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Leslie Kramer
Leslie Kramer
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The Worm Has Turned

Financial institutions are struggling to comply with the SEC Rule 17a-4 requirements, which defines how information must be stored electronically in a non-erasable format, also known as Write Once Read Many (WORM) technology.

Financial institutions are struggling to comply with the SEC Rule 17a-4 requirements, which defines how information must be stored electronically in a non-erasable format, also known as Write Once Read Many (WORM) technology.

With the multi-million-dollar penalties being imposed on companies for not meeting guidelines, the demand for compliance solutions is rising sharply, and data storage providers are quickly developing ways to provide clients with high capacity, efficient storage vehicles and products.

As such, Sony Electronics' California-based Data Storage Division (booth #3400) will be debuting its blue-laser optical-data-storage disc drive and cartridge-type disc media. Sony's new product will provide financial companies the ability to store more electronic records in a non-rewritable, non-erasable format, than previously available, says Michael Hall, business development manager at Sony.

Sony is marketing the product through Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) customers such as Milpitas, California-based DISC, a manufacturer of automated network-storage solutions that will support Sony's new blue-laser technology.

The blue-laser-storage disc drive and disc-media technology hold up to 23.3GB of capacity per disc at a maximum-transfer rate of 9 MB/sec. That's more than twice the amount of space offered by Sony's 5.2GB and 9.1GB Magneto Optical (MO) technology, which is currently being used by exchange members, brokers, and broker/dealers, to maintain record integrity and e-mail archiving, Hall says.

Sony's blue-laser technology also offers increased transfer rates for customers who need to quickly access and transfer files. "While the demand for our MO is strong, and we are committed to the product for years to come, our new blue-laser optical-laser technology raises the bar for higher capacity and performance storage, says Hall. Sony's new drive and media will bring high capacity, performance, and scalability to its customers whose demands have exceeded the current technology offerings," he says.

"As SEC regulations continue to drive the demand for electronic storage, companies need a way to manage all the required information. Sony's disc drive and disc media allow for both rewriteable and non-rewritable WORM information to be stored, providing the flexibility of rewritability, where it can be used, and WORM for compliance-storage-requirements solutions," Hall says.

The drive and media, when incorporated into DISC's optical library, will hold up to 34 terabytes of information and will be available in December 2003.

Sony also plans on expanding its product to 50GB of capacity per disc by 2005 and 100GB of capacity by 2007. Simultaneously, the data-transfer rates of 9 MB/sec will increase to 18 MB/sec by 2005 and 36 MB/sec by 2007. The drives will incorporate an Ultra-wide 160 SCSI industry-standard interface for integration into high-end workstations, servers and automated libraries commonly used for storage and archival purposes.

"We are very excited that our customers now have a new roadmap for optical technology," says Bob Riland, DISC's president and chief executive officer. "The increased data-transfer rates and larger capacities will allow DISC to compete in new storage markets that were previously unavailable because of performance issues," he says.

Several suppliers have expressed interest in the new drive, says Hall, declining to name them. Sony expects to start shipping to OEMs this summer with a list price of $3,000 per drive and $45 per disc. An external drive is expected to be brought to market before the end of the year.

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