Shipment trends show tape remained a key element of the growing storage landscape in 2016

SILICON VALLEY, CALIF. — (April 18, 2017) — The LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (TPCs)—Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM and Quantum—today released their annual tape media shipment report, detailing quarterly and year-over-year shipments.

The report shows a record 96,000 petabytes1 (PB) of total compressed tape capacity shipped in 2016, an increase of 26.1 percent over the previous year. Greater LTO-7 tape technology density as well as the continuous growth in LTO-6 tape technology shipments were key contributors to this increase.

To help illustrate the monumental amount of tape capacity shipped in 2016, if you consider 1GB is equivalent to ~9 meters of books lined up on a shelf, a single PB would equal enough books to line a shelf stretching 9,144 kilometers long. To extend this analogy for a complete comparison, the amount of books required to represent 96,000PB of data could construct a ladder connecting Jupiter to the Sun with nearly 100 million kilometers of books to spare!

While the total compressed tape capacity grew dramatically in 2016, the total volume of tape cartridges shipped in 2016 remained flat over the previous year whereas hard disk drives (HDD) saw a decrease in unit sales of approximately 9.5 percent year-over-year2. This stability in tape cartridge shipments indicates that customers continue to rely on low-cost, high-density tape as part of their current data protection and retention strategies and evolving tape technologies are becoming attractive to new areas of the market.

“We’re finding new areas of growth – especially in Digital Video Surveillance, High Performance Computing as well as Research and Education – so the news that more capacity is being shipped is no surprise,” said Chris Powers, vice president HPE Storage. “This number will only continue to increase as more industries adopt LTO technology as a cost-effective and reliable storage solution for long term data archiving, and as the LTO technology roadmap moves forward.”

The LTO Program continues to produce annual shipment reports for tape media and these are available for download from the LTO Program website,

About Linear Tape-Open (LTO)

The LTO Ultrium format is a powerful, scalable, adaptable open tape format developed and continuously enhanced by technology providers Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), IBM Corporation and Quantum Corporation (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 and is subject to change or withdrawal. There is no guarantee that these goals will be achieved. The roadmap is intended to outline a general direction of technology and should not be relied upon in making a purchasing decision. 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


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

2 Source: units/#

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