Hard-disk autoloader a tape killer?

This hard-disk autoloader is meant for small to midsize businesses

If the words "peace of mind" seem like an oxymoron since you automated your business, it might be time to look at Iomega Corp.'s REV Loader 560. It's a comprehensive automated backup system based on disk-cartridge technology that takes the worry out of being lazy -- well, maybe.

Having no backup regimen for your files is courting disaster, but the two most popular approaches, hard drives and tape drives, do have their drawbacks. Hard drives, no matter how large, still have a finite capacity. Add another drive, and you end up paying to duplicate much of the drive hardware you've already purchased. Tape, while the more popular solution -- and near infinite in capacity because of its cartridge approach, is a comparatively fragile medium that's prone to failure from handling and because the tape medium will degrade over time.

Iomega's approach with its REV Loader 560 is to duplicate the portability of tape while adding the durability of a hard drive. It's not new in concept. Years ago, Iomega produced the Bernoulli box and ZipDisk systems -- both removable cartridge devices, both successful, but neither with the strength to gain the same dominance in the backup field that tape systems enjoy. The company's latest endeavor, the REV Loader 560, is a multicartridge disk-backup system that may finally buck the trend once the kinks are worked out.

Iomega's approach to the backup problem is the REV Loader 560, a disk autoloader that duplicates the portability of tape while adding the durability of a hard drive.

Iomega's approach to the backup problem is the REV Loader 560, a disk autoloader that duplicates the portability of tape while adding the durability of a hard drive.

Decoding the Name

The REV Loader 560 relies on the REV cartridge system that Iomega developed a few years ago. The concept is simple: put the sensitive drive electronics in a small (7- by 5.5- by 10-in.) stationary box with, in this incarnation, eight slots into which you can install up to eight 70GB cartridges. (The derivation of the "560" part of the name is from the or 560GB of storage that results.) The REV Loader 560 is also compatible with Iomega's earlier 35GB cartridges, but it will work more slowly, or so the company claims.

The more durable part, the hard disk, is in the cartridge, which is sized similarly to a tape cartridge at 2.95 by 3.03 by 0.39 in., and tips the scales at less than 3 oz. (If you're into trying such things, Iomega claims that the cartridge alone will survive a four-foot drop onto commercial-grade carpet and a five-foot drop if it hits a hard floor while still in its plastic case. It also claims that the cartridge has a 30-year shelf life.)

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