The LTO program had a very impressive and I must say attractive booth (Figure 1) at the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in April at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The LTO program booth has been nominated for awards, but that’s secondary to the excitement over the technology demonstrated. The LTO Program showcased the Linear Tape File System (LTFS) and LTO-6 technology. I was amazed by the hundreds of LTFS users that visited the LTO booth from around the world, exceeding last year’s number, and the glowing comments about their use of LTFS and LTO technology.
Not only did users praise the technology but they made creative use of the LTO acronym. One that stuck out for me was “after we get the video content out of the camera we want to make sure it is protected right away so we LTO-it! ” Another LTFS user said “our videos are safe, we are LTO-ing them!” And this one was clever, “for archive we are LTknOwing it!” No matter how they used the terms the message was clear that video content has high value and must be protected by reliable, affordable and easy to use offline storage, safe from sabotage, viruses, and natural disasters.
LTFS in Action
Terry Cochran, LTO Program representative, demonstrates to Blaine and Terry Stewart, The Stewdio,LLC, from Utah (Figure-2), that LTFS makes tape easy to use in a manner like using a disk drive. Simply pop a cartridge in the tape drive (Figure-3), see the drive in the OS browser and drag and drop files to and from the tape (Figure-4).
LTFS Doesn’t Care
Visitors to the booth were happy to hear that LTFS is also agnostic. That is, it doesn’t care what camera the data content comes from, doesn’t care which operating system you want to use it with (works with versions of MS Windows, Linux and MAC OS), doesn’t care which vendor LTO gen 5 or 6 tape drive you want to use it with, and doesn’t care what your connection preference is (can work with SAS, Fibre, Thunderbolt, or USB). In figure-5 you can see Shawn Brume, LTO Program rep, demonstrating an LTO-6 tape drive direct connected to a MAC-book workstation. Nikolai Utyaganov, HBO Europe s.r.o., from the Czech Republic, said this option will make it easy to store video content for a shoot on location.
Go Big with Six
With high definition video in prevalent use, and 4K and 8K in the wings, there was a lot of interest in the capacity that an LTO-6 cartridge can store. It was intriguing to listen to the conversation as Laura Loredo, LTO Program rep (Figure-6), enthusiastically described the hefty 2.5 terabytes of native capacity that one LTO-6 cartridge can store to protect user data. She said that works out to less than 1 cent per gigabyte. Pedro De La Garza, CEO of Entera Postproduccion, Mexico, was impressed with the storage capacity, cost savings over other storage alternatives and the 160 megabytes per second native data rate of an LTO-6 drive.
There were a number of vendors at the show that support LTO-5 and LTO-6 and LTFS with software and hardware offerings including 1Beyond, Crossroads, Fujifilm, Qstar, SGL, Xendata, Yoyota and more. A list of LTFS supporting vendors can be seen here. Contact them for LTFS supported product information.
Tell Me about Gen 7
A majority of visitors inquired about the next LT0 generation, number 7. Park Min Cheol and Lim Kyung Woo from the Film Restoration Digitization company in Korea (Figure-7) pointed out the huge jump in native capacity and lightning fast speed expected for LTO gen 7. Rumor has it that we may see announcements later this year.
If you didn’t make it to the NAB Show, not to worry, you can still learn all about LTFS, how it works and how others are using it by reviewing the LTO BlogBytes three-part LTFS series. After you get spec’d up on this amazing technology I think you will decide to ‘LTO-IT’ too!