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History 2001: Imation and Seagate Continue on Travan Technology

10 million drives shipped since 1995

Travan technology, launched in 1995, for which 10 million drives have been shipped, is hardly dead.

Imation and Seagate Technology have officially decided to continue to extend existing products to higher capacities and performance.

This decision by Seagate Removable Storage Solutions coincides with the company’s recent acquisition of Overland Data’s entry-level tape drive designs. More specifically, Seagate RSS has acquired Travan-based WS30 and EDT40 tape drive designs and related assets from Overland.

The library manufacturer entered the Travan business in February 2000, through the acquisition of certain assets of Tecmar which, until now had yet to result in the official announcement of any product or revenue.

We learned a few months ago from VP marketing Fred Richardson that Overland was preparing an EDT tape drive line based on Travan cartridges, but without the use of Imation Travan recording technology. They were planning an EDT-20 (native 10/2) followed by an EDT-40 (20/4), both with the same prospects for a first OEM, Fujitsu.

Overland thus prefers to leave Travan technology, the future of which leaves most analysts skeptical, to Seagate. It is not certain, however, that this future is as bleak as some have depicted, if the new offer is attractive both at the level of price and specs for the entry-level network computer market, particularly since Seagate no longer has any competitor in the Travan market.

On the other hand, Seagate should expect competition from other technologies, including those of OnStream, Ecrix and Sony, with its low-cost AIT-1 tape unit.

Seagate will likely use Overland’s VR2 technology, which doubles tape capacity on its forthcoming Travan units, and will consequently have to buy VR2 ASIC chips.

Overland has also decided to write off the remaining balance of the optical jukebox design it acquired in July 2000 from an unnamed company that could only be Sony.

Basically, Overland’s new president and CEO has decided to focus his company on its core business: tape libraries.

This article is an abstract of news published on issue 162 on July 2001 from the former paper version of Computer Data Storage Newsletter.

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