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DLT tape reaching end of reel

Quantum waves a white flag

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DLT has lost the tape war and could be replaced by the open LTO standard in as little as two years, according to Rick Belluzzo, the CEO of Quantum, which owns DLT.

He said DLT would "slide out of the way", with the last generation being either the current DLT-S4 or its projected successor, DLT-S5.

"There has been massive consolidation onto LTO, with a broad range of products available," Belluzzo said, adding: "We're not committing to DLT-S5 yet." He noted that even if S5 does appear, it won't be for another two years or so.

Quantum fought long and hard in favour of DLT, a technology which traces back to the Digital Linear Tape drives developed by Digital Equipment Corporation in 1984. It acquired the rights to manufacture LTO drives in 2005 when it bought Certance, formerly the tape business of Seagate Technology.

"We are rolling out DLT-S4 now - it offers very good performance," Belluzzo said. "The next thing will be LTO-4 around the middle of this year, with new features such as encryption. After that the road-maps will kind of converge."

He added that, following last year's acquisition of rival storage company ADIC, Quantum is now expanding its range of disk-based storage to include ADIC's data de-duplication technology, which can massively reduce stored data volumes.

The company is also consolidating and growing its software portfolio to include technologies such as continuous data replication and wide area data services, which make it easier to protect disk-based data stored at remote and branch offices.

"Increasingly, the cost of storage is about management, and all those problems can be solved with software," Belluzzo said. ®

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