of their ilk, but Iomega still plans to charge around $400 for them - a result, no doubt, of its decision to target SMEs and corporates. Whatever happened to the 'give away the razor, charge a premium for the blades' approach?

That price point will pitch the RRD solution under competing tape-based systems, and offer the added benefits of faster back-ups/restores - 22MBps, the company says - and random access.

The Rev will also offer what Iomega calls a 'boot and run' facility - the back up includes enough system software to start up a computer and replace everything on the hard drive. It's not clear whether this facility works across multiple Rev disks. That will be essential if anyone wants to recover a drive with a capacity of more than 90GB.

Rev is expected to ship next March in internal ATAPI and external USB 2.0 incarnations. In the second half of 2004, Iomega will ship Rev autoloaders, external 1394 drives and internal SCSI and Serial ATA units. ®

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