HP's implementation of Dat 72 consists of a 36GB capacity (72GB with compression) and backwards compatibility (read and write) to DDS-3/DDS-4.
The sustained transfer rate is 3Mbytes/sec (6Mbytes/sec with maximum compression), and you get support for HP's one-button disaster recovery (OBDR), whereby it's possible to boot a crashed server from tape and recover it a lot more rapidly than with other methods.
HP's Storageworks Dat 72 can be bought as an external drive or a bare unit to fit inside a host server. Hot-plug models for use in HP tape arrays are available with the same 3.5in half-height mechanism in each case with a Wide Ultra3 SCSI interface.
The cartridges themselves are tiny (not much bigger than a box of matches), fed in VCR-like from the front, and are readily available from online vendors and other suppliers for around £20 ex VAT or less.
Tapeware XE software from Yosemite Technologies was bundled with the drive we looked at. This can be used on a single server or workstation running either Windows, Linux or Novell Netware and, as well as good basic backup and restore facilities, provides the necessary support for the OBDR option.
This we tested by taking a full backup of a Windows server before simulating a server crash by reformatting the main hard disk. Then, by holding in the Eject button while switching on, we were able to boot from our backup tape and restore the lost disk without the need to first recover the operating system or backup software.
As with the Certance drive, the HP Dat 72 lacks performance. Indeed it isn't much quicker than older DDS-4 devices. However, it is a lot cheaper than drives based on alternative technologies and, with the OBDR facility, is a good choice for protecting small-business server platforms.
Price: Internal drive £484.10 (£412 ex VAT); external drive £586.33 (£499 ex VAT)
Contact: HP 0845 270 4222