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The LTO consortium adds 2 more specifications to its tape format system

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September 11, 2014

The LTO Consortium said this morning that it has added two more generations to its tape format system, extending it out to LTO-10 and a 120 TB compressed storage capacity.

The system used to finish the LTO-8 specification and that version of the LTO tape format future was announced in April 2010.

Four-and-a-half years later, it has been extended again. The new formats are LTO-9 and LTO-10.

Compression is said to be 2.5 to 1. Basically, raw capacity is doubling every generation with compressed capacity increasing 2.5 times per generation.

Overall, data transfer speeds are increasing at less than 2X per generation. LTO-6 is the current generation.

As with LTO, each new generation will include read-and-write backwards compatibility with the prior generation as well as read compatibility with cartridges from two generations prior.

We could assume that each generation leasts for about 2 1/2 years before the next one is introduced.

An extension to the 120 TB capacity level with a transfer speed reaching 2.75 GB per second is strong evidence that the three LTO consortium members - HP, IBM and Quantum - see a continuing healthy demand for tape backup systems and their role as an archival data medium.

Joel Tax from the Santa Clara Research Group says-- “With a road map showing four more generations beyond the current one, the LTO Program has shown strong commitment to innovation and support for the format.”

The two competing proprietary formats are from IBM and Oracle. Big Blue has demonstrated a 154 TB tape technology while Oracle has an 8.5 TB raw capacity tape, making LTO-6’s 2.5 TB look a bit meagre.

Sony, which used to a be a force to be reckoned with in the backup and archive tape market with its AIR and Super AIR formats, has developed a 185 TB tape technology.

The role of tape backup as the lowest-cost archive medium should continue with these capacity increases. Tape users can be confident that all three consortium members see a need for tape products meeting these format requirements, hopefully out to 2020.

Source: The LTO Consortium.

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