Backup Masters: Three Streamers at 10, 50 and 100 GB


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Header Cell - Column 0 Seagate TapeStorSeagate Viper 200Tandberg SLR100
Native Capacity10 GB100 GB50 GB
Buffer Memory512 kB64 MB8 MB
InterfaceUSBUltra-2 SCSI, LVDUltra-2 SCSI, LVD
Form FactorExternal5.25" Full HeightExternal
Average Accessn.a.76 sec58 sec
Warranty2 years3 years3 years
MTBF250.000 hrs250.000 hrs300.000 hrs
MediaQIC-3220 (TR5)Ultrium 1SLR100/60/50/40


As you can see by the insuperable performance gap, the USB drive simply cannot be compared to the two professional SCSI streamers. Of course the portable Travan streamer is a consumer product that is meant to be affordable by home and office users, and is therefore not streamlined for maximum performance. Still, $ 410 (the official price listed at Seagate's website) is quite high - it is the same amount you could spend on a 12-speed CD writer and 300 CD-R discs; but of course you could not make an easy 10 GB backup with CD-Rs.

The Tandberg SLR100 gave a good impression. At a price of $ 2600 it is naturally unaffordable for home users, but should prove very attractive to corporate network administrators. The software gives you every possible backup option, ranging from detailed scheduling of complete system backups, drive spanning and drive pool arrays all the way to complicated network backup solutions.

Seagate's Viper 200 is definitely the best, offering the highest capacity and best performance for backups. As far as I know there are only a few drives that are capable of beating this combination of capacity and performance, plus Backup Exec for Windows NT, Windows 2000, Netware and even IBM OS/2 Warp Server. However, such quality has its price, of course; be prepared to shell out at least $ 5500 for this baby.

It is not easy to recommend one particular drive. If you just want a single high-end streamer, the Tandberg has the better value. In terms of performance, the Viper 200 is currently unbeatable. Nevertheless, for some purposes (e.g. data safety by redundancy) and if cost is a concern, it might be better to get maybe five Tandberg streamers instead of two or three Vipers.