The Last Resort: Streamer Technolgy Overview

8 mm / Mammoth / AIT

Magnetic tapes of 8 mm width originally were designed for video. Like DAT, 8 mm also employs Helical scan-based recording, though it offers much greater capacity.

Two formats among the 8 mm tapes are Mammoth - sponsored by ExaByte - and AIT, a solution backed by Sony and Seagate.

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StandardCapacityMaximum Transfer Rate
8 mm3.5 GB533 kB/s
8 mm5 GB1 MB/s
8 mm7 GB1 MB/s
8 mm7 GB2 MB/s
AIT-135 GB4 MB/s
AIT-250 GB6 MB/s
AIT-3100 GB12 MB/s
S-AIT500 GB30 MB/s
Mammoth20 GB6 MB/s
Mammoth 260 GB12 MB/s

Besides high capacities, the AIT system's key advantage is an additional memory chip on the streamer cassette, called MIC (Memory in Cassette), which contains a sort of table of contents for the magnetic tape. This eliminates many search processes when there is frequent access, and a direct jump to the desired position becomes possible. At the same time, AIT drives do not read sector information on the tape. Instead, they calculate the precise position on the basis of MIC information. This feature can also be used to ensure that the tape designated for each respective case is actually used.

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SLR - this acronym stands for Scalable Linear Recording - is based on a robust design with few moving parts, thus ensuring a long-term reliability. From a technical standpoint, SLR is based on the QIC standard, and as in ADR (see description below), several heads are used. Prewritten servo tracks allow for a precise positioning of the heads. Also, Tandberg emphasizes the solution's high tolerance in case of temperature swings and changes in ambient humidity.

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Header Cell - Column 0 CapacityMaximum Transfer Rate
SLR31.2 GB300 kB/s
SLR42.5 GB300 kB/s
SLR54 GB380 kB/s
SLR720 GB3 MB/s
SLR5025 GB2 MB/s
SLR6030 GB4 MB/s
SLR7538 GB4 MB/s
SLR10050 GB5 MB/s
SLR14070 GB6 MB/s

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