About the LTO Program

Linear Tape-Open (LTO) technology was developed jointly by Certance (now Quantum), Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and IBM in 1998 to provide a clear and viable choice in an increasingly complex array of tape storage options.

The three companies set out to develop an “open format” technology so that users would have multiple sources of product and media. Each offered expert knowledge of customer needs and complementary technology that provided for delivery of a best-of-breed technology and promotes a strong foundation for data interchange. The collaboration ensured that other companies could participate in the tape industry opportunity through the open licensing process. The result was Linear Tape-Open Technology.

Linear Tape-Open Technology is a powerful open tape specification. The technology is the backbone of a generation of super tape storage products that feature high capacity and performance while maintaining high data integrity. The LTO Technology combines the advantages of a linear multi-channel, bi-directional format with enhancements in servo technology, data compression, track layout and error correction code to maximize capacity, performance and reliability.

LTO technology has been utilized in enterprise-wide data protection that accommodates a range of tape storage requirements from single server to complex networked environments for fast performance and high-capacity needs to address service level agreements and data protection.

Today, the LTO Program continues to build on more than a decade of success and seven generations of LTO technology. LTO tape is as popular as ever, with more than 225 million LTO cartridges and more than 4.4 million drives shipped since its introduction.

For more on LTO technology and its plans for the future, view the roadmap.

Ultrium LTO-9 Roadmap

Questions? Check our FAQ for answers.


The LTO Program looks forward to showcasing the latest in storage technology at some of the biggest industry events next year!