Milpitas, California-based Quantum Corp will leave the storage business it bought from Digital Equipment Corp in July (CI No 2,462) substantially unchanged, but it will create a High Capacity Storage group to run it. And the company has acted quickly to bring DEC-developed products to market to begin its assault on the high end of […]
Milpitas, California-based Quantum Corp will leave the storage business it bought from Digital Equipment Corp in July (CI No 2,462) substantially unchanged, but it will create a High Capacity Storage group to run it. And the company has acted quickly to bring DEC-developed products to market to begin its assault on the high end of the storage market. Former DEC fabrication facilities in Penang, Malaysia, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the head factory in Indonesia, will continue to manufacture the products they were built for; Quantum says it has no immediate plans to use the plants to manufacture its other lines of products. DEC’s former development centre in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts will continue work on high end storage products; Quantum’s original centre in Milpitas will concentrate on disks for high-end personal computers, workstations, personal computer file servers and low cost disk arrays. Quantum says there will be few redundancies among former DEC staff to begin with, although it could not give figures and says it is difficult to predict how many people may be surplus to requirements in the medium term. It attributes the smooth integration to planning and the fact the new business is complementary to its existing portfolio. For the ever-shrinking DEC the sale to Quantum meant it ditched the loss-making section of its storage concerns but Quantum has no fears that its purchase will not make money. Quantum says the poor showing under DEC was due to the fact that after originally making drives for DEC products it had only just started to compete in the open market and was not a mature business. Quantum fully expects the High Capacity Storage Group to be contributing to the bottom line by 1996. When a part of DEC, the division had revenues of $750m.
Fifteen-year-old Quantum has experienced massive growth in the last five years: in the first quarter of this year it recorded a rise of 1626.7% in its net profits to $58.2m on turnover up 51.4% to $725.3m (CI No 2,465) on the back of its then predominantly low-end storage business. The company’s sales for the fiscal year ending March 1994 were $2,100m. Quantum was initially seen as a surprising suitor for DEC’s business but the purchase, which was finalised at the beginning of this month and overnight doubled the number of Quantum employees, propels it into the high-end storage business, where the real growth will be and where margins are better. Quantum says that while the personal and portable computer market is vast and despite the fact it has the largest part of it, that market is not going to grow at the same speed or size as the high-end market. Before the DEC purchase, the high capacity part of its business contributed about 10% of Quantum’s revenues; most sales were to firms making mid-range machines. A key attraction of the business to Quantum was DEC’s 81% interest in Rocky Mountain Magnetics Inc, the developer of magneto-resistive head technology. It says that this technology coupled with stuff it has been working will give it the leading edge in areal density, performance and cost per Megabyte efficiency. Its technologies include Partial Response Maximum Likelihood read channel know-how and the Ultra Small Computer Systems Interface.
By Maya Anaokar
Ultra SCSI is an advanced parallel Small Computer Systems Interface standard that doubles a disk drive’s burst data transfer rate. The interface provides buffer-to-host data transfer rates of up to 20M-bytes per second for the 8-bit Ultra SCSI implementation and up to 40Mbps for the 16-bit, Wide Ultra SCSI option. It says that because the physical interface connection remains unchanged, Ultra SCSI is a low-cost, easy-to-integrate alternative for OEM customers, systems integrators and value added resellers trying to improve input-output data rates. By combining its new heads with Partial Response Maximum Likelihood, it will be able to put 1Gb on one platter in the Capella family. This would mean that it will match IBM Corp and beat its other opposition. Magneto-resistive heads are needed to re
ad the higher areal densities being achieved nowadays and this in turn translates into fewer platters for a given capacity and therefore improved cost efficiencies and reliability. In addition, magneto-resistive heads provide higher data transfer rates since more data can be packed into each data track. The benefit for Quantum’s traditional low-end business is that it can migrate these technologies for desktop use and keep its products cost-competitive. The 3.5 Capella family, set to appear before the end of the year, will offer 1.1Gb of formatted capacity on two disks in a 1 high package. A 2.2Gb Capella was introduced in June by DEC. Both drives have an areal density of 429Mb per square inch, or 554Mb of capacity per disk. Both the drives incorporate the DEC-developed ASABET chip set, a Small Computer Systems Interface controller that automatically executes a number of functions in hardware rather than firmware, resulting in low command overhead and reduced bus execution times. Quantum say the Capellas deliver an internal user data transfer rate of 6.9M-bytes per second, spin at 5,400 rpm with seek time of 8.5mS. Evaluation units will begin shipping in the fourth quarter of 1994, with volume production expected in the first quarter of 1995. The single unit OEM evaluation price is $600 for the 1.1Gb and $1,000 for the 2.2Gb.
Products that will ship in January for the high end of the market are the Grand Prix disk drives that feature Ultra SCSI and the Atlas. The Grand Prix comes in 4.3Gb and 2.1Gb drives. At the lower end of the market is the Empire disk drives with up to 2.2Gb storage capacity and Partial Response Maximum Likelihood channel technology. Other products in the offing are the ESP5000 line of 5.25 solid state secondary storage, with up to 950Mb of capacity and the ESP3000 3.5 solid state secondary storage with up to 268Mb of capacity that were developed by DEC. These products are designed for servers and high-end workstations. ESP3000 products are available with Fast Wide or Fast Wide Differential SCSI-2 interfaces. These 3.5 memory stores, based on the same high-performance architecture as the 5.25 solid state stores, support systems and servers that require a 3.5 form factor. Both families boast sub-100 microsecond access time, a leading input-output request rate of up to 1,800 requests per second, a media transfer rate of 22M-bytes per second, and a sustained bandwidth of 8M-bytes per second and 16M-bytes per second. They continuously copy data from the solid state arrays to an internal hard disk drive so that in the event of a power or system failure, data is protected. Evaluation units will start to become available in February with volume starting in March. Single-unit OEM evaluation prices start at $7,500.