LTO Tape Technology

What is Linear Tape Open?

Linear Tape-Open (LTO) provides the highest levels of data storage capacity and performance. LTO tape is commonly used as a storage format for archival, long-term data storage, and financial information, in addition to using LTO for business-critical applications. The LTO Consortium, which oversees the development and coordinates license and certification of media and mechanism makers, is under the supervision of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, and Quantum.

We’re proud to bring you the highest quality data transfer and archiving solutions for your business.  LTO provides the highest quality tape media available in a wide range of capacities to perform any restoration or reporting purpose on very large volumes of data. Tape has long been the industry standard for data storage integrity — but we’re extending that to broader enterprises as well with our vibrant ecosystem built upon best-in-class technology.

LTO tape is an effective and affordable way to archive data. The advantages of tape systems include a high level of restore speed, extremely low power consumption, the ability to integrate with multiple types of systems onsite or offsite, and seamless support for any specific configurations. LTO Tape offers a host of benefits for very large volumes of data that can be archived over time.

You’re probably already aware of the tape drive technology and benefits, but our next-generation LTO tape drive is even better. Featuring a dramatically bigger capacity, fingerprint or wipe-free matte black finish, and a host of new features including speed up to 400 MB/sec and improved reliability that makes this your best way to protect your valuable information. All the world’s data needs a home and the only place that can house it all is LTO.

Tape Storage

Tape storage has been around for 70+ years in various formats.  Initially, tape was designed to loads computer programs, today, however tape is more commonly used for backup or archiving. Although the market for tape storage is declining year on year it still has a place in the computer industry. No other storage media holds as much data as tape, it delivers the lowest cost per GB, is removable and portable.

LTO Tape Storage

LTO Tape Advantages

LTO tape technology remains unrivalled in terms of cost for capacity, reliability, and security to ensure your data is secure. A disk-based storage system can be enhanced by a tape solution by adding an offline or backup option. This implies that even in the event of a virus or a data security incident, your data will be safeguarded.

We know how important it is to protect your data, so LTO provides the ability to save and archive digital information as well as recover files after a disaster. LTO tape can offer years of protection at a significantly lower cost than other storage options thanks to its high capacity and reliability.

A Tape is an ideal option for protecting your company’s most valuable data, with a proven record of reliability and durability. Tape offers superior protection and performance while being cost-effective to use over time. LTO’s error correction technology is so effective that it can be used safely in temperature extremes and even underwater, meaning that you can securely store your unwieldy data anywhere in the world and still have peace of mind knowing that it will be protected for years to come.

Tape is known for its superior quality, affordable price, and wide applications.

LTO Media Types

LTO tape enables enterprises to store multiple versions of a data set at near-constant high speed, even as the overall amount of stored data increases. LTO tape also allows you to move your files smoothly and efficiently between any type of computer without spending time copying. LTO is future-proof since the partners behind the standard have committed to making it backward compatible: a new LTO tape drive can always read cartridges from at least one previous generation.

LTO Ultrium 9 tape

From the launch of the LTO-9 tape drive, each new cartridge must undergo a one-time initialisation operation to be optimised before being utilised for data writing. Any LTO-9 tape drive will require media optimisation, after which the cartridge can be utilised in any LTO-9 drive without additional optimisation. Next-generation LTO-9 has more tracks because of the higher density, which necessitates more accuracy for data placement. When a brand-new LTO-9 cartridge is loaded for the first time in an LTO-9 tape drive during the initialisation phase, the media optimisation procedure is carried out automatically.

LTO Capacities

The storage capabilities of each model of tape vary. LTO-1 offered a native capacity of up to 100 GB and a compressed capacity of up to 200 GB, based on a 2:1 compression ratio. 2.5 (MB/s) was the maximum native data transfer rate, and 5.0 MB/s was the maximum compressed transfer rate. The maximum native storage capacity for LTO-9 is 18 TB, and the maximum compressed storage capacity is 45 TB. The maximum native and compressed data transfer rates are 400 MB/s and 900 MB/s, respectively. LTO-9 provides WORM, encryption, and partitioning.

LTO Use Cases

LTO tape offers flexibility and the capacity to address a range of applications. LTO will help you scale up and down to the exact volume needed. And with advanced security, LTO is perfect for long-term retention in cases where disk storage is too expensive or ineffective.

LTO tape technology has no equals when it comes to durability, reliability, and security. It’s been used in virtually all forms of data storage for the past 20 years and is getting more technologically advanced every day. Keeping your data safe will become a breeze when you choose LTO technology because this technology has been developed for all types of data storage applications.

LTO LTFS (Linear Tape File System)

Forget the hassles of tape-based data recording, sharing, and storing; read/write LTFS technology lets you manage files easily and creates an efficient archiving process with no more time spent searching. The LTFS software provides an easy way to access, manage and protect your data, as well as its index. LTFS is also compatible with other LTO systems. Simply remove the cartridge from your computer and insert it into a new LTO Ultrium drive for data transfer. Once inserted into the drive, the data can be accessed by simply dragging and dropping files from a USB flash drive into an LTFS partition on an LTO Ultrium drive. This allows data to be easily transferred between operating systems without reformatting each time.

As a data storage alternative, LTO is increasingly being used to protect, transport, and archive large amounts of data. But despite the benefits of such technology, there are still some challenges when it comes to using tape drives in your workstation. LTFS (Linear Tape File System) solves these issues by providing simple and fast movements of files from tape to the hard disk and vice versa. The software works equally well for both moving large files and whole folders from one device to another; there’s no need for complicated setups or special software drivers – just drag and drop files at high speed directly from tape onto the desktop or vice-versa.

Backing up to LTO technology

We live in a 24×7 connected world and there are many technological choices we need to make when we back up data or do we need to bother at all. Many companies over the past few years have completely done away with tape and just use disk to disk for backup or backup to the cloud, there are many arguments for and against using tape. We believe that tape still has a place in the backup environment and the following will hopefully assist you in making this decision.

Definition of a backup

A system backup should be able to backup the complete operating system including files and applications. From this, you should be able to restore your last backup and recover to this point in time. You should also be able to restore individual files or emails.

LTO For Backup

When you use LTO media and hardware, you get the added assurance of more than 30 years of storage experience and service behind the entire solution. LTO continues to be committed to giving the best LTO products for your applications by running extra processes and quality tests on its LTO Ultrium data media.

LTO cartridges are meant for long-term archival storage and backup. In contrast, HDDs are treated like a temporary repository that’s smaller in size and does not need to be backed up as often. The tape workflow is different than HDD – tapes don’t have ports, they have to be inserted into the drive that keeps spinning on one spool inside the drive.

With the increasing rate of data being produced and stored, backup can be a significant investment for your organisation. LTO technology offers the storage capacity required to provide backups that are fast and convenient. It also provides a means for restoring valuable information quickly when needed without the problems associated with tape duplication or decommissioning old drives.

LTO For Archive

Archive moves your data off the primary production disk and onto cheaper secondary or tertiary storage. This enables your organisation to exploit the full power of its large datasets stored in numerous storage devices and locations. An archive is a one-of-a-kind, unique instance of less frequently accessed information that has been moved off the primary production disk to lower-cost secondary or tertiary storage. The information is kept in a single location and is frequently a permanent record or data set that is kept there without being changed or deleted for a very long time, possibly years. When applications and users storing information in a file system request an archive, it can be automatically retrieved. Intelligent software continuously tracks, manages, and moves data up and down the storage tiers using rich metadata, indexes, tags, directories, and global namespaces to unlock archives and deliver high-performance search and retrieval across the storage spectrum.

Ready to revolutionise your near-line or active archive? LTO Ultrium tape has the lowest energy overhead of any storage solution, with the ability to handle one million passes and 20,000 write cycles per tape. It’s also able to store more than 1 petabyte in a cartridge, delivering maximum capacity with high reliability.

LTO For Data Interchange

LTO drive encrypts all data as it is written to tape, making your digital information safer than if you were storing it in an unencrypted form on your existing hard drive. As a result, you can use more than one backup media simultaneously, e.g., during the off-hours when your primary server is not being accessed and a second backup takes place. The LTO drives that we provide with our Complete Cloud Backup service are the only ones available that fully comply with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA mandates regarding backup file documentation and encryption keys retention. LTO encryption is often implemented separately by various vendors, but in general, the procedure works by passing a symmetric key to the tape drive at the start of the backup operation. This key is used to encrypt (and subsequently decrypt) backup files as they are written.

Data is so much more than the numbers on a spreadsheet; data is what drives business. Unstructured data and video files full of unstructured data only hold potential for your business if you can turn that information into insight. Today businesses must be able to preserve data for decades and easily extract insights from it. Our solutions do precisely that – we give you the software and services needed to manage and enrich data, including the most complex unstructured data and video files. That’s what we do—we deliver intelligent solutions that make you more successful with every new customer engagement you deliver.

Continuous Data Protection

The historical problem with backups is that they are only taken once a night and if something happened to your system after your backup you could lose 23+ hours of data. With continuous data protection, your data is secured up until the last “minute/second/hour”. These backup solutions typically use disk to disk storage for the speed of backup/restore and an element of tape to take critical information offsite. They have become very sophisticated in the way the data is backed up and overcome the issue of taking a backup once a day.

The middle ground

A compromise for using tape for backup is a disk to disk to tape backup solution whereby your data is initially backed up to hard disk and then at a pre-determined time this is then sent to tape. An advantage of this type of solution is that file restores can be performed much faster than tape and you could hold 1 months worth of backups on hard disk. You could if the budget allows purchasing a data deduplication system to condense your backup data by 20:1. These compression ratios are achieved by creating hash tags for duplicated blocks.

Data Reliability

Tape has always been seen as unreliable but with advances in tape head technology and newer LTO formats an unprecedented phenomenon is the improvement of the data integrity. LTO-9’s Bit Error-rate is 1x 10’19, while the enterprise SATA hard disk is 1x 10’15. This means you can write 200 times more data on an LTO-9 tape than on a hard disk before the risk of a write error.

Disk to Disk only Backup

With D2D solution we backup to local disk and replicate the data offsite. This works, but it is dependant on the amount of data we need to transfer across our WAN link within our transfer window. Should something happen to the WAN link mid-way through a transfer, can you carry on from when the link broke or do you start from scratch? This is where data duplication can play a bigger part of your backup strategy as the data we need to transfer is drastically reduced. With any WAN-based replication, your telecoms links need to be robust and guarantee transfer speeds both ways.

Cloud backup

This works fine if you are only backing up a small amount of data to the cloud and your WAN links can handle the transfer rates. Cloud backup provides a convenient way to store data in the cloud and protects it. Issues arise when you lose a server and need to restore multiple terabytes across the WAN. To overcome these short comings we provide solutions that backup locally to on-premise disk storage and then this information is replicated to the cloud. Allowing you to restore data locally in the event of data loss or server failure.

Tape fails

I have heard this so many times I have lost count. If you go back 12 years then yes your ability to read a tape due to corruption, lost leader or backup software was more common. With tape storage today the error recovery rates are higher than that provided by disk drives and robustness of the media make tape as reliable as any other form of storage technology. Disk drives fail are easy to corrupt through failure or maliciously and the rebuild times on RAID storage systems is becoming a huge headache for companies as drive capacities for both SSD and hard disks now exceed 20TB!

LTO Tape Roadmap

LTO Ultrium drives are the technological foundation for enterprise-grade tape libraries. This open standard format supports a wide variety of drive and media options, reducing risks and allowing users to easily accommodate future technology decisions. In addition, LTO tape drives are also backed by a well-defined roadmap, helping users anticipate needs over time with confidence. LTO drives are ready for the next generation of data. The LTO tape roadmap provides the goals and objectives for future generations.

LTO tape roadmap

LTO Tape drives are the most reliable and durable drives in the market today, we have them in all categories. The new generation of LTO has increased capacity by up to 20% over previous generations and supports even faster disk-read speeds with LTO-9 media. Your data is secure and can last decades without changes to drive performance.

Since its release in 2000, the LTO Ultrium technology has undergone multiple generations, and the LTO Ultrium roadmap outlines the aims and plans for the next releases LTO-10, LTO-11, LTO-11 are the eight different varieties of LTO. Every two to three years, a new version of LTO is released, tripling the previous generation’s capacity. The most recent edition is LTO-9 as of March 2022.

Advantages of LTO Tape

We understand that tape has been around for 70+ years and whilst sales have been on a decline for a number of years it still has many advantages over alternative technologies.

  • True portability
  • Robust
  • Ideal for 20+ years archiving of data providing it’s not kept in a Green house
  • Lowest cost per TB
  • Faster backup speed than hard disk
  • Higher capacity with the smallest storage footprint of competing technologies
  • Easy to duplicate

LTO Tape Manufacturers

Several of the most prestigious names in the storage business have contributed to the development of the LTO Ultrium format. Additionally, because it uses an “open” format, you may choose from a variety of products that are compatible with those of many manufacturers without running the danger of being forced to utilise a particular vendor’s proprietary technology. Furthermore, a clear technical roadmap lets you know that this is a product you can rely on now and in the future.

The LTO Program maintains a list of manufacturers authorised to market tape drives and cartridges with the LTO Ultrium brand on its website. As of June 2022, they are as follows:

  • Fujifilm
  • HPE
  • IBM
  • Imation (now Glassbridge Enterprises)
  • Maxell
  • Quantum
  • Sony
  • Spectra Logic

Users are more likely to change to a newer LTO tape format straight away since each new version offers a significant capacity gain and because LTO drivers can only read back one generation at a time. LTO cartridge capacity has a lot of potentials to increase. The development of technology that can hold around 330 TB of uncompressed storage per tape cartridge.

Your data is valuable, so back it up and protect your business today with tape drives from us. Every organisation, regardless of the size of the budget or the IT team, should back up basic data sets to LTO tape using the backup best practice rule such as 3-2-1-1 – 3 copies of your data, in 2 separate media, 1 copy offsite (cloud), and 1 copy offline (on-premise tape).

Some of the most demanding storage applications in the world are using LTO technology. LTO technology may assist in addressing your unique demands with a low-cost, dependable, and secure solution, whether you’re editing the upcoming Hollywood blockbuster, safeguarding priceless amounts of data, or just keeping data for the long term.

LTO Tape Library

LTO libraries enable users to archive petabytes of data with a cheap total cost of ownership and use offline storage to safeguard critical data from cyberattacks (TCO). Highly scalable designs enable IT, teams, to protect data in demanding enterprise environments.  Compact, versatile, and affordable, our tape libraries enable you to store up to 3 times more information per data centre floor tile than the competition. Tape libraries are an ideal solution for enterprises that need to protect mission-critical data and offer an efficient storage alternative to traditional storage options.

There are occasions when you don’t need data right away, but you might need to retrieve it later. At a price that is far less than that of other storage options, LTO Ultrium tape storage can offer years of protection.

You might think hard drives are the same, but LTO tape is a data storage system with a lot more capacity than HDDs and SSDs.

LTO Tape Autoloader

The LTO tape autoloader is an entry-level automated backup solution that’s ideal for rack systems and small to midsize businesses. With a low-profile, high-density storage capacity and web-based remote management, it’s a great choice for backup and archival operations. The 6 Gbps drive options deliver the highest available transfer rates of any LTO media. LTO Autoloader with half-height products is designed for easy installation in a server rack or on a desktop next to a server.

With regard to very large data volumes, tape offers several advantages, including remarkably high restoration rates based on any particular setup.  LTO Technology is the de facto tape format standard for the entire world and tape systems can interact with numerous on-premise/private cloud solutions as well as other systems both onshore and remotely.

LTO Tape Drive

As a standalone or rackmount drive an LTO tape drive is ideal for backing up, archiving or carrying out data interchange tasks manually. Available with SAS or Thunderbolt connectivity and if requested we can also provide iSCSI host connectivity. Back up small data to tape, then move the data offsite over the network. The half-height form factor makes it a flexible solution for offices and businesses of all sizes.

LTO Storage the future

Any backup solution should not rely solely on one technology and it should be a combination of all of the above. A backup should allow you to recover to a point in time with the minimum of disruption and in a timely manner. LTO storage still has a great future ahead providing it is being adopted in the right way with the correct software. It is predicted that by 2027 a single LTO tape will hold 100TB’s of data!

How can we help?

We work with some of the world’s leading tape storage companies to provide solutions to enable your organisation to grow, data delivered faster and reduce unnecessary expenditure.

If you need a quotation or more information please contact us using the details below.

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