SUMMARY: Exabyte 8500c

From: Drew Montag (millidc!blue!djm@uunet.UU.NET)
Date: Mon Aug 24 1992 - 14:57:01 CDT

Last week (Wed Aug 19 08:51:30 1992), I wrote:

Drew>Fellow Sun-Managers,
Drew>We currently have two Exabyte-8200 8mm tape drives here, and they are barely
Drew>sufficient for backing up all our disk space onto two tapes, even when using
Drew>"compress". I know that the Exabyte-8500 holds 5.0GB, which is certainly an
Drew>improvement, and I know that I can approximately double that by using the UN*X
Drew>"compress" program. I'm also aware of the various SCSI compression boards and
Drew>boxes that are available to do hardware compression. What I'd really like to
Drew>know about is the rumored Exabyte-8500c drive, with built in compression. Let's
Drew>face it, the compression built into the Exabyte will instantly become the
Drew>de-facto standard. Does anyone have any more details about this drive? As far
Drew>as I know, it isn't on the market yet, and Exabyte won't say when it will be,
Drew>but someone out there may have heard more details.
Drew>Of course, I'll summarize back to the list.
Drew>Thanks in advance,
Drew> Drew
Drew> +----+ +----+ +------------------------------+----------------------------+
Drew> | \ GO / | | Drew Montag | |
Drew> ++ + \ / + ++ | Sr. Software Design Engineer | uunet!millidc!bioimage!djm |
Drew> | |\ \/ /| | | Millipore Imaging Products | (800) 872-0071 (Toll Free) |
Drew> | | \ / | | | 777 East Eisenhower Parkway | (313) 930-9900 (Voice) |
Drew> | | \ / | | | Suite 950 | (313) 930-0990 (FAX) |
Drew> ++ ++ \/ ++ ++ | Ann Arbor, Michigan +----------------------------+
Drew> | | BLUE | | | U.S.A. 48108-3258 | Are we having fun yet? |
Drew> +----+ +----+ +------------------------------+----------------------------+

I got just a few replies, but they contained some good information on this subject.
The most informative replies were from Susan Tornroth (uunet!UCSD.EDU!apunix!susan)
of Apunix Computer Services.

On Wed, 19 Aug 92 at 16:06:17 PDT, she wrote:

Susan>I can't tell you much, but here is what I've got:
Susan>The Exabyte Compression drive is in beta testing
Susan>now (has been for several months), and so far, the
Susan>reports are that the drive is going well. They have not
Susan>told anyone yet when they will be released it. (not even
Susan>their own vendors yet). We had originally heard sometime
Susan>this fall.
Susan>Anyway, the compression algorithum that it will be using
Susan>will not be compatible with anyone else's. It will be their own.
Susan>I agree that the compression by Exabyte will be the new standard
Susan>I also understand that they may be offering an upgrade program.
Susan>This would allow you to buy your 8500 now and then send it in
Susan>for the compression option at an additional cost.

On Thu, 20 Aug 92 at 12:09:07 PDT, she wrote:

Susan>Good news! The 8500c is due (if it goes as planned) to production
Susan>ship in the next 30 days.
Susan>I dug out all my old notes and info about Exabyte, and this is what
Susan>I could find out as far as the compression ratio:
Susan>2-1 for *average* data compression
Susan>4-1 for *cad/cam* data.
Susan>The 2/1 figure is probably about right, it matches the testing wev'e done
Susan>around here on other tape backups, including theirs *(but with a third
Susan>party compression board).
Susan>Also, the algorithm they will be using is the IBM's IDRC which is a licensed
Susan>product and therefore only compatible with other manufacturers licensed
Susan>to use it (no one yet). It will still be read/write compatible with the 8200 and
Susan>the 8500 in non-compressed mode. Compression can be turned on/off with
Susan>software. The compression algorithm they will be using will be doing an
Susan>"integrity check" which will compare the compressed data to the uncompressed data
Susan>and notify user if different. It will also test the data block by block to see if it is
Susan>compressible (if the data is already compressed, it will not compress it--which would
Susan>expand it). The 8500c will still used the standard tapes being used by the 8500.
Susan>According to Exabyte, they chose the IDRC vs the STAC algorithm because they believe
Susan>it is faster.
Susan>The 8500 will be factory upgradeable to the 8500c sometime in mid-Oct time frame.
Susan>Pricing on the factory upgrade from the 8500 to the 8500c will be somewhere
Susan>around 850.00 (that figure could be less, but that was the closest I could get as far as
Susan>a dollar amount at this time.) Unfortunately I don't have pricing on the 8500c yet, so
Susan>I don't know how this will compare.

So, it sounds like good news. I'm going to wait for the 8500c to be released, instead
of buying an 8500 now and getting it upgraded. I can wait.

Thanks to the following other people for their responses:

Donald McLachlan (uunet!!don)
Gene Rackow (uunet!!rackow)
Eric Taylor (uunet!!edt)
Jim Ray (uunet!!jdr)
Wolfgang Wetz (uunet!!wwtz)


 +----+ +----+ +------------------------------+----------------------------+
 | \ GO / | | Drew Montag | |
 ++ + \ / + ++ | Sr. Software Design Engineer | uunet!millidc!bioimage!djm |
  | |\ \/ /| | | Millipore Imaging Products | (800) 872-0071 (Toll Free) |
  | | \ / | | | 777 East Eisenhower Parkway | (313) 930-9900 (Voice) |
  | | \ / | | | Suite 950 | (313) 930-0990 (FAX) |
 ++ ++ \/ ++ ++ | Ann Arbor, Michigan +----------------------------+
 | | BLUE | | | U.S.A. 48108-3258 | Are we having fun yet? |
 +----+ +----+ +------------------------------+----------------------------+

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