However, Sony has a new use for MIC as it now implements support for WORM (write once read many). The AIT-2 Turbo drive can also read and write to Sony’s standard AIT-2 WORM cartridges allowing it to be used for secure data archiving. The MIC chip prevents cartridges being formatted or overwritten and stops existing data from being deleted. However, once a tape has been written to it will allow data to be added to unused portions of the tape. WORM support is now becoming highly desirable as data protection regulations governing archival storage get ever stricter. Many businesses are now under legal obligations to show that once critical company data has been archived it cannot be tampered with or changed.
The AIT-2 Turbo drive can also create, read and write to Sony’s new WORM cartridges.
To test performance we installed the drive on a dual 2.4GHz Xeon server with 2GB of PC2100 memory and running Windows Server 2003. The storage subsystem was a triplet of Ultra320 SCSI drives in a RAID-5 array and to avoid any data contention the Sony drive was connected to a dedicated Adaptec Ultra320 adapter card. Computer Associates BrightStor ARCserve for Windows r11 stood in for backup software duties and the drive was asked to backup, verify and restore 9.5GB of test data. This consisted of a mish-mash of documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations along with HTML files, video clips, bitmaps, sound files and Acrobat .PDF files. The drive clearly has no difficulties reaching its quoted native speed as ARCserve reported an excellent 13.3MB/sec for the backup task. A full tape to disk verification also returned similar speeds while a full restoration of the backup data to its original location returned an equally impressive 12.7MB/sec.
For many years small business backup was dominated by the DDS format with it holding over 50 per cent of the market. However, its demise in 2001 and subsequent resurrection in 2003 hasn’t helped its cause at all with the latest DAT72 drive offering no performance improvements over its predecessor. Sony’s new AIT drive beats it on all counts as it is four times faster, has double the native capacity and yet costs almost the same. An equally important consideration is that the developers, Hewlett Packard and Certance have yet to announce a product roadmap so the DAT72 currently has no confirmed successor that companies can upgrade to. Sony, on the other hand, already has the AIT-3 and AIT-4 formats available and has always committed to producing two more generations after these.
Sony delivers a top notch tape drive ideally suited to network backup for small businesses. It knocks DAT72 into a cocked hat for both performance and capacity and yet costs around the same price. It also has the benefit of a much safer migration path allowing businesses to upgrade easily as demand increases.