This article is from the storage FAQ part1, by Rodney D. Van Meter with numerous contributions by others.
Sony makes several models of a D-1-based data drive; the format is generally referred to as ID-1. It comes in different models, with equivalent price tags, that run from 8 to 32 MB/sec. The original machine had a VME interface that was extremely low-level ("any lower and you'd have to turn the spindles by hand," someone said); now there is a HiPPI interface available from a company called TriPlex. I understand the HiPPI interface also adds another layer of ECC to improve the otherwise abyssmal error rate (10^-10 becomes ???). Sony is also supposed to be doing their own SCSI and HiPPI interfaces. I don't know the status nor if they are compatible with tapes from the TriPlex unit (I suspect not). SONY has announced 3 interfaces so far. ;-) DFC-1500 - SCSI interface DFC-1700 - FW-SCSI-2 interface DFC-1800 - 8 bit ECL interface that acts as a "scrollable" buffer. All of the interfaces are fully buffered. They list for 40K-88K. I have used the DFC-1700 for some time. From the standpoint of SCSI functionality it is quite good. It obeys the MT commands and if you wish you can either write to it in "raw" mode or DTF, which is SONY's version of the DD-1 spec. On an HP I get 14+MB/Sec on the DTF side and near 16MB in RAW mode. TriPlex makes an interface that does SCSI,FW-SWCI-2 and HIPPI. The price varies. List for the HIPPI version is in the $130K range. The controller is fully buffered. Myriad Logic also builds boards (VME) and a controller. The controller was demonstrated in Europe this year. It is a HIPPI attached controller built out of their existing products. No good feel for the price, but I would GUESS that it will be less than 90K. It is also fully buffered with 384MB of VSB memory. These are very expensive -- $100K+, but for people with the need, they've got the speed. (firstname.lastname@example.org, (John Stephens), email@example.com (Rod Van Meter), firstname.lastname@example.org (stephen w. poole) (8/95)) Sony's sales literature now (1996/3/22) says they plan to introduce a 64 MB/sec. drive "in the near future". (rdv)