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Tuesday, January 22, 2002
Sony delivers AIT-3 tape drives for midrange to enterprise-class storage and backup

Sony Electronics today announced the availability of its branded Advanced Intelligent Tape (AIT-3) drives to distributors and resellers for sale to corporate, government and educational institutions. The new internal and external Sony AIT-3 tape drives deliver an intelligent storage and backup solution in a 3.5-inch form factor, and feature 100GB of native capacity (260GB with 2.6:1 compression) and a 12MB/sec sustained native transfer rate (31MB/sec with 2.6:1 compression).

Like the previous generations, AIT-3 drives are fully read and write backward-compatible with AIT-1 and AIT-2 media, enabling users to seamlessly migrate to the higher capacity of AIT-3 without losing access to previously backed-up data.

With high capacity capabilities, reliability and speed to data, AIT-3 is positioned for adoption in midrange to enterprise-level businesses, e-mail archiving, rich media, audio/video, post-production, real-time data acquisition, transportable storage, and the back-office storage of records in the medical, education, legal, defense, surveillance, government and finance industries.

"With the introduction of AIT-3, Sony's AIT technology now truly offers a scalable migration path from the low-end DDS drive area, right up to the enterprise," said Steve Baker, vice president of marketing for the tape storage solutions division of Sony Electronics' Core Technology Solutions Company. "AIT-3 offers companies the ability to standardize their data in one format throughout all levels of the corporation."

The development of AIT-3 also illustrates Sony's commitment to double the capacity and performance with each new generation of AIT, while maintaining backward compatibility at a cost comparable to the previous generation. In addition, Sony has already demonstrated a storage areal density capability of 6.5 Gbits/inch2, which Sony hopes will enable the company to extend its AIT roadmap to a sixth generation member before the end of the decade.

"Sony continues to deliver on its commitment to AIT tape technology with AIT-3," said Robert Amatruda, research manager at IDC. "Companies increasingly demand a tape product with reliability, speed, and high capacity at an affordable price point."

By leveraging such core technologies as HyperMetal™ laminate head technology for less wear on the tape, the Remote-Memory-in-Cassette (R-MIC) "smart chip" for quick access to files and tape data, and a corresponding Advanced Metal Evaporated (AME) media cartridge for enhanced durability and longevity, Baker said that AIT-3 can deliver unparalleled data protection and intelligence to the tape drive market.

To correlate with the availability of AIT-3 drives, Sony, the world's largest media provider, has ramped up production to full volume at its Japan and Dothan, Ala. plants.

According to Tom Evans, vice president of marketing for Sony Electronics' Media & Application Solutions Division, the company's AME tape formulation is unique because it is comprised of nearly 100% pure magnetic cobalt for greater tape density and maximum magnetic energy transfer for near flawless recording.

"AME continues to be one of the key enabling technologies for the innovative AIT format, " Evans said. "Its extraordinary recording density and smooth surface provide the durability and efficiency that is key in high duty-cycle enterprise and network storage. AIT market adoption is quickly expanding around us."

Sony AIT-3 Drive Features and Compatibility

- Ultra Wide SCSI (LVDS) interface
- Advanced Lossless Data Compression (ALDC) technology
- Built-in Active Head Cleaner that is invoked as needed by the drive
- Helical-scan recording for space efficiency, data density and reduced wear
- Support for all major systems and platforms, including UNIX, Linux, NetWare, Windows NT and Windows 2000
- Independent software vendor support and in-progress certifications

Pricing and Availability

Sony-branded AIT-3 drives and media are now shipping to commercial and industrial distributors. The drives come with a three-year limited warranty, Sony's 24-Hour Swap Program, which provides tape drive replacement for the first three years of operation with one-business-day turnaround in the event of a specified drive failure, and 24/7/365 toll-free technical support.

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