DVD And MO Experience Significant Increases In Capacity
Optical capacities scale to 9.1 and 9.4-gigabytes. Will this lead to more application opportunities for VARs?
VARs are always looking for opportunities to make additional sales. One factor that can limit those opportunities for storage VARs is a technology's capacity. Recent increases in the capacity of two optical formats will make them appropriate technologies for additional applications, which should make many VARs smile.
"The biggest news in MO (magneto-optical) over the past few months is the 9.1-gigabyte (also know as 14x) drives," said Tom Ferguson, SVP of sales and marketing at Colorado Springs, CO-based Plasmon. Ferguson noted that the new drives are now available for incorporation in existing MO jukeboxes. "Until recently, all we had was 8x, or 5.2-gigabyte drives and media," he said. "We now have a 75% increase in capacity. These increased capacities are also the prelude to Sony's UDO (ultra density optical) technology, which should be hitting the market in a couple years."
Will New Drives Lead To Updating Of Jukeboxes?
Ferguson believes the introduction of the new drives will interest VARs, because most of the MO jukeboxes out on the market today were designed in the early 1990s. "As we get into very high density drives, especially the 9.1-gigabyte and the UDO, which will be 40-gigabytes, end users are going to want a next generation jukebox. I don't think users are going to want to take the latest technology and retrofit it into a jukebox that was designed 10 years ago." The MO technology is popular in applications such as health imaging, document imaging, finance, and insurance. "Finance and insurance like MO because it is a product that allows you to get to data quickly, it is durable, and it has a long shelf life," said Ferguson. "For data archiving purposes it is the removable media of choice."
Peter Smails, VP of sales and marketing for Andover, MA-based Smart Storage, agrees that increased capacities in the optical arena represent a great opportunity for VARs. "When you're looking at a 75% increase in capacity at a comparable price point, people are going to take notice," he said. Smails believes those opportunities abound in the DVD space as well. "With DVD the capacity is increasing from 2.6 to 4.7 gigabytes," said Smails. However, because the new DVDs are double-sided, the capacity is actually increasing to 9.4 gigabytes. That is significant because the increase from 2.6 to 9.4 gigabytes is essentially happening in one step.
Let The Media Fit The Application
Smails believes that it is important for end users to choose the technology that best fits their particular application. "You now have comparable capacities in the DVD and MO space," he said. "Both of these technologies also have comparable throughput performance, although right now DVD is going to have more of a heritage with UDF. Universal disk format (UDF) is a CD-ROM and DVD file system standard developed as a means of ensuring consistency among data written to various optical media."
The message Smails wants to convey to VARs is that across all types of optical media, there are increases in capacity. "This gives VARs a very compelling cost-per-gigabyte argument for optical applications," he said. "The end user is now in a strong position to let the application dictate which of those media types they want to use."
VARs should also not forget about DVD-R, which now has a standard format as opposed to the proprietary format that existed in the past. DVD-R is finding acceptance in health imaging, document imaging, and in a variety of video streaming applications. While every type of media in the optical space has its own strengths and weaknesses, the increased capacities should allow VARs to better address applications that require higher capacities.Questions about this article? E-mail the author at EdM@corrypub.com.