LTO-9 is the latest format specification for LTO Ultrium tape drives and media. It provides significantly more capacity and higher performance that the previous generation, LTO-8.

More capacity, less cost, and faster too

For LTO generation 9, the LTO Program has balanced the cost and benefit of new technology by offering an 18 TB tape cartridge to address the current market demand for storage space. It represents a 50% capacity boost over LTO–8 and a 1400% increase over LTO-5 technology launched a decade ago, with transfer speeds of 400 MB/s (native), 1,000 MB/s (2.5:1).

A new roadmap has also been published with the goal to double capacity for each LTO generation from now on.

LTO Ultrium Roadmap
Satisfying your growing storage needs

LTO generation 9 specifications include multi–layer security support with hardware–based encryption, immutable WORM (Write–Once, Read–Many) functionality and fast data access with the Linear Tape File System (LTFS). Plus, full backward read and write compatibility with LTO generation 8 cartridges. LTO-9 maintains the powerful, scalable, and adaptable open tape storage format gives users the confidence to invest in tape as a primary archival and data protection solution, with benefit of offline storage to protect against the immediate and growing threat of cyberattacks.

1 Assumes 2.5:1 compression
2 INSIC, INSIC Tape Technology update and Linear Tape-Open (LTO) White paper, September 2019

Future-proof your archives with LTO-9 technology

According to the INSIC tape technology roadmap2, the potential for tape technology to meet robust capacity predictions over the next decade shows a clear advantage to HDD technologies. Current LTO and enterprise tape drives operate at areal densities that are about two orders of magnitude less than the latest HDD. That means it is possible to continue increasing capacity of tape technology at historical rates through to about 2030.

Compare, for example, an 18TB disk product using 1022 Gb/in 2  with the latest 18 TB LTO-9 cartridge using just 12 Gb/in 2 . This means an LTO-9 tape can deliver he same capacity with only 1/85th of the areal density of a similar capacity disk. Simply, tape has the headroom to expand further and faster than disk, says INSIC, providing 40% per year capacity growth for the foreseeable future.

Analyst viewpoint

“Given its long history of use and a solid path for future innovation, tape still has a significant role to play in the modern data center and in hybrid topologies,” says Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at Enterprise StrategyGroup. “Tape’s role is shifting, which further enhances its value. Other than archiving massive data sets for active archives or longer retention at low cost, tape has the ability to create an isolated and “air-gapped” layer. This emerging use case is perfect for keeping data out of reach of cyber-attackers.”