What is 17 miles in circumference and pushes protons or ions near to the speed of light? While that may sound like technology that is out of this world, it’s actually something a lot closer to home: the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. In this BlogBytes we will take a close look at what CERN is accomplishing with lots of geeky details and how LTO technology with its special features is helping with this important scientific research.


CERN is an international organization that operates the world’s largest particle physics laboratory and is The European Organization for Nuclear Research. According to Wikipedia, “in 2019 CERN had over 2,500 scientific, technical, and administrative staff members, and hosted over 12,000 users from institutions in more than 70 countries. 

CERN’s main function is to provide the particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research.” A number of significant achievements in particle physics have been made via experiments at CERN including several Nobel Prize awards. Experiments and research at CERN can generate tens if not hundreds of petabytes of data each year that needs to be reliably stored, protected and then accessed. Enter LTO technology!


Stratospheric amounts of data are being created by the Large Hadron Collider, which sits about 100 meters below the French and Swiss border. As reported in a recent article, “The [CERN] IT department expects up to 180 PB of data to be added in 2022. CERN can cope with that quantity of information courtesy of a sophisticated tape-disk-SSD architecture.” In practice, this means that the results and raw data from all of CERN’s experiments are carefully archived to tape, from where they can be easily copied to disk and SSD as required by applications.


How does LTO technology work to keep data securely stored, protected and accessible? The answer to that question is thanks to some pretty formidable technology in its own right. LTO-9 boasts high data reliability due to LTO tape’s unique format, which is based on orthogonal interleaved 2-dimensional 32 channel Reed Solomon error correction codes — the probability of an uncorrectable bit error event is orders of magnitude lower than HDD.

To further protect the data from unwarranted cyber access LTO technology provides tape drive data encryption and when the cartridge is removed from the drive an air-gap is created between the data and the system preventing cyber-criminal access.

It’s easy to understand why CERN has chosen LTO technology to store its important experiments and research: when you consider the data protection, reliability, cost benefits and access attributes of LTO-9 technology and add its high cartridge capacity of up to 45TBs (compressed) and data transfer speed of up to 1,000 MB/second — you get the ultimate in data archival storage.