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BROADCASTERS – UNLOCK THE POWER OF LTO TECHNOLOGY!

Safely store large amounts of data at low cost using LTO storage technology compared to disk.  Many users have also found that using the Linear Tape File System (LTFS) can unlock even more powerful benefits of LTO technology. In this BlogBytes, we will review what makes LTFS a powerful enabler for users and how content producers can benefit from using LTO tape with LTFS!

LTFS – The LTO Power Enabler

LTFS technology has become the go-to solution for video archive by unlocking the powerful attributes of LTO tape with disk-like access to files. It is widely used in the broadcast industry and is even an ISO international standard. But how does LTFS do it?

It starts with the partitioning feature of LTO technology which was first introduced with LTO generation-5. Partitioning enables a tape cartridge to be split into two sections called partitions. The first partition holds the table of contents and metadata, providing quick access and management capabilities, while the second partition holds file contents. This is a simple and ingenious concept.

LTFS offers access to tape’s contents in an operating system browser, providing the ability to drag and drop files to and from the tape in a manner like using a USB drive. Furthermore, there are many data storage software offerings that support LTFS. This can provide simplified backup, archive and workflow management for small to large implementations, including standalone drives up to large tape libraries. Find out more and see a list of LTFS implementers here.

TV & Movie Producer Sees Cost Savings

Today, most video production is being produced in 4K. This format produces large storage requirements. A typical HD movie at 1080p is about 5GB in size, while a 4K movie can be 100GB or more!  This presents workflow, archive and delivery challenges for producers.

Fishbowl Worldwide Media, a movie and TV content producer, has implemented a solution using LTO tape and LTFS to manage this daunting 4K task. As reported in a case study, “when Fishbowl Media was shooting Insane Pools: Off the Deep End for Animal Planet, they had over 50 hours of 4K content. To store with SAN, the cost was $21,350. The cost for LTO storage was $800 for the same 32TB of capacity.” As stated by Sharon Arnett, vice president of post-production, Fishbowl Worldwide Media, “We don’t need as much near line storage, because we only restore what we need. It eliminates a lot of spinning disk, a process prone to failure and is costly.”  Benefits noted in the case study included: Simplified Avid pipelines with the packaged LTFS conform workflow, ability to use various versions of Media Composer, storage savings and simplified conforms.

With LTO technology, tape cartridges are offline – providing an air gap and helping to prevent access from malware and hackers. In addition, tapes loaded with large amounts of content are easily transportable from one location to another at a cost that can be far less than sending files over the internet or through comm-lines.

Fireproof boxes: a Simple Precaution

Storing important documents and computer data in a fireproof box or chest ensures peace of mind should the worst happen and your home or office premises experience a blaze. Some of these units also offer water resistance, giving additional protection against sprinklers, hoses and even total immersion through flooding.

The main criterion for choosing a fireproof box must be the nature of the material to be stored inside it. Test criteria and fire rating classifications are focused on three main categories of information capture and presentation.

Paper: for example, passports, certificates, insurance policies, deeds, legal documents and cash (notes).

Digital media: for example, USB / memory sticks, DVDs, CDs, digital cameras, iPods, MP3 players and external hard drives.

Data media: for example, computer back-up tapes, computer diskettes (floppy disks), and traditional internal hard drives. Cellulose based materials such as film, negatives, transparencies and microfiche are almost as vulnerable to the hazards of a blaze as data media so should be stored in a fireproof box designed to protect this type of computer data.

Each type of media starts to degrade at a different temperature, as follows:

Paper:     177 °C / 350 °F

Digital:   120 °C / 248 °F

Film:       66 °C / 150 °F

Data:      52 °C / 125 °F

Although fireproof boxes are mainly designed to accommodate paper, some offer protection for digital media as well, while others have a data protection insert that means mixed media can be safely stored for the specified protected length of time. This is usually 30 or 60 minutes, depending on the test criteria of a particular model.

A fireproof box protects its contents by keeping the storage compartment(s) below the critical temperature level in the heat of a blaze, which is typically around 450 °C but can be much higher, depending on the nature of the materials that are combusting. The construction of the box is double walled, the cavity being filled with a special, heat-absorbing composite. Intumescent seals around the inside of the lid, which swell to many times their original size in a fire situation, ensure that the box is sealed tight shut and thus prevent the ingress of smoke and hot gases.

Portable fireproof boxes have a carry handle and are usually secured by keylocks, with two keys supplied as standard. Most manufacturers offer a lifetime after-fire replacement guarantee as well as the usual limited warranty.

Choosing a Vendor for Computer Tape

When choosing a tape vendor, consider the following questions:

  1. How much time is spent on data eradication and certifying the quality of each tape? For instance, it can take up to two hours to eradicate data from a used LTO4 tape.
  2. Is the tape guaranteed? If a company won’t guarantee its products, it’s time to find another vendor.
  3. How many errors are allowed? The answer to this question should be “zero permanent and gross errors”. However, not all vendors adhere to the same certification standards. Knowing how many errors a company allows gives an indication of the level of quality.
  4. What is the data eradication process? While there are variations in the eradication process within the industry, vendors should include the following steps to ensure the quality of a certified tape:
  • End-to-end tape rewrite and read/write testing on all data tracks. Companies that don’t specify an end-to-end rewrite or that provide vague answers to this question should be avoided as it is likely that sensitive data will remain on the tapes. Beware of any company that won’t guarantee a complete end-to-end tape rewrite and read/write testing.
  • Data eradication by Volser. Computer tape that is scheduled to be eradicated should be tracked and audited at the Volser level. This ensures that the company that processes tape, and the seller of the tapes knew exactly which tapes were erased.
  • A letter certifying total data eradication. This is a written guarantee that listing the tapes that were erased including the date, technician, and method. Keeping this letter on file for future reference is a best practice so you can prove exactly which tapes were erased and what the process was.

How is certified better than new?

How can a certified tape from World Data Products be more reliable than a new tape? Because every one of our tapes is tested 100% end to end.  New tapes are sampled for quality as a batch is manufactured. As such, not every tape is tested. With a low number of tapes  being tested, products with errors can get through the process to the end user.

Conclusion

Using certified tape from World Data Products enables significant cost savings while keeping the performance and quality control at new or better standards.

Suggestions for interoperability with 3TB and larger cartridges on RDX SATA product

RDX SATA Firmware revision 0083 and later adds support for 3TB and larger cartridges. In order to support larger cartridge types, the dock firmware reports capability to support larger commands to the host. Some hosts may not support these larger commands.

If the host does not support larger commands, the device may not be accessible after firmware update. The device will not be accessible even without a 3TB cartridge inserted in this case. This may prevent you from downgrading firmware to a previous release.

To configure your host motherboard SATA ports for support of 3TB RDX cartridges and updated RDX SATA firmware please ensure you are using an Intel HBA and your host SATA port is configured in AHCI mode in the BIOS. Please ensure the BIOS is not configured for ATA or “Legacy” SATA operation, or RAID operation. The SATA RDX should not be used with any SATA HBA configured for RAID

HBAs based on the Silicon Image 3132 (the Rosewill RC-211) have also been tested and confirmed to support RDX 3TB firmware. However, the Rosewill RC-211 has one known issue related to reboot. The server may need to be powered off and back on to detect the RDX device after server reboot in some hardware configurations. If you observe this problem you may also try moving the RC-211 to a different PCIe slot as this has also been found to resolve the issue.

Do not attempt to use any other HBA with SATA release firmware 0083 or later. The only supported HBA configurations are Intel AHCI and Rosewill RC-211 Silicon Image 3132.

If you are unable to access the RDX device after verifying your host SATA port configuration you will need to move your RDX SATA device to another supported system or configuration to complete firmware downgrade to a previous version. You will not be able to access 3TB cartridges unless your host system configuration operates with SATA firmware revisions 0083 or later via a supported HBA configuration and a BIOS setting (if necessary) to configure AHCI support on any motherboard SATA ports used.

Five Information Technology Trends to Shape Data Protection in 2018

Like other technology segments, data protection has not been sheltered from the evolution of technology which is evolving as cloud computing, new regulatory requirements and a rise in malware targeting primary and secondary data increases in prevalence. Based on input from hundreds of IT services companies as well as industry experts and analysts, It is forecasting five predictions expected to drive the evolution of data protection infrastructure over the next 12 months.

According to a recent report by Deloitte titled Tech Trends of 20181, “Business strategies are inseparably linked to technology, leading organizations to fundamentally rethink how they envision, deliver, and evolve technology solutions. They are transforming IT departments into engines for driving business growth, with responsibilities that span back-office systems, operations, and even product and platform offerings.”

Business-driven technologies and trends expected to drive the evolution of data protection infrastructure in 2018 include:

  • Ransomware and the Targeting of Data Recovery Systems:The rise of ransomware and its awareness among organizations and individuals has IT administrators re-thinking their approach to dealing with attacks. Recent exploits such as Bad Rabbit, increased the threat presented by ransomware with the deletion or encryption of backup sets. 2018 will usher in a new era where data protection vendors will expand cybersecurity strategies to provide greater protection of secondary storage.

 

  • Converged Data Protection and the move away from Traditional Backup: The consolidation of data recovery capabilities into a single, highly scalable hybrid platform and the increased efficiencies that come from a single universal solution are driving demand for converged data protection. This popular approach provides layers of protection in the form of backup, DR, data enablement and archiving, centralized to reduce capital and operational costs.

 

  • Increased Adoption of Public Cloud Based Data Recovery Services: Businesses are increasingly turning to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to meet their IT requirements. Research indicates that more than 80% of CIOs were influenced by business management in 2017 to migrate data centers to the cloud. Most IaaS providers do not offer native backup to clients and specify in their agreements that the customer is responsible for this. With the rise in adoption of the cloud there will be a corresponding demand for backup/DR services to protect the data in these environments.

 

  • Regulatory Challenges go Mainstream in 2018: The amplified role that regulatory compliance is having on IT operations will become front and center in 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other privacy regulations will increasingly drive change in IT operations, especially data protection. Going forward, administrators will re-think their data protection strategies in ways that adhere to such regulations.

 

  • IT Budget Monitoring: While recent data suggests that IT budgets will expand in 2018, IT buyers are still cost conscious and expected to keep expenditures in check as they expand IT capabilities with a greater number of cloud services and data-driven solutions.

When Does Four Equal One?

Doing more with less is a staple of business strategy. When it comes to data storage, LTO technology can help achieve this efficiency objective. The LTO technology provider companies (HPE, IBM, and Quantum) continue to enhance each generation of LTO tape technology by increasing cartridge capacity, drive performance and reliability. The four equals one equation is an outstanding feat:  the data stored in four LTO-5 cartridges can be held in one LTO-7 cartridge. That’s doing a lot more with less! In this BlogBytes, we will examine the magic behind this phenomenon and what it can mean for your organization.

What Makes LTO Generation-7 Tick?

Let’s examine the technological magic behind LTO -7 technology.  The LTO-7 developers were tasked with increasing the capacity of the cartridge and performance of the tape drive. They also needed to maintain the same form factor (size and shape of the cartridge and drive) without sacrificing reliability. They far exceeded these goals!

LTO-7 under the Microscope

  • Huge Capacity: LTO-7 compressed cartridge capacity is up to 15 terabytes
  • Super-Fast: LTO-7 tape drive compressed data transfer rate is up to 750 megabytes per second
  • Efficient: LTO-7 capacity is up to 2.4 times the native capacity of an LTO-6 cartridge and 4 times the capacity of an LTO-5 cartridge
  • Productive: LTO-7 drive data transfer rate is up to 2 times faster than LTO-5 and LTO-6 data rates

How does the LTO Program keep improving these attributes? LTO-7 technology employs a 32 track head instead of 16 tracks, has an advanced servo format and improved error correction code (ECC). The enhanced ECC allows for more tracks and an increased linear density (more bits per inch). These enhancements improve the bit error rate to a remarkable 10E19 for outstanding data integrity

What can an upgrade to LTO-7 technology do for you?

If you are using a previous generation of LTO tape, you may find that it’s time to upgrade to LTO-7 technology. Let’s assume you are using LTO Gen-5 technology. What can upgrading to LTO-7 technology do for your organization?

  • Reduce Tape Space: Reclaim up to 4x your shelf space and cartridge bin space.
  • Shrink Library Slot Usage: Reduce the amount of slots being used by LTO-5 cartridges and drives, helping to conserve library expansion funds and floor space consumption.
  • Increase Job Productivity: With up to twice the speed of LTO-5 drives, LTO-7 drives can improve job completion times and reduce cartridge swap activity.
  • Reduce Cartridge Handling: With fewer cartridges, there’s less cartridge handling by personnel and robotics. Additionally, there are potentially less offsite storage fees which helps to improve efficiency.

Simplified Upgrades

The process of upgrading from one LTO generation to another is easy because LTO technology supports backwards generation compatibility. For example, an LTO-7 tape drive can read back two generations and write back one generation. This means that LTO-7 drives can read and write an LTO-7 and an LTO-6 cartridge, and can read an LTO-5 cartridge. This feature helps preserve investments and ease implementations.

You have a lot to gain by upgrading to LTO-7 technology.  If you make LTO-7 a part of your year-end storage efficiency objectives you can make four equal one!

Facts About LTO and LTFS

Why LTO and LTFS may be the best option for long-term storage

Many media professionals face a number of challenges as a result of the phenomenal growth of file-based workflows and media. The need to reliably and cost-effectively store content has become critical for production and post production facilities transitioning to file-based pipelines.

Challenges of moving to a file-based pipeline

  • Most users have to store growing amounts of file-based media, but keep storage costs down
  • Digital assets may have future monetary or historic value and need to be protected long-term
  • An archive and retrieval solution is required that enables users to quickly find and restore media when needed

Storage options

  • In addition to Linear Tape-Open (LTO) and Linear Tape File System (LTFS), here are the other existing storage options for the purpose of comparison:
    SAN or nearline disk arrays: Many media professionals leave their content on a SAN, or use lower cost nearline disk arrays. While this may be a short-term solution, it becomes expensive in the long run due to the costs of storage, scaling, and power-on. SAN and nearline disk systems can cost upwards of $1.50/GB. Compare that to the alternatives of removable hard drives and LTO which cost approximately $.02/GB – $.03/GB.
  •  Removable hard drives: Another option adopted by a number of facilities moving to file-based pipelines is removable hard drives. Hard drives are inexpensive and easy to work with, however; removable drives are not designed or built for long-term archival of content. This is due to the inherent architecture of hard drives that makes them prone to failure due to drops or inactivity on a shelf.
  • Optical: While optical storage is another option, it offers poor density (50 GB) and higher costs when compared to LTO or removable drives. As a result, it is often better to pick an alternative to optical for long term file-based archiving needs.

LTO-5 and LTFS

Linear Tape-Open (LTO) is a standards consortium that dictates the specification for digital data tape. LTO is tape built for storing files rather than analog data. LTO drives and tapes are standardized and manufactured by a number of IT vendors. Tape drives are manufactured by HP, IBM, and Quantum, and vendors such as Imation, Fuji, and Maxell build LTO tapes. LTO has been standardized for IT workflows for the past decade with millions of tapes in use. LTO-5 is the fifth generation that can store 1.5 TB of raw data per tape. Detailed specifications for LTO-5 can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_Tape-Open.

LTFS: a file system for tape

Linear Tape File System (LTFS) is a recent development from the LTO consortium. It is designed to enable an open and more efficient way to access tape. Here is an example to put this file system into perspective: many years ago, hard disk-based systems standardized on file systems. These file systems include DOS, NTFS on Windows, HFS on Mac OSX, and XFS on Linux. A file system defines a format for how content should be written to disk. A file system also provides file system driver software that “mounts” the file system, and makes it available for applications to read and write files. These applications can be utility-based like Finder, and Explorer that enable you to more easily copy, move, and rename files. Additionally, file systems allow any application to modify, and access files. File systems have enabled users to easily access files on hard drives, and across one or more workstations. Until now, a standard for tape-based mediums did not exist. LTFS is the first standard that defines a file system for tape. Much like disk-based systems, LTFS defines an open format for how it writes content to tape. LTFS also consists of file system driver software that allows tapes to be “mounted” and be seen like any other mounted device.
More details can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_Tape_File_System.

Benefits

LTO and LTFS for long-term archiving

A perfect storage medium does not exist. Compared to the other available solutions, LTO offers the most reliable, cost-effective alternative to solve the challenges of long-term data management for file-based workflows.

LTO and LTFS for media professionals

LTFS enables LTO to look more like disk, and this allows LTO to act not only as an archive medium to protect assets long-term, but also as a nearline medium for storing raw and post assets. With growing amounts of file-based content, media professionals need a cost-effective, reliable and accessible storage medium. LTFS combined with LTO tape makes this possible.

Cost of LTO-5

LTO-5 data tapes cost approximately $55.00 USD per 1.5 TB of tape. This means that LTO-5 costs roughly $.03/GB – $.04/GB. That is roughly 30 times less than the least expensive disk array system and about the same cost as removable hard drives. This allows you to significantly reduce the cost of storing large amounts of file-based media and keep this cost low as you scale.

Reliability of LTO-5

Unlike a removable hard drive that is a complex device with heads and electronics, an LTO tape is a simple spool of tape with no moving parts. The read/write technology is hosted in a tape drive and not in the cartridge (like a hard drive). This means that an LTO tape has a far greater chance of surviving a disaster than a hard drive on a shelf. Further, LTO-5 magnetic tape is designed to last on a shelf for 30 years (provided the appropriate temperate and humidity controls are maintained). As a result, media archived on LTO has a far greater chance of survival than a hard drive.

Long-term, open access via LTFS

Prior to LTFS, a major drawback cited against LTO was the difficulty of access and closed data format on tape. As long as you write data to LTO-5 using LTFS, your data stays open as files, similar to a hard drive. LTFS has made LTO as open as any removable hard drive.

Performance of LTO-5 tapes

An LTO-5 tape drive can read and write data at an impressive 1.2 Gib/s, (approximately two times the speed of a hard drive). This means that an appropriately configured system and software can achieve the following archive and restore times for different media file types:

Archive and/or restore times for 1 hour of:
  • Avid DNxHD 145: 9 minutes
  • DVCPro HD (Supported by a number of camera manufacturers): 8 minutes
  • Avid DNxHD 220: 12.5 minutes
  • ProRes HQ (Apple codec): 16 minutes
  • Panasonic AVCIntra 50: 4 minutes
  • ProRes 4444 (Apple codec): 21 minutes
  • Panasonic  AVCIntra 100: 8 minutes
  • REDCODE-36 (RED camera codec): 18 minutes

Built-in check-summing

LTO-5 is designed for archiving media long-term and for performance. To ensure that media is protected, LTO employs verify-after-write technology: a read head that follows the write head, and verifies the data just written. This provides an automated check-summing operation for all data written to LTO. In addition, LTO-5 provides twice the read/write performance of removable hard drives. Unlike a hard drive, where all data has to be read back to verify that data has been correctly written, LTO provides this capability during an archive, saving an entire read and restore operation. This means that, on average, an archive and checksum operation with LTO will be four times faster than performing an archive and checksum to a removable hard drive.

 

4 Criteria to Choose the Right LTO Tape.

What LTO tape should you choose for which application? These are some of the questions that arise. To simplify the comparison of LTOs and gain more insight, we prepared an info graphic with all the important features and characteristics of the different generations.

Storing large amounts of data for mid- or long-term durations equals cost and organization. Storage cost has been decreasing, while simultaneously, file sizes – especially in media creation – have been increasing with 4k, 6k and 8k video. As a result, for most users, storage costs remain considerable. Expanding high-performance storage to retain files that are only occasionally accessed is too costly. This calls for an collection that stores all files and productions on cheaper tape and offers cataloguing and search capacities.

LTO tape has become so cheap that it even surpasses the cost of consumer disk storage. While the latter should not be used in professional setups, it nonetheless finds its way into them and is still often compared to tape. Starting at $10 per TB, LTO-6 tape provides the user with unmatched price reliability, density, and organization.

Re-use, re-purposing and monetization are becoming increasingly important and are only realistically feasible with an collection. By reducing the need for high-performance disk storage expansion, archiving actually pays off. Productivity increases when completed productions can easily be referenced and re-used. The collection serves as the file memory for the company. No more manual search through external hard drives, lists or spreadsheets.

LTO-8 is Coming…!!! Time to Upgrade…???

The time has come for the reveal of the newest generation of LTO tape! Recently it was announced by the LTO Program that the LTO-8 data tape is available for licensing by media manufactures. It has been two years since the LTO-7 tape premiered and the newest generation is set to double in capacity. The capabilities of the LTO-8 are sure to add value to your back up storage system as it will require less tape to provide more storage.

The max raw data capacity in the previous generation of tape is 6.0 TB but the LTO-8 offers 12 TB.  The head channel count has also doubled, going from 16 to 32. The time to write to the full tape at max compressed speed has increased as well, going from 5:50 hours to 8:45. The compressed transfer rate has gone from 750 MB/s to 1180 MB/s.

The tapes will continue to offer encryption and WORM options. A new feature of the LTO-8 is the ability to increase the cartridge capacity of an LTO-7 tape by 50%. By initializing a LTO-7 tape in an LTO-8 drive as a LTO-8 type M media, they will now be able to store up to 22.5TB of data. LTO-8 drives can read and write to LTO-7 tapes so the investment already made on those is not lost.

There are a lot of factors in deciding if now is the right time to upgrade your storage solution including budget, date of last upgrade, usage, and the capabilities of the new tape. Another consideration should be your plan for recycling your old media.  Upgrading to a newer tape generation can be costly upfront but in the long run a good investment, especially if you are using a large quantity of tape. To help fund the project of changing your drives and purchasing new tapes, consider recycling your end of life LTO’s. NSA, Inc. will purchase most used tapes for recycling through our buyback program. Data destruction is included on all buybacks. The process is both NIST 800-88 and DoD compliant so there is no concern for data ending up in the wrong hands. Do not pay to have the tapes removed and recycled, receive money you can put towards your new storage needs!

LTO-8 doubles storage capacity with a 20% increase in performance over LTO-7. LTO-8 also brings a new capability to LTO technology—the ability to use new LTO-7 tape cartridges in a LTO-8 tape drive and get 50% more capacity. To get this capacity increase, the new LTO-7 cartridge can be initialized as LTO-8 Type M media or M8. This is a significant advantage, as it will further reduce the cost per TB of LTO tape storage.

As IT organizations continue to struggle with the challenges of data growth exceeding budgets, they require more efficient ways to store and manage data.

Efficiency features include:

  • Highest storage density: Minimizes storage footprint
  • Embedded computer server: Provides efficiencies of converged solutions with applications running closer to the data
  • Self-healing archive: Ensures the availability of content in long-term storage
  • In-library vaulting: Improves security and access to vaulted content while reducing costs
  • REST ful Web Services: Simplifies the automation of any repetitive task
  • 80 PLUS® Gold certified power supplies: Minimizes power and cooling costs

Storage Case + RFID = Excellent Idea

Equally important to Regular back up of data is the safe storage of Tape cartridge on which the data is stored. If your tape is exposed to heat, moisture, shock and other elements, they are prone to data loss.

Imation’s DataGuard is a new product aimed at storing and tracking the media. You can think of a DataGuard as a turtle Case with a Programmable RFID tag, included with each case.

What it means is that the user has the option of tracking with RFID exactly where the tapes are, adding extra security to the tapes. The cases also have slotted and cushioned protective inserts that are interchangeable for a variety of media like LTO, Enterprise, DLT/SDLT. Inserts are separately order able too.

Some of the features of Imation Data Guard are

  • 2x-4x more G-force shock protection
  • protective inserts, that can be ordered separately, giving you option to use the same case for  LTO, SDLT and Enterprise
  • Inserts are not made of Foam that creates dust and debris.
  • RFID TAG with Each Case
  • Thermal and water protection

LTO 6 Tapes

LTO Ultrium 6 Tapes are now Available

IBM, Quantum, HP, Sony, FujiFilm, TDK, Imation and Maxell have released their LTO 6 Tape. With capacity 2.5 TB and up to 6.25 TB (assuming a 2.5:1 compression), LTO Ultrium generation 6 provides data transfer speeds of up to 400 MB/s (assuming a 2.5:1 compression) and continues support of partitioning to enable functions like LTFS making tape easy to manage, encryption – helping to secure data, and WORM to address compliance needs.

As with previous generations, LTO-6 drives will provide backward compatibility with the ability to read and write LTO generation 5 cartridges and read LTO generation 4 cartridges, helping to preserve media investments and ease implementation.

Features

Capacity 2.5TB and up to 6.25TB accumulation 2.5:1 compression

  • LTFS – Linear Tape File System (LTFS) provides simple drag-and-drop capabilities for reliable and cost-effective “linear” tape. This technology has made locating and storing files simple and quick in a manner like using disk or a memory stick. It revolutionized large digital file tape management, delivering new applications for digital media storage across a broad array of industries.
  • Data transfer speed:  of 160MB/s native and up to 400 MB/s (assuming a 2.5:1 compression)
  • Security – Ultrium LTO 6 drives are the third generation to offer hardware-based 256-bit data encryption, providing the highest level of security without any loss of performance; WORM (Write Once Read Many) cartridges are also available.
  • Barium Ferrite – Some manufacturers are using Barium Ferrite in lieu of MP.  Tapes using BaFe have  higher connectivity and lower noise compared to older generations.

As with previous generations, LTO-6 drives will provide backward compatibility with the ability to read and write LTO generation 5 cartridges and read LTO generation 4 cartridges, helping to preserve media investments and ease implementation.

What is LTO Technology?

Linear Tape Open (LTO) Ultrium is a high-capacity, single-reel tape storage solution developed and continually enhanced by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM and Quantum and promoted by the LTO Program. It’s a powerful, scalable and adaptable tape format that helps address the growing demands of data protection. It’s also an open format, licensed by some of the most prominent names in the storage industry to ensure a broad range of compatible tape drives and cartridges.

WORM: TO technology features a write-once, read-many (WORM) capability to ensure that your data isn’t overwritten and also help address compliance regulations. LTO Program WORM implementation is designed to provide users a very cost effective means of storing data in a non-rewriteable format to address compliance regulations.

ENCRYPTION: LTO technology features strong encryption capabilities to enhance security and privacy during storage and transport of LTO tape cartridges. It seems like every day that a company experiences a breach in security and exposes confidential or private information. That’s why recent generation LTO tape drives features one of the strongest encryption capabilities available to help protect the most sensitive data stored on tape cartridges.

PARTITIONING: Recent generations of LTO technology include a partitioning feature, which help to enhance file control and space management via LTFS. Starting with Generation 5, LTO technology specifications include a partitioning feature that allows for a new standard in ease-of-use and portability: LTFS.

Why LTO ?

Your digital assets aren’t just important to you, they’re important to us too. With LTO technology, you can rest assured that your digital assets are protected in a simple, cost-effective and secure system.  Learn more about how LTO technology meets your most critical needs.

The Tape Advantage: Tape remains unrivaled in terms of cost for capacity, reliability, portability and security, and it continues to play a crucial role in data protection. Tape can also complement a disk-based storage system by providing an offline or backup option. This means that your data can remain protected in the event of malware or a data security breach.

Tape and Disk Together: Tape works well with disk solutions to address different needs. Disk can help with fast backup and retrieval for high performance application needs, but once data becomes infrequently accessed it should be moved to tape. According to a University of California-Santa Cruz three month study, more than 90 percent of disk stored data was typically never accessed again, and another 6.5 percent was only accessed once. This data could be stored on cost-effective tape. Tape is well-suited for this type of data, as it is a less expensive and less energy-consuming storage medium. Once data becomes infrequently accessed it should be moved to tape.

The Ultimate Safety Net: Off-line Tape Storage: What good is backed-up data if it’s corrupt?  Believe it or not, it’s actually common for a replicating disk-to-disk backup system to be wiped out by a system error. That’s why having an offline copy of data is so important. Imagine if you were providing services to thousands of bloggers and all of their data got wiped out. This could happen, especially if the backup plan involved one disk drive replicating its data to another drive. A system error could erase the data on one drive leading the other drive to erase the backup data as well. This could result in a big disaster if there was no offline data available for a restore. Consider another scenario – what if your system consisted of two servers backing each other up – and hackers were able to take out both of the site’s servers, rendering all information culled from years of hard work useless? Without offline backup data to provide recovery it could be disastrous. The LTO Ultrium format’s future direction, road map and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only.

Compatibility: LTO tapes and drives are interchangeable, regardless of vendor. In fact, it has been adopted by some of the most respectable names in the storage industry.

High Performance: The latest generation of LTO technology offers up to 6.25 TB of capacity and up to 400 MB/s of throughput.

Dependability: ape is one of the most proven storage technologies available.

Secure: Tapes secured offline aren’t susceptible to data loss due to mistake or malicious intent.

LTO-7 Compatibility with a new Capacity

Every generation of new LTO tape drive is backward compatible to 2 previous generations of Media. For Example LTO-7 was read write compatible with LTO-6 media and read only compatible with LTO-5 media.  However with LTO-8, for the first time the LTO-7 media is not only compatible but can be formatted to LTO-8 Type M format with 50% advance in capacity.
What is means is that you can not only read/write on your earlier 6TB LTO-7 used media, but you can also format your previously unused LTO-7 media to LTO-8 type M media and enjoy 9TB native.

This is similar to IBM 3590 and 3592 tapes where the same tape could be used with different drives to yield different capacities.

The Future ?

Right now LTO Consortium has the roadmap upto 12th Generation LTO ( 480TB Compressed on a single tape). There are all the indications that the tapes are  going to be used in future too , as they are currently – For the cost effective, reliable last tier storage. They will continue to evolve in Capacities , transfer rates and low cost of storage Per TB.

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