DEEP DATA OCEANS NEED DEEP DATA STORAGE.  LTO Media capacity hits a new shipment record of 152.9 EB in 2023!*

*Total tape capacity (compressed)


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Latest Headlines

May 27, 2024
Tape is so dead, 152.9 exabytes worth of LTO shipped in 2023 - The Register
Tape – as a digital storage medium – has been considered dead for your correspondent's entire 29-year career. But that didn't stop manufacturers behind the Linear Tape-Open (LTO) standard shipping 152.9* exabytes worth of the stuff last year.HPE, IBM, and Quantum are the only three LTO Program Technology Providers, and last week jointly released The Annual LTO Program Media Shipment Report [PDF] which revealed that 152.9-exabyte figure along with the tidbit that it represents 3.14 percent shipment growth compared to 2022.The three attributed some of that growth to "rapid data generation and the increased infrastructure requirements of hyperscalers and enterprises." Which is good news for tape – if hyperscalers are using it that likely means demand will continue for the foreseeable future.Because it's 2024 they also attributed some demand for tape to AI, which the trio described as just the sort of workload that spawns unstructured data and can "cause increases in storage requirements and costs."Tape has huge capacity, and can easily be taken offline. Purveyors therefore commend it as an ideal medium for bulk data that isn't often accessed – a role in which it can often be cheaper than disk – and to protect data by literally putting it on the shelf and therefore out of reach of ransomware infections.Just don't mention access or restore times, which are not swift. Or the reason for that asterisk* up there, which we included because the LTO trio's 152.9EB figure refers to compressed tape capacity.That matters, because each generation of LTO tape has a native capacity and a compressed capacity. In the case of the latest LTO generation – the ninth – compressed capacity is 45TB and native capacity is 18TB. LTO-8's numbers are 30TB and 12TB.So suffice to say the 152.9EB figure is therefore a little less impressive that it appears at first blush. And again, remember that read and write times – and therefore recovery efforts – take even longer when there's compression or decompression to be done.Know, also, that Seagate alone shipped 99 exabytes worth of hard disk drives in Q3 2024, as revealed in its late April results presentation [PDF]. Other hard disk makers will also have shipped many exabytes, as will vendors of solid state storage.That said, 152.9 exabytes is a decidedly non-trivial sum, even if the native capacity of tapes shipped last year was probably around a third of the headline figure.Even at 50EB – 50,000 petabytes – that's a lot of cat videos, scraped-for-free LLM corpus data, log files, and whatever else it is that people put on tape so it's always around. Just like tape itself. ®
May 28, 2024
Not bad for a 'dead' storage medium, tape shipments reached 152.9 exabytes in 2023.
Magnetic tape storage, once thought to be obsolete, continues to defy expectations with its enduring relevance in the digital storage landscape. Despite predictions of its demise, manufacturers adhering to the Linear Tape-Open (LTO) standard shipped an impressive 152.9 exabytes of magnetic tape capacity in 2023, marking a 3.14 percent increase from the previous year. This growth underscores the ongoing demand for magnetic tape among hyperscalers and enterprises, driven by the exponential growth of data and the need for efficient storage solutions.The Annual LTO Program Media Shipment Report, provided by key industry players such as HPE, IBM, and Quantum, highlights the continued significance of magnetic tape in today’s data-driven world. This resilience is noteworthy considering the skepticism surrounding magnetic tape’s future in the mid-1990s, when newer storage technologies were expected to supplant it. However, magnetic tape has proven its durability and efficacy over the years, boasting advantages that continue to resonate with users across various industries.One of the key advantages of magnetic tape is its vast storage capacity, which remains unmatched by many alternative storage mediums. Additionally, its ease of offline storage makes it an attractive option for organizations seeking cost-effective archival solutions. Magnetic tape has demonstrated its ability to safeguard data for extended periods, with some tapes capable of preserving data for up to 30 years. This longevity makes magnetic tape an ideal choice for archival purposes, where data retention is paramount.Cost-effectiveness is another driving factor behind the continued use of magnetic tape for backup and archival needs. Despite the emergence of newer storage technologies, magnetic tape remains a cost-efficient option, often outperforming traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) in terms of affordability. Furthermore, magnetic tape serves as a reliable safeguard against ransomware attacks, offering an added layer of security for stored data.From an environmental perspective, magnetic tape storage has also been shown to have less of an ecological footprint compared to HDDs and solid-state drives (SSDs). This eco-friendly attribute further underscores the appeal of magnetic tape as a sustainable storage solution. However, magnetic tape is not without its drawbacks, particularly in terms of data retrieval speed.Accessing and restoring data from tape backups can be a time-consuming process, making magnetic tape best suited for storing data that does not require frequent access. Despite this limitation, magnetic tape continues to find favor among organizations seeking long-term data retention solutions.In comparison to hard disk drives, the volume of magnetic tape capacity shipped may appear modest. For example, Seagate alone shipped a substantial 99 exabytes worth of hard drives in just the third quarter of 2024. However, this disparity does not diminish the significance of magnetic tape as a reliable and cost-effective storage solution for archival and backup purposes.Magnetic tape storage, once thought to be on the brink of obsolescence in the face of advancing digital technologies, has demonstrated remarkable resilience and enduring relevance in the modern digital storage landscape. Despite initial predictions of its demise, the data from the Linear Tape-Open (LTO) standard paints a compelling picture of magnetic tape’s continued importance. In 2023 alone, manufacturers adhering to this standard collectively shipped an impressive 152.9 exabytes of magnetic tape capacity, showcasing a notable 3.14 percent increase compared to the previous year. This surge in demand underscores the enduring appeal of magnetic tape among hyperscalers and enterprises, driven by the relentless growth of digital data and the critical need for efficient and reliable storage solutions to manage it effectively.The insights gleaned from The Annual LTO Program Media Shipment Report, meticulously compiled by key industry players such as HPE, IBM, and Quantum, offer valuable perspectives on the ongoing significance of magnetic tape technology. Such resilience is particularly striking when considering the doubts that pervaded the tech landscape in the mid-1990s, when emerging storage technologies were widely expected to eclipse magnetic tape. However, magnetic tape has defied these expectations, steadfastly maintaining its position as a cornerstone of data storage infrastructure across diverse sectors.If you like the article please follow on THE UBJ.
May 28, 2024
LTO magnetic tape shipments reached a record 152.9 exabytes in 2023 - TechSpot
In context: The Linear Tape-Open (LTO) format for tape-based magnetic data recording was developed in the Nineties as an open-standard alternative to proprietary tape formats. The technology provides native encryption and compression support, and it is still one of the most used "cold" storage media in data center and enterprise environments. The three companies behind the LTO Consortium recently released the latest annual report on magnetic tape technology shipments, which set a new storage capacity record in 2023. the LTO members-- Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, and Quantum Corporation – jointly stated jointly said that tape media shipped to market have now reached 152.9 exabytes of total (compressed) capacity, with 1 exabyte being equal to 1 million terabytes or 1 billion gigabytes.LTO magnetic tapes grew by 3.14 percent over 2022, the consortium said, with hyperscalers and enterprises increasing their storage needs due to "rapid data generation" and increased infrastructure requirements. Needless to say, the LTO Consortium is quoting AI as one of the main reasons for the new record-setting results achieved by LTO shipments.The LTO Ultrium technology has been around for decades now, providing a cheap and supposedly reliable way to store massive amounts of digital data that can be easily archived offline by simply removing the tapes and physically putting them on the shelves. LTO magnetic tapes aren't exactly quick in I/O operations though, which means that they are mostly used to archive "unstructured data" that doesn't necessarily need constant access.According to the LTO Consortium, tape is a great solution for the storage challenges created by AI services and other related, data-hungry technologies. Chatbots and ML algorithms increase storage requirements and infrastructure costs, while LTO tapes should make the management of vast amounts of digital data more cost-effective and sustainable. LTO is an ever-evolving, backward-compatible standard that is now at its ninth generation (LTO-9). An LTO-9 drive provides a 45 TB compressed capacity with a 50 percent increase over LTO-8, or a 1,400 percent increase over LTO-5 tapes introduced a decade ago. LTO-9 transfer speeds go up to 400 megabytes per second in native mode or 1,000 megabytes in compressed mode, with additional embedded features such as hardware-based encryption, immutable WORM (Write-Once, Read-Many) operations.According to storage analyst Tom Coughlin, the latest annual report by the LTO Consortium highlights the "continued importance" of LTO technology for the world's storage needs. LTO tapes will continue to improve and have a critical role in enterprise storage architectures, providing digital companies and data centers with a solution specifically designed to handle large volumes of data and more intensive workloads. The future of AI is definitely written on tape.
May 29, 2024
Despite being older than the PC, magnetic tape storage is far from dead, in fact it's growing ...
If you want super-fast storage, you get an SSD. If you need lots of storage, you get an HDD. But does anyone want very slow and fragile storage, like magnetic tape? Turns out the answer is an emphatic yes, as almost 153 exabytes of the stuff was shipped around the world in 2023—3% more than the previous year.Many of you will be like me, in that you grew up around computers that stored all data on cassettes or cartridges that held a spool of magnetic tape. The use of ferromagnetic materials as a medium for data storage is as old as the electronic computer itself, but tape is fragile, slow to use, and entirely linear (which makes doing random reads a very tedious process).So as the floppy disk, then later the hard disk drive came to dominate the storage market, it was generally thought that magnetic tape would soon be consigned to history. As reported by Ultrium LOT (via Tom's Hardware), details on the amount of tape storage shipped throughout 2023 showed that this is very much not the case.Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, and Quantum Corporation co-develop the LTO (Linear Tape-Open) Ultrium format and it gets used in magnetic tape cartridges that can store up to 18TB, with a read speed of 400 MB/s. Those numbers might not seem very good but LTO is primarily used for system backups and data archives, so raw speeds aren't important.What is important is the very low cost-per-GB of tape and even though the medium itself is quite fragile, LTO storage cartridges themselves are reliable and robust. This is why, as the world creates ever more data, magnetic tape is still a popular choice for cheap, large-scale, long-term storage.That said, while 153 EB (153,000,000 TB) sounds a lot, the shipment report notes that this value is based on a 2.5:1 compression ratio being used by the magnetic tape storage, so the raw figure is 'only' a little over 60 exabytes. Okay, that's still a huge amount but in the last three months of 2023, total HDD shipments were estimated to be around 212 EB, so it's not like tape is any kind of threat to even that market.If you're wondering what the numbers are like for SSDs, nearly 780 EB of flash was shipped throughout last year, so when it comes to raw capacity, the humble HDD is still king. Large-capacity SSDs, those bigger than 4TB, are still painfully expensive and although it's the storage medium of choice when it comes to raw performance, if you want lots of reliable, reasonable quick terabytes, then hard disks are the way to go.Until large flash chips became cheap as…well…chips (potato not silicon), then HDDs and magnetic tape are still going to be around for a long time yet.

LTO Social Media



Keeping Backups Safe Using LTO Tape
Malware in the form of holding data for ransom has been a threat to organizations for years. Ransomware attacks are getting more sophisticated and are targeting a new class of data – backups! Ransomware will now look to delete any type of backups it comes across, for example, any Windows backup files and shared network drives. Learn how to defend against this type of cyberattack.

Video Surveillance Storage Challenges
We review some alarming incidents caught on camera and what IT departments can do to keep up with the demands of storing video surveillance content with help from LTO technology.


Does your organization use an active archive? 

Do you know the benefits of an active archive? Do you know that LTO tape storage is used to securely archive important information and that it does it economically? Learn more in this issue of LTO BlogBytes! #tapefortomorrow #lto #bigdata

LTO Case Studies

Award-winning studio protects workflow with LTO Technology

Aardman is an independent and multi-award-winning studio. It produces feature films, series, advertising, interactive entertainment and innovative attractions for both the domestic and international market. The studio’s work includes the creation of much-loved characters such as Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Morph.

Business Needs

  •  Manage and efficiently store video production material at each phase of the workflow.

  • Protect video assets from any form of accidental or intentional destruction and ransomware attacks.

  • Control costs and stay within planned budget.

  • Easily access archived content for edits, conforms, final productions and future reference.




Solution – Results:

  •  Implemented LTO tape drives and automated libraries with about 100 slot capacity.

  • Production staff can straightforwardly
    retrieve video content from tape libraries for any phase of production.

  • Able to store each step of the workflow securely to LTO tape.

  • Easy to create second tape copy of video content to store offsite for disaster protection.


LTO Tape Shipment Report
Reveals Record Breaking
Tape Capacity Shipments

July 2020

Continued increase in capacity shipments point to reliance on LTO tape in modern-day storage environments.

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 LTO Program announces Fujifilm and Sony are now both licensees of Generation 9 Technology

September 2021

LTO Seeing Continued Relevance for Archive and Offline Long-Term storage.

The LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (TPCs), Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM Corporation and Quantum are pleased to announce Fujifilm and Sony are now licensees of Generation 9 technology, meaning that both companies are planning to produce LTO-9 media moving forward. 

Hewlett Packard Enterprise logo
IBM Logo
Quantum Logo