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LTO-9 Expected to Ship in Fall 2020

Revealed Spectra Logic.

LTO-9 is expected to ship in Fall 2020, said officially on last February 13 Spectra Logic Corp., specialist of tape libraries, following LTO-8 currently available.

Spectra Logic Lto 9

As usual, before the final availability of each new coming LTO category, the company offers a pre-purchase program to convince end users to get the new format more rapidly: “Pre-order one or more LTO-9 drives and receive an equal number of LTO-8 drives now, to use until LTO-9 drives are received.”

As for most recently LTO gen, LTO-9 will integrate SDLC data compression, AES-256 encryption, 8Gb FC and probably 6Gb SAS interfaces, WORM capability, and LTFS with supposed capacity up to native 24TB capacity (60TB compressed), an increase of 2x from LTO-8, with transfer rate to be determined.

This capacity is aimed to be in par with the next gens of HDDs.

Generally, a new gen of LTO can also read and write the former one, only read the preceding one.

History
LTO technology was developed jointly by Certance (now Quantum), Hewlett Packard Enterprise and especially IBM in 1998. It was first introduced in 2000 and is currently in its 8th gen.

Two years after announcing LTO-7 in November 2015 – with its first drive, in half-height format – and 5 ones after launching LTO-6, IBM reveals the first LTO-8 tape drives at the end of 2017. The LTO-8 cartridges have capacity of 12TB and 260MB/s uncompressed (2.5x more with compression) transfer rate or twice more than LTO-7.

Actors in LTO-8
Fujifilm and Sony license LTO-8 technology to produce cartridges, and drives, autoloaders or libraries were adopted with it at least by Fujitsu, IBM (for the first time in October 2017 and available in 4Q17), mLogic, NetDrive, Oracle StorageTek, Overland-Tandberg, Spectra Logic, ProMAX Systems, and Qualstar.

But currently IBM seems to be the only manufacturer of drives, Fujifilm and Sony for cartridges. It represents only limited sources for a standard supposed to be “open.”

Then LTO-10
LTO-10 is supposed to be up to 50TB and 1,100MB/s native, and 125TB and 2,750MB/s with compression. Even LTO-11 (up to 96TB native)  and -12 (192TB) is on the roadmap.

LTO roadmap
Lto Roadmap

There are only two other magnetic tape cartridges technology, from IBM (TS1160, 20TB) and Oracle (T10000, 8.5TB), especially for mainframes and for libraries with enormous capacities, all the other ones disappearing in a shrinking worldwide tape market since several years and now only adopted for archiving, not anymore backup.

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,” according to the LTO Program.

But the organization never reveals Y/Y trend to get a clear vision of the market trend.

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