LTO® Technology Moving Into “Starring” Role for a Broad Range of Applications as the LTO Program Finalizes Generation 6 Specifications

  • LTFS “changing the game, ” opening doors for new applications via easy-to-use features
  • Finalized specifications include up to 6.25TB compressed capacity*, more than double the compressed capacity of the previous generation, and up to 400MB/s performance*

SILICON VALLEY, CALIF. — (August 27, 2012) — Less than two years ago the LTO Program introduced a new partitioning feature for LTO generation 5 tape drives that enabled the Linear Tape File System (LTFS) which provided simple drag-and-drop capabilities for reliable and cost-effective “linear” tape. The approach 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.

This is the backdrop as the Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Program Technology Provider Companies, HP, IBM Corporation and Quantum Corporation, today announced the finalization of details for the licensing by storage mechanism and media manufacturers of the LTO Ultrium format generation 6 specifications. With LTO-6 tape technology, the LTO Program offers high storage capacity, blazing fast transfer rates, easy-to-use functionality and steadfast reliability. The result: LTO tape is considered the focal point of long-term storage solutions in industries such as media and entertainment, medical, finance, distribution, federal and analytics.

“With this next generation of LTO technology, we see tape moving from just being included in the data center game plan into a starring role,” said George Crump, Senior Analyst with Storage Switzerland. ”LTO tape will have a significant density advantage, more capacity on a per form factor basis, ease of use with LTFS, and a significant throughput advantage on a per device basis.”

The recently-finalized LTO-6 specifications support tape cartridge storage capacity of 6.25TB*, more than twice the compressed capacity over the previous generation, and tape drive data transfer rates of up to 400MB* per second for over 1.4 terabytes of storage performance an hour per drive. 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.

In addition, the LTO Ultrium generation 6 format includes the partitioning functionality, enabling users to present a tape-based file system with the use of LTFS. With continued support for hardware-based encryption and WORM (Write-Once, Read-Many) functionality, LTO Ultrium generation 6 tape technology is designed to provide an optimal balance of performance, capacity, compatibility and cost control supporting a broad range of safe, secure and portable data storage options for backup and archive that are easy to use and address a vast majority of
storage needs.

“As LTO tape evolves with greater capacity, speed and functionality, it will take on an even greater critical data protection role for an even wider array of applications,” said Sanjay Tripathi, Director and Business Line Executive, IBM Data Protection and Retention Systems. “The continued development of LTO technology and LTFS reflect our belief that a smarter approach to storage can help customers not only improve overall system performance and
reliability, but reap greater returns on their investments.”

The LTO Program celebrates its 12th year with over 4 million tape drive shipments and over 200 million tape cartridge shipments to all major industries around the world. The LTO Program will be presenting and demonstrating LTO technology at IBC in Amsterdam, DVExpo in Pasadena, Calif., Storage Decisions in New York and Inter BEE in Tokyo. Find conference dates and info at Learn more about LTO technology, LTFS, exciting user stories and a variety of compelling storage white papers at

How to License LTO Ultrium Technology

The LTO Program has historically offered several different license packages – from enhanced packages that provide the specifications and licenses to manufacture LTO Ultrium products, to basic packages providing LTO format specifications.

Buyers seeking LTO Ultrium format-compliant products should look for the LTO Ultrium format compliance verification trademarks on both tape drives and data cartridges. Storage and media manufacturers interested in licensing LTO formats may obtain information by contacting the LTO Program through

About Linear Tape-Open (LTO)

The LTO Ultrium format is a powerful, scalable, adaptable open tape format developed and continuously enhanced by technology providers HP, IBM Corporation and Quantum Corp (and their predecessors) to help address the growing demands of data protection in the midrange to enterprise-class server environments. This ultra-high capacity generation of tape storage products is designed to deliver outstanding performance, capacity and reliability combining the advantages of linear multi-channel, bi-directional formats with enhancements in servo technology, data compression, track layout, and error correction.

The LTO Ultrium format has a well-defined roadmap for growth and scalability. The roadmap represents intentions and goals only. There is no guarantee that these goals will be achieved. Format compliance verification is vital to meet the free-interchange objectives that are at the core of the LTO Program. Ultrium tape mechanism and tape cartridge interchange specifications are available on a licensed basis. For additional information on the LTO Program, visit and the LTO Program Web site at


* Assuming a 2.5:1 compression achieved with larger compression history buffer available beginning with LTO generation 6 drives.

Note: Linear Tape-Open, LTO, the LTO logo, Ultrium, and the Ultrium logo are trademarks of HP, IBM and Quantum in the US and other countries.