Sony gets serious about tape

The Communication Information Solutions Group (CIS) arm of Sony of Canada Ltd. on Friday announced it will be releasing its S-AIT tape drive this spring.

According to the company, the S-AIT will store up to 1.3TB of compressed data on a half-inch cartridge while the enterprise drive also features data transfer rates of up to 78MB per second. For connectivity with various networks, the product will come equipped with either an Ultra-SCSI or a Fibre Channel interface. Sony also said that the Fibre Channel port supports 2Gbps so that the drives could also provide back-up with storage area networks (SANs).

Other notable features of the S-AIT include a helical scan recording technology which is intended to increase track densities, an advanced metal evaporated tape that offers an estimated archival life of up to 30 years and head technology that looks to improve upon data integrity.

And while storage isn’t presently viewed as flashy as other technologies such as wireless, tape is still reliable and in demand, according to one analyst.

“Additional capacities with improved throughput is only going to strengthen the resolve of IT managers that will continue to use tape,” said Alan Freedman, research manager, infrastructure hardware at IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto. Freedman also noted that while tape may not represent a growth engine in the industry, it is clearly not in “free-fall” mode either.

More information on Sony’s product can be found online at