As companies keep greater amounts of valuable information tucked away on computer systems, the need for better security measures increases almost daily. Imation may be a company who found its feet in a simpler and more innocent computer age, but there's nothing naïve about the Imation Odyssey.

Imation's solution to today's need for accessible data storage is the Imation Odyssey, a more sophisticated version of the tape drive with removable hard-disk cartridges.

You insert Imation Odyssey cartridges and data is copied on to these. It takes just seconds to eject a cartridge and take it with you (the durable cartridges can withstand a 900 G-force shock), and you can also flip the temporary write-protect switch on the cartridge to ensure that its contents can't be deleted. A light on the Docking Station obligingly moves from green to blue to tell you whether or not a loaded cartridge can be written to.

A single 40GB cartridge is included with the Imation Odyssey, and you can buy additional cartridges should you want - an 80GB version, for example, will cost about £75. Cartridge capacity currently goes as high as 250GB, although 500GB should be along shortly.

Data can be moved to and from Imation Odyssey cartridges using Windows Explorer, and Imation has included a copy of the sturdy EMC Retrospect software should you want more advanced backup features. Also supported is 256-bit AES encryption, so you can make sure data remains in essence impossible to read should a cartridge fall into the wrong hands

We tried the Imation Odyssey with some of our intensive drive tests. 1GB of data could be copied to and from the Odyssey in 51 seconds, and 38 seconds, respectively - giving write and read transfer rates of 19.6MBps and 26.3MBps respectively. Writing 32.5GB of data took 34 minutes and 39 seconds, giving a transfer rate of 15.6MBps.

On HD Tune, the Imation Odyssey showed an average transfer rate of 25.7MBps, with a burst rate of 22.7MBps. CPU utilisation hovered between 4% percent and 4.9 percent. So performance isn't as fast as some of today's USB drives, but compared to the typical tape drive, the results are quite impressive.


For companies looking to throw out their tape drives and upgrade to something more modern and sophisticated, in the Imation Odyssey Imation has produced a product that offers fair speed, robust security, and considerable ease of use.