Cost of Ownership
The SC-50, which is the drive I received, is relatively inexpensive compared to some DAT based solutions and some of the other Tape based solutions. The total cost of the SC-50 is estimated at $699 USD. I have seen it as cheap as $588 USD on Pricewatch. The media will run you about $49 USD per 50GB tape, which is not bad at all, considering some of the competitions' media can be $10 or more a tape.


The drive I received for testing was the SC-50 model, which is an Internal SCSI based unit. The stock specification for this drive is 2MB/s. I tested this unit in a Dual P2-350 with 320MB of RAM, using an Adaptec 7895 Dual Channel UW SCSI controller. At home, I also have a Seagate Hornet NS 8GB drive, so I did a bit of comparisons. You can see what the differences are with this new technology and some older technology. Both drives averaged 1-5% CPU usage hit during backing up. The data rate changed a lot during backup due to the size of files, but as you can see, the Onstream does a very decent job of backing up some large files in a short period of time. Restore times were very close to the backup times, and I encountered no problems restoring the data. Determining data transfer rates would be inaccurate if you took them from those times because remember, the software also has some load times and some seek times to take into account. But overall, you get the picture that this drive is very quick.

Drive File Size Time
Seagate Hornet NS 8GB SCSI 720MB 23:55
OnStream SC-50 SCSI 720MB 11:58
Seagate Hornet NS 8GB SCSI 3.4GB 1:47:55
OnStream SC-50 SCSI 3.4GB 39:31

Tests conducted using Seagate Backup Exec 7.2 in WindowsNT Workstation 4.0

Technical Support
This is something that's usually not part of a review, but I think it should be. How does the company perform when you have a problem? I called their tech support line with some questions about the incompatibilities with the tape formats. Personally, I would like to congratulate Onstreams Tech support staff. It is extremely rare to find tech support staff that is actually helpful these days, and these guys were great. I spoke with two reps over the span of two days and both were just fantastic. They answered all of my questions, and if they didn't know something, they promptly found out from other sources.

There is no question here. Onstream has a solid unit that seems to work very efficiently. There are a few things to consider if you are thinking of getting an Onstream unit. Which unit is for you? Onstream currently offers 3 Desktop solutions, which are the Internal IDE 30GB drive, the Internal SCSI 30GB drive, and an External 30GB parallel port version. Onstream also offers workstation versions of these units, which include the Internal 50GB SCSI version, Internal SCSI 30GB version, and a new 70GB Internal SCSI version that will be shipping sometime this fall. Onstream seems to have done some extensive market research and they have come up with a product line that will meet almost anyone's needs. After spending a week with this drive, I can say I love it and would recommend it to anyone having a need for this kind of storage. It has been backing up my network every morning at 5:00AM without a hitch. So, in closing, if you are looking for something to back up files or just a storage device for temporary storage, this is a drive to look at. OnStream has created a product that is not only innovative, but cost effective and meets the majority of peoples needs.


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