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Pricing

Iomega REVs Up To 70 GB
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The REV Drive retails for $599.99 and includes one 70 GB disk. Without accounting for the decreasing impact of drive cost following the purchase of multiple cartridges, this represents a cost of $8.57 per GB. In reference to the drives used in our test, a Tandberg 220 LTO (100 GB) unit is available for around $900, and the larger capacity 420 LTO (200 GB) for ~$1700. Factoring in the drive cost and one storage tape, this represents a cost of ~$9.00 per GB and ~$8.50 per GB respectively.

When comparing the REV to tape drives the cost of the actual REV drive is lower, but in terms of media, the cost per gigabyte is much less with tape. LTO-1 (100 GB) and LTO-2 (200 GB) tapes cost between $20 and $30 each, while LTO-3 (400 GB) tapes clock in at ~$40. Although the tape drives are markedly more expensive than a REV drive, they offer almost six times the capacity per unit, which somewhat compensates for their performance limitations.

Conclusion

The REV 70 GB platform comes with a worldwide three-year warranty on the main drive, and a five-year warranty on disks. This allows users a brief respite from Murphy's Law while testing the platform and its short term reliability. Iomega offers an additional service plan on its website, which extends the warranty and adds a higher level of service for business users.

REV drives can be a good choice for SOHO or academic applications, where many users benefit from one shared reader/writer, spreading out the drive cost. The new 70 GB REV is faster than its little 35 GB brother, which makes the old model obsolete. Professional environments may be better served by conventional tape drives, though - the provisions of tape or RAID-based solutions are much more scalable than REV-powered backup. Still, you should check out Iomega's REV loader solutions as well.

Also, if you look at the tape drive market there are many different manufacturers to choose from, each producing its own drives and media. Iomega ended the development cycle of its popular Jaz drive many years ago, and it could do so again should current products prove unprofitable/obsolete, which introduces a degree of uncertainty. In addition, it took the company longer than expected to release its next capacity point, and Iomega's stock (NYSE ticker "IOM") is trading at a 10-year low.

Calculations factoring in equipment and employee costs are integral for any technology deployment. The use of hard drives serving as single redundancy units or seeing widespread distribution via archival arrays is finally reaching a viable price point. Outside the need for one's own physical hardware, the market has shown that remote backup solutions are becoming increasingly popular. As network speeds and security improve, remote backup will play a larger role in providing a "hands-off", securely encrypted, off-site archival solution. Until this happens, the REV at 70 GB is still a viable semi-professional backup solution.

Author's Opinion

The cost of REV models, especially the drive unit, is quite high considering alternate archival solutions offered by simple IDE/SATA drive backups. The cost per gigabyte of a single REV disk/reader is $8.57, while one can purchase a 400 GB Western Digital hard drive for $100. One should also consider 2.5" external drive cases that draw power directly from the USB connection, thus saving space/power for the mobility or margin conscious.

REV users are stuck with the capacity of the medium, which has a limited window of usability, but on the other hand, the media can be exchanged easily, which provides additional data safety over a single hard drive backup.

For those wishing to stay with Iomega, they do offer their own variety of external hard drives methods similar to those I just mentioned. Personally, you can count me out of the current incarnation of REV drives altogether.

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