Archiving data is a cumbersome task, especially if you have a lot of it. Quantum’s DLTtape Group feels your pain, and on Monday is launching its Super DLT tape drives and media to help smooth the process. The per-cartridge native capacity of the Super DLT is a super-generous 110GB, over 11 double-sided DVD discs worth of data, and the native transfer rate is a whopping 11 megabits per second. That's a significant jump from the company's existing DLT 8000 Tape System, which offers a maximum size of 40GB, and a maximum transfer rate of 6MB per second. "That will cut our customer's backup window nearly in half," says Quantum's Sean Roche. Of course, such capabilities don't come cheap. Suggested retail pricing for the SuperDLT drive varies by configuration, but a base unit sells for around £4,000. Each SuperDLT I media cartridge sells for an estimated £100. Such investments don't come lightly, but Quantum makes the decision a bit easier by maintaining backward compatibility. The SuperDLT drives can also read DLT 4000, 7000, and 8000 cartridges. At 40GB, the existing 8000 cartridges aren't exactly small. However, the sheer size of the storage packed into current servers is outstripping the system's capability to complete a backup with a single cartridge. And the larger the backup, the longer it takes to complete. That's as big a problem as the capacity limitations, because if you don't have time to do the backup, you won't do it. To tackle both problems, Quantum incorporated new technology into the Super DLT drives. The technology in the drives includes Laser Guided Magnetic Recording, which ultimately allows up to 20,000 tracks per inch, Roche says. That adds up to a lot of growing space, because the first-generation Super DLTtape products use only 896 tracks per inch, Roche says. The company also uses its Pivoting Optical Servo system, which puts optical servo tracks on the back coating of the tape and eliminates the need for preformatting it, he says. Of course, the built-in compression functionality will substantially increase both capacity and performance--up to six times, depending on the types of files you're backing up, he says. Tape is not about to go away as a backup technology anytime soon, Roche says. Despite the proliferation of relatively inexpensive network-attached storage devices, "tape is still the cheapest form of reliable storage," he says. Compaq is also announcing a line of Super DLTtape products simultaneously with Quantum DLTtape.