Another LTO Tape Shipment Record!

It’s official. The world is using more tape storage capacity than ever before.

The LTO Technology Provider Companies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM Corporation and Quantum, announced in a recent press release that LTO technology has achieved another shipment milestone – a record 114,079 petabytes (PB) compressed of total LTO tape capacity shipped in 2019 helping organizations worldwide protect and preserve data. To put it in perspective, this shipment achievement could store nearly 500 million movies in 4K format.1 “LTO technology’s inherent air-gap along with its low cost of ownership make tape technology one of the most secure and most cost-effective data storage options for enterprises that require reliable long-term archival storage to manage the surge in data generation,” said Sam Werner, VP, Storage Offering Management at IBM.


In 2019, the LTO industry shipped a record 114,079 PB capacity


In this BlogBytes we will take a closer look at why this shipment milestone is important for archival storage data protection and how a renowned science lab is using LTO-8 technology to store petabytes of information and be the most effective with budget funds.

Balancing the Storage Architecture

Storage infrastructure can be one of the biggest items in the enterprise IT budget. Maintaining access to information while protecting and preserving it becomes a challenging balancing act for the storage manager. Fred Moore from Horsion Information Strategies described in a recent article: “Storage tiering has become the key strategy that enables optimum use of storage resources, reduce costs and make the best use of available storage solutions for each class of data. Balancing [the] storage architecture to optimize for different workloads while minimizing costs now presents the next great storage challenge.”  Moore noted that “… over 60% of all data is archived and it could reach 80% or more by 2024, making archival data by far the largest storage class.” The LTO tape shipment milestone is validation of tape technology’s marketplace position in storage archival tiering as shown in the case study below.

User Case Study: LTO Tape Meets Storage Needs for Science & Research


Delivering scientific breakthroughs to power America’s future.


LTO-8 technology is poised well to address today’s archival workloads with up to 30TB of compressed capacity per cartridge. The LTO technology roadmap shows future generations with compressed capacities up to 480TBs per cartridge to help address growing storage requirements.  Brookhaven National Laboratory, located in Uptown, New York, delivers discovery science and transformative technology to power and secure the United States future, including fundamental research in nuclear and particle physics. Brookhaven had a number of business needs they wanted to resolve and by using LTO-8 technology they were able to efficiently secure petabytes of data while reducing storage costs.

Business Needs:

  • Manage enormous data storage growth – in 3 years, storage grew from 60PBs to 145PBs.
  • Anticipated continual archiving of about 500PBs of data per year.
  • Needed to be cost effective in data storage process, retrieval and preservation.
  • Required frequent access as half of data is ‘hot’ and regularly referenced by multiple organizations.
  • Needed archive storage solution that would provide scalability, reliability, and technology enhancements for future growth.


Brookhaven has nearly 50,000 LTO tape cartridges in use


LTO Tape – High Usage and Highly Reliable

Brookhaven implemented an active archive system with LTO tape technology and automated tape libraries built for read-write and high throughput for hundreds of petabytes. They were able to increase tape library capacity and implement new generations of LTO technology which provided scalable growth. They found the tape active archive system provided much lower costs as opposed to disk storage alternatives while also ensuring reliability. Brookhaven has nearly 50,000 LTO tape cartridges in use that receive an average of 200 mounts per hour and they have reported zero data loss. Read more in the Brookhaven case study.

The LTO tape shipment milestone is a prime indicator that organizations around the world are using LTO technology to address challenging archival requirements and to protect vital information long-term in a cost effective manner.


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