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Iomega Takes REV Drives To Next Level

Posted by iMark - 2006-03-12

In the two years since Iomega launched its REV drive technology, the 35-GB disks have become a viable option over optical drives for backing up servers in small offices. Having delivered 1 million disks, the company is now preparing a portable external device that will let customers load up to eight cartridges in a single box.

Iomega is launching its REV Loader 280 at CeBIT 2006, which opened today in Hannover, Germany. The box, measuring 5 inches by 7 inches, connects to any server or PC via USB, and comes with software that automates backups. With eight disks at 35 GB each, that amounts to 280 GB per loader natively, and 560 GB compressed.

The company is hoping to expand its REV technology into the lucrative area of offering automated backup and recovery solutions for workgroups and small businesses. At the desktop level, REV drives have typically been offered in single-disk configurations, requiring one drive per disk.

“We are taking REV to the next level,” says Bob Lutz, Iomega's REV product line manager. “This is the world's first [hard-disk-based] desktop [form factor] backup solution.” Iomega is positioning the new loader as an alternative to tape-based backup as well as to large external desktop disk drives.

Lutz says the case for replacing tape drives with this type of offering is pretty easy: Recoveries are much faster, thanks to the random-access nature of disk vs. tape.

“The beauty of REV drives is it's so fast and you have the additional capacity,” says Rick Tashman, sales manager at Syscom Technologies, a Marietta, Ga.-based solution provider and Iomega partner. Also, at a price of roughly $1,000, the cost is compelling too, Tashman says.

But what about other desktop options, such as RAID-based 1 terabyte drives—for example, the recently introduced Maxtor OneTouch III and the Yellow Machine from Anthology Solutions—among other options?

“Most business don't want to have a single-point backup,” Lutz says, noting that with the autoloader, a customer can segment the drives to cover various points in time. Lutz says the REV disks are based on 4200-RPM 2.5-inch notebook drives.

Later this year, Iomega plans to double the storage capacity of its REV drives and disks, bringing the capacity to 70 GB per cartridge. The older disks will run in the new units, but not vice versa, Iomega's Lutz says.

Will this concept take hold and lead to many millions of REV disks deployed? Says Syscom's Tashman, REV is still a well-kept secret. “It hasn't reached its potential,” he says.

The loaders will start shipping next month.

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