LTO Technology
Linear Tape Open (LTO) Ultrium is a high capacity, single reel tape storage solution developed and continually enhanced by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM and Quantum and promoted by the LTO Program. It’s a powerful, scalable and adaptable tape format that helps address the growing demands of data protection. It’s also an open format, licensed by some of the most prominent names in the storage industry to ensure a broad range of compatible tape drives and cartridges.

Delivering Scalability and Growth for Generations

LTO technology is currently in its 9th generation with a twenty year history of providing secure, reliable storage for Enterprises and organisations across the world. LTO-9 specifications support tape cartridge storage compressed capacity of up to 45 TB*, and tape drive data transfer rates of up to 1000MB* per second for 3.6 terabytes of storage performance per hour and per drive.

New generations have been introduced regularly with higher capacity and transfer rates along with new features to further protect your data and content. LTO specifications for backward compatibility up to generation seven of the technology is to write back one generation and read back two generations. The later 8th and 9th generations of LTO Ultrium tape drives are able to write back and read back one generation’.

*Assuming a 2.5:1 compression achieved with larger compression history buffer available beginning with LTO generation 6 drives.

Addressing your storage needs


With the growing importance of regulatory compliance — including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and SEC Commented [NW1]

Rule 17-a-4(f) — organisations need a cost-effective storage medium that can preserve corporate data in a non-rewriteable, non-erasable and unalterable format. LTO technology has write-once, read-many (WORM) capabilities to ensure that your data isn’t overwritten and also help address compliance regulations. It’s designed to provide users with a very cost effective means of storing data in a non-rewriteable format to address compliance regulations.

The key features of LTO WORM are secure encoding mastered on the tape media at the time of manufacture. 

  • robust algorithms that use LTO Cartridge Memory (CM) in conjunction with the unique factory- written format to prevent tampering.


  • ability to append data at the end of a WORM cartridge so users can take full advantage of the tape capacity.


  • a distinctive two tone coloured cartridge to distinguish WORM media from rewritable media.

For more information on how LTO Ultrium WORM technology addresses the applicable conditions of SEC Rule 17a – 4(f) read the Cohasset Associates compliance assessment that is included in our resources section.


It seems that every day that a company experiences ransomware or cyberattack that exposes confidential or private information. That’s why recent generation LTO technology drives features one of the strongest encryption capabilities available to help protect the most sensitive data stored on tape cartridges. Learn more about LTO Encryption in the Encryption section:



Recent generations of LTO technology include a partitioning feature, which help to enhance file control and space management via Linear Tape File System (LTFS).

Partitioning allows for a portion of the tape to be reserved for indexing, which tells the drive precisely where in the tape a file is stored.The second partition holds the actual file. With Linear Tape File System, the indexing information is first read by the drive and presented in a simple, easy-to-use format that allows for “drag and drop” capabilities–just like using a thumb drive. Learn more about the benefits of partitioning in the LTFS section.