SMS revamps jukebox line, introduces modular units

SMS Data Products Group Inc. has overhauled its jukebox line with the recent introduction of modular, upgradable units that can be daisy-chained, rack-mounted or operated in stand-alone mode.

The new Millenia Series, offered at the same price point as the company's older NETower line, features a metal case that can house up to seven drives, including CD-ROM drives or changers, CD-Recordable subsystems, removable hard drives or SCSI drives. The drives snap out of the case for easy upgrade and repair. The top of the case can be removed for rackmounting or stacking, and the wheels snap into the bottom of the case.

To improve reliability, the units come with dual redundant power supplies and removable fans. Available in configurations with anywhere from seven to 196 drives, the units can support small workgroups, larger departments and enterprisewide networks. Each Millenia system offers dual SCSI channels with four external SCSI connections on the rear for daisy chaining to other units. The units offer SCSI-to-Ethernet and SCSI-to-Token Ring capabilities.

New Features

SMS has added support for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol connections as well as networks running Novell Inc. NetWare, Banyan Systems Inc. VINES and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95 and Windows NT. Another new feature of the Millenia Series is support for Compact Devices' TopSpin technology, which essentially turns the unit into a Web server. This technology allows users to access directories and retrieve CD-ROM files using Web browsers.

Prices for a seven-drive unit start at $2,820 for a SCSI tower and $3,645 for a SCSI/Ethernet tower. Users of NETowers can upgrade to Millenia units for only $1,375.

SMS introduced the Millenia Series in early May but has been shipping units for three months. Jim Geanakos, director of marketing at SMS, said the company has sold several hundred units to federal customers.

The Defense Contract Audit Agency bought about 150 of SMS' NETower units last summer, installing one at each of its field audit offices connected to the local-area network. Recently, DCAA bought one of the new Millenia Series units for its headquarters.

Geanakos said the biggest competition for the Millenia Series comes from "resellers with duct tape, taking a bunch of drives and making a tower out of them." Instead, SMS is offering a robust networking platform.

The Millenia Series is available on SMS' General Services Administration schedule and on the following contracts:

* The Defense Department's Telecommunications Modernization Project, through Bell Atlantic.

* The Army's PEO Stamis, through Sysorex Information Systems Inc.

* The Treasury Department's TDA II, through BTG Inc.

* NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement, through Government Technology Services Inc.

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