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Growth predicted for compact tape industry

The compact tape industry is to slowly pick up after two years of decline, according to Freeman Reports. Major shifts between tape technologies are also predicted as the trend towards network storage accelerates.

The compact tape industry is to slowly pick up after two years of decline, according to Freeman Reports. Major shifts between tape technologies are also predicted as the trend towards network storage accelerates.

Freeman Reports believes that these changes will result in tape being centralised, and create a need for high-end super drives, including SDLT, LTO Ultrium, S-AIT, and new generations of 8-millimeter products. This super-drive segment was 6% of unit shipments and 28% of revenue in 2001, but the analyst house expects this figures to hit 60% and 80%, respectively, by 2007.

"The fundamentals supporting this conclusion are sound, and include strong growth in network storage requirements, surprising resilience in the entry server segment, continuing performance and capacity enhancements, and accompanying cost declines in every tape technology," asserts Robert Abraham, Freeman Reports.

Unit shipments of compact tape drives decreased by 14% in 2001, following a 31% drop the year before. Every tape technology was affected, except for LTO. LTO drive shipments — which started over six months earlier than SDLT shipments — hit 92,000 units in 2001, double the total of SDLT drives shipped.

"Within the network storage space, LTO was the biggest success story in 2001, making significant gains against all competing tape technologies," says Abraham

However, he expects SDLT to narrow the gap each year, even though LTO will also experience significant growth.

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