LTO tape technology is secure, long term, low cost data storage that can help you “green” your data center.

As companies use the potential of data to achieve their objectives, the expanding compute and analytic needs can be limited by power, space and cooling constraints. Sustainable IT initiatives can help address business and sustainability goals simultaneously. For example, CO2 emission reduction is inherently connected to energy consumption and, as a result, to cost savings.



“ESG concluded that organizations could save on energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and disposal costs in their production storage environments by adding tape as a storage tier and replacing spinning HDDs with tape media for the less active data.”

Proven Reliability of LTO-9 Tape Technology, ESG, January 2023


By the end of 2030, the cold/frozen data storage layer might comprise ~22 zettabytes (around 61%) of the total 35.8 zettabytes in the active installed base ¹.

It’s estimated that new shipments of enterprise storage capacity destined to manage cold/frozen data (data that is infrequently/never accessed but must be retained) will exceed one zettabyte in 2023. By the end of 2023, it is likely that the cold/frozen data layers—with access frequencies spanning days to years—will comprise 3.7 zettabytes (~57%) of the total 6.5 zettabytes in the active installed base. By the end of 2030, the cold/frozen data layers might comprise ~22 zettabytes (~61%) of the total ~35.8 zettabytes in the active installed base. In other words, we are creating more and more data and deleting less and less of the data we create.

Cooling systems are responsible for 75% of energy consumption costs ³.

Growing energy cost and environmental responsibility have placed the data center industry under increasing pressure to improve its energy efficiency. Of all data center energy consumption, the cooling system typically consumes the second largest portion (the first being IT equipment). For example, assume a 1MW data center with a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.91 at 50% IT load, the cooling system consumes about 36% of the energy used by the entire data center (including IT equipment) and about 75% of the energy used by the physical infra- structure (without IT equipment) to support the IT applications.

Data center storage and cooling for storage is estimated to consume over 40% of the power in an average data center ⁵.

With rapid growth of large data centers worldwide, data centers become energy intensive processes accounting for over 1% of the world’s electricity usage. Large data centers with capacity up to 120 MW  have been built in recent years. Energy efficiency becomes even more important for these data centers yet research shows that energy consumption by cooling data center IT equipment is between 30% and 55% of the total energy consumption. Cooling and ventilation system consumes on average 40% of the total energy consumption in a data center.

A single petabyte of HDD data retained for a decade, results in 66.2 tons of CO2e, while the tape solution results in 15.6 tons of CO2e for the same period ².

The difference in this compare, is equivalent to saving 13 years of CO2e production by the average United Kingdom gas powered automobile. All CO2e production carries a calculated cost to the environment, directly influencing the economics of sustainable investments. According to the 2022 study, which attempts to compute the real cost of a ton of CO2e (tCO2), the economic cost of CO2e is $185 tCO2.

This cost can be applied to our economic value of LTO-9 media. In the 1 petabyte example, the LTO-9 data retention solution results in savings of $9,361 USD.  Organizations deploying tape are starting with lower carbon, produce less carbon during the operational life of the product and produce less waste. Tape represents the core of sustainable solutions for data.

88% of studies reviewed found that companies that adhered to social or environmental standards showed better operational performance, and 80% of studies showed a positive effect on stock price performance ⁴.

In an enhanced meta-study by Oxford University, researchers categorizeds more than 200 different sources. Within it, they found a “remarkable correlation” between diligent sustainability business practices and economic performance. The findings from a strategic management perspective were very clear: 88% of reviewed sources found that companies with robust sustainability practices demonstrate better operational performance, which ultimately translates into cashflows. The second part of the report built on this insight, where 80% of the reviewed studies showed that prudent sustainability practices have a positive influence on investment performance. The meta-study provided clear evidence that responsibility and profitability are not incompatible, but in fact wholly complementary.

¹ From the Stockholder to the Stakeholder: How Sustainability Can Drive Financial Outperformance”, University of Oxford / Arabesque Partners, March 2015

84% of executives agree business transformation will have greater success if integrated with purpose ⁶.

Much of the discussion about purpose suggests that companies perform better if they have a clear sense of purpose. Purpose-driven companies make more money, have more engaged employees and more loyal customers, and are even better at innovation and transformational change. It seems to be easier to win the game when you care about the game.

“The sense of being part of something greater than yourself can lead to high levels of engagement, high levels of creativity, and the willingness to partner across functional and product boundaries within a company, which are hugely powerful,” said Rebecca Henderson, the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard Business School.

“Once they’re past a certain financial threshold, many people are as motivated by intrinsic meaning and the sense that they are contributing to something worthwhile as much as they are by financial returns or status.”


1 The Long Term Value of Tape”, John Monroe, Further Market Research, April 2023
2 Data Economics: LTO-9 Technology Optimizing Data Value’, Solutions North, May 2023
3 Addressing the massive inefficiencies of datacenter cooling, Schneider Electrics, 2017
4 From the Stockholder to the Stakeholder: How Sustainability Can Drive Financial Outperformance”, University of Oxford / Arabesque Partners, March 2015
5 Cooling Energy Consumption Investigation of Data Center IT Room with Vertical Placed Server, Energy Procedia 2017
6 The business case for purpose, Harvard Business Review analytic services report, 2019


There are multiple reasons to use tape storage to help achieve sustainability goals including low cost, low energy consumption and high reliability. Find out more in this revealing Sustainability webinar from the LTO Program!

Renewable energy is not a free pass

According to IDC1, the average energy consumption for multitenant datacenters grew 31% from 2017 to 2020 and an estimated 117% for hyperscale operators. Faced with skyrocketing demand, renewable energy can’t come online fast enough or cheaply enough to keep up with the rapid growth in datacenter power consumption to support business needs. Firms will need to reduce their overall energy requirements, not simply rely on using different energy sources to achieve sustainability.

Not all data is created equally

Data is a resource that can quickly become ‘cold’, which means that access frequency or value diminishes rapidly as it ages. At the same time, however, many businesses – and for many different reasons – have retention policies that prevent them from simply deleting cold data.  Meanwhile, data growth is preventing IT groups and business teams from proactively filtering which data needs to be kept and which can be disposed of. This is where active archiving saves the day as cold data can move from expensive, energy intensive tiers of storage to environmentally-friendly and sustainable LTO tape.

More than simply green and sustainable
  • Tape remains the lowest cost storage media on a $/GB basis
  • With a tape air gap, you make your data more secure against ransomware threats
  • Tape can store data more reliably and for longer periods due to having a far better uncorrected bit error rate (UBER) than Enterprise SATA disk – 10-20 versus 10-15
  • Tape technology has more room to grow in areal density and therefore capacity, and has a well-defined roadmap reaching 14 generations and 1,440 TB (compressed) per cartridge.

“There will be an increasingly immense hunger for the least expensive ASPs/GB combined with the greatest available capacities, and new breeds of tape or other inexpensive enterprise storage technologies should play a crucial role here.”

The Escalating Challenge of Preserving Enterprise Data, Further Market Research, August 2022


Sustainability Benefits of Deploying LTO Technology in Modern IT Ecosystems.
PDF Document

Technology and Sustainability – LTO: Saving the Planet.
PDF Document

2020 Hyperscale Storage and Energy Consumption: Horizon Information Strategies.
PDF Document

LTO-9 Technology and User Data Reliability Analysis.
PDF Document

Data Economics: LTO-9 Technology Optimizing Data Value’, Solutions North, May 2023.
PDF Document

Storage Management in an Age of Minimal Data Deletion, Further Research.
PDF Document