The Last Resort: Streamer Technolgy Overview

Test Object: Tandberg SLR75

We tested an SLR streamer from Tandberg, which represented the mid-level range for streamer products. Uncompressed, it backs up to 38 GB per tape and it costs less than $900 (€1,000). The device is connected via SCSI-3 (Wide Ultra), enabling a bandwidth of up to 40 MB/s.

The drive's technology is QIC 80-based. Data is written linearly onto the tape on 192 tracks located next to each other. In addition, 24 servo tracks are available for aligning the writing and reading unit. The cartridge is very robust and has a metal plate on the bottom side.

Data can in theory be stored safely with the device for 10 years, allowing users to meet many legal regulations for long-term data storage.

The noise level when storing or restoring data was limited, as SLR technology consistently builds on as few moving parts as possible. Also, since backups are usually generated at night, noise is not a primary concern anyway.

There are few moving parts inside the drive. The picture shows the writing/reading head.

As an SCSI device, SLR75 can be used for most commercially-available backup programs. Thanks to a 68-pin SCSI interface, integrating into existing server systems is also quite simple.