LTO-7: Questions & Answers

Below is a list of common questions and answers regarding LTO-7.  For more information on the product, please click here

With the announcement of LTO-7 Specifications paving the way for the future of tape storage, can you share any numbers around LTO’s install base? We can confirm ~5 million drives and 280 million tape cartridges have shipped since LTO was first launched in 2000. In addition, approximately 90% of Fortune 500 companies have tape implemented in their infrastructures.

What is the backwards compatibility status of LTO-7? All LTO Ultrium drives can read data from a cartridge in its own generation and two prior generations. This means that LTO-7 drives will be able to read LTO-7, 6, and 5 cartridges. In addition, Ultrium drives can write data to a cartridge in its own generation and to a cartridge from the immediate prior generation (in the prior generation’s format). For example, an LTO-7 drive can write data to generation 7 and 6 cartridges.

The roadmap released in 2014 forecasts LTO-7’s compressed capacity to reach 16TB, while the latest version and the specifications announced in September indicates LTO-7 will offer 15TB compressed capacity. Can you explain the discrepancy? The LTO Program provides a roadmap of expected technology and performance targets so that our licensees and their customers can adequately plan their technology offerings and purchasing. The roadmap represents intentions and goals, and as such the roadmap released in 2014 predicted LTO-7’s compressed capacity to reach up to 16TB, meaning the realized 15TB capacity for LTO-7, which is more than double the capacity from the previous generation, fits within that expected capacity range.

What was the cause of that difference? The LTO Program seeks to manage cost per TB along with utilization of the latest technology in tape drives and media. As with any technology, the latest media technologies tend to carry a higher premium. To target the lowest possible cost, the trade off of 3% capacity, after full cartridge usage, was determined to be the optimal balance.

How did you specifically manage to double the transfer rate and can we count on seeing that improvement continue in future generations? We were able to double the number of heads on the drive, which means doubling the number of channels. With LTO-7 this means with these additional channels we can read and write more data with each pass.

Is the LTO 7 WORM, SEC Rule 17-a-4(f) compliant? The WORM methodology established for LTO continues to meet the SEC Rule 17-a-4(f) requirements. You can learn more in the LTO WORM compliance Assessment whitepaper.

Does the announcement that Fujifilm and Sony have passed interchange testing mean that customers can place orders for LTO 7 tape cartridges?

Not yet. This announcement is the next step toward product entering the market. Based on previous generations, product availability typically occurs within six months of specification announcement. Check with your media vendor to determine product availability.

What is the relationship between the LTO Program and OEMs like Fujifilm and Sony?

These companies are licensees of LTO Ultrium format products. Now that they’ve completed interchange testing, they can begin using LTO Ultrium logos on their cartridges. This logo is a quality standard, ensuring that customers are getting product that adheres to the robust and powerful specifications that the LTO Program has designed.

Why are Sony and Fujifilm the only companies to have passed interchange testing thus far (previous years’ release have five companies listed)? Are more expected to pass?

Media manufacturers submit media samples on different schedules based on individual requirements and may be delayed based on date of submission.

How does this announcement differ from those previously?

LTO-7 product specifications, which outline the various qualities of products required to comply with LTO-7 interoperability standards, were announced in September. Licensees were then able to test their respective LTO-7 products against these specifications. This announcement indicates that two vendors have passed this testing.

Will LTFS be available on the new LTO 7 cartridges produced by Fujifilm and Sony?

Yes, LTFS is a required specification in order to pass interchange testing. Its ability to help storage managers access files easily and quickly is an important part of the technology.