New LTO generation 9 specifications are designed to meet customer demand for protecting and archiving big data by substantially increasing tape cartridge capacity from the previous generation.

More capacity, lower cost

For LTO generation 9, the LTO Program has balancethe cost and benefit of new technology by offering an 18 TB tape cartridge to address the current market for storage space. This represents 50% increase in capacity over LTO8, but a 1400% increase over LTOtechnology launched a decade ago. A new roadmap has also been established with the goal to double capacity in each generation moving forward.

Meanwhile, LTO generation 9 specifications include previously introduced features, such as multilayer security support via hardwarebased encryption, WORM (WriteOnce, ReadMany) functionality and support for Linear Tape File System (LTFS).The new LTO generation 9specifications include full backward read and write compatibility with LTO generation 8 cartridges.These features help LTO tape maintain its unique position of a powerful, scalable, and adaptable open tape storage format that can provide more confidence for safe and secured offline storage, particularly in helping to prevent the impact of increasing 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 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.

As an example illustration, recent 18TB disk product must use 1022 Gb/in2 vs the latest 18 TB LTO-9 cartridge that only uses 12 Gb/in2. That means that LTO-9 tape can achieve the same capacity with only 1/85th of the areal density than that of same capacity disk.

Simply put, tape has much more recoding area compared to disk and will be able to expand further in the years to come, according to INSIC. The combination of tape area and the ability to increase areal densities is the main reason why tape will continue to enjoy the 40% per year capacity growth.

Analysis 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.”