Ongoing shipment trends demonstrate tape technology’s continued role in the ever-growing storage landscape in 2017

SILICON VALLEY, CALIF. — (March 14, 2018) — The LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (TPCs), Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM Corporation and Quantum today released their annual tape media shipment report, detailing year-over-year shipments. The report showed a record 108,457 petabytes (PB) of total tape capacity (compressed) shipped in 2017, an increase of 12.9 percent over the previous year.

“This year, we’ve seen a rising interest in tape technology from a variety of industries – particularly from those who prioritize protecting their important data from ransomware attack and who require solutions for long-term data retention,” said Chris Powers, Vice President HPE Storage, at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “With our recent announcement of the updated LTO technology roadmap, we expect to see the amount of capacity shipped continue to grow year-over-year as we provide customers with a cost-effective and secure data storage solution.”

To put this immense amount of tape capacity into perspective, two PB of data is equivalent to roughly the amount of information in all United States’ research libraries1. Multiply that number by 54,228 for a better understanding of the massive amount of data capacity shipped in 2017!

With new LTO-8 technology specifications designed to enable customers to store up to 30 TB of compressed capacity2, and the LTO-7 cartridge initialized as Type M media giving customers the opportunity to write 9 TB (22 TB compressed2) on a brand new LTO-7 cartridge using LTO-8 drives, 2018 media capacity shipments are expected to soar as tape users migrate to these newer technologies. The increased adoption of LTO-7 technology also remains a key contributor to this capacity increase.

“Many organizations continue to rely on tape for their long-term archive and high-capacity, low-cost data storage needs,” said Phil Goodwin, Research Director, IDC. “Moreover, having tape as part of a backup strategy can provide an ‘air gap’ to help protect against data loss due to ransomware. The higher capacity, faster throughput of the new LTO-8 technology offers continued price-to-performance gains for organizations using tape in their data centers.”

Media unit shipments in 2017 reflect a small decrease over the prior year, which is typical as the market anticipates the introduction of the new LTO-8 generation. The year-over-year unit shipments are offset by the total capacity shipped in the same period, indicating that tape usage is migrating to higher capacity LTO-7 technologies.

The LTO Program will continue to produce annual shipment reports for tape media, which 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 Source:
2Assuming 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 Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM and Quantum in the US and other countries.