IBM ships new LTO 9 Tape Drives with greater density, performance, and resiliency
As data gen continues to explode around the world with some researchers suggesting a doubling of the ‘digital universe’ to more than 180 zettabytes by 2025, increasing pressure is being placed upon the administrators responsible for storing, managing, and securing that data.
To help enterprises contend with the challenge, IBM, which has been innovating in storage for 7 decades, announced the availability of the industry’s first magnetic tapes and drives that can store an 45TB of compressed data on a single cartridge (18TB uncompressed). The drive and tape are based on the Ultrium LTO-9 spec and designed to provide organizations greater access, performance and resiliency for data stored on-prem, in the cloud, or at the edge.
In addition to the 50% capacity boost from its predecessor, LTO-8, which supports 12TB of data (30TB compressed), the company’s LTO-9 tape drive features several performance improvements over LTO-8. For example, these drives support data transfer rates of up to 400MB/s (1) for full high and 300MB/s for half high cartridges – an 11% boost from the previous gen.
These drives also feature IBM’s new ‘Open Recommended Access Order’ (oRAO), a new data retrieval accelerator that enables applications to retrieve data from tapes with dramatically reduced seek time between files. Specifically, oRAO, which can be used with compressed or uncompressed data, can reduce those access times by 73% (2). Developed from the firm’s file access acceleration technology, oRAO can also speed cyber resilience response times by shortening the time needed to recover data.
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Building up cyber resiliency with IBM LTO-9
The full-height LTO-9 tape drive is designed to natively support data encryption, with core hardware encryption and decryption capabilities resident in the tape drive itself to ensure data privacy and reduce the risk of data corruption due to virus or sabotage.
According to a recent security report, from 2020 to 2021 the average total cost of a data breach increased by nearly 10% Y/Y, the largest single year cost increase in the last 7 years. Today, ransomware is one of the costlier types of breaches, with an average cost of $4.62 million per breach (3) and one of the most common, with cybersecurity firm, SonicWall, reporting ransomware attacks rose to 304.6 million in 2020, up 62% over 2019.
In other words, ransomware is here to stay for the foreseeable future. It is no longer a matter of if your organization will be attacked, but when and how often. Looking to limit the impact of cyberattacks, the IBM LTO-9 tapes and drives enable organizations to create cost-effective, cyber resilience strategies.
Tape backups allow to safely recover from a ransomware attack, helping avoid expensive ransom and other fees. IBM tape solutions are also cost-beneficial, costing less than 1% per GB/month, exactly 0.59¢/GB, in other words, $5.89/TB (4). Also, by implementing an IBM LTO-9 tapes and drives, companies can store up to 1.04EB of compressed data per 18-frame tape library and up to 39PB of compressed data in a 10-square-foot tape library with LTO Ultrium 9 tape cartridges. Additionally, customers can reduce their TCO of their tape library up to 39% by swapping in LTO-9 technology over LTO-8 (5). And remember, tape technology does not add extra charges to retrieve your data.
Best physical air-gap between your data and cyber criminals
Most organizations have a cyber recovery plan that relies on backups. The best practice in this situation is create a physical ‘air-gap’ to ensure the backup is going to a system that is secure and offline. Utilizing tape storage is a to provide customers with that physical gap. Tapes are portable, and can be stationed in remote, offline locations for superior protection from natural or manmade threats. When the LTO Ultrium 9 data cartridge is removed from the tape drive or library they are physically ‘air-gapped’ reducing the risk of cyber sabotage.
Anti-corruption: tape provides data immutability with WORM capabilities
The LTO-9 Ultrium WORM data cartridge model stores data in a non-erasable, non-rewritable format to prevent overwriting and reduce the risk of data loss due to human error.
Evaluating 10-year cyber security plans should consider IBM tape storage to keep critical data backed up, immutable with WORM data cartridges, and encrypted behind air gap protection to prevent blackmail. In case an attack occurs and restoring your entire storage is required, a clean copy of the data on LTO-9 tape technology is likely to be the cheapest and most reliable recovery option without extra retrieval fees to a cloud provider.
As well as helping you protect vs. a malware or ransomware event, the WORM capabilities are often essential to meet regulatory and legal compliance across many industries and for publicly traded companies. With the immutability of LTO-9 WORM data cartridges, customers can be assured their data will always be available for audits, legal issues, and financial compliance.
Limit your exposure to malware and ransomware attacks with LTO-9 tape storage.
 IBM, Miyamura et al., IBM LTO-9 Tape Drive Full Height Model Performance White Paper, October 2020
 Based on IBM internal testing of like User Data Sets, not all users will see these levels of performance improvements as optimization varies according to the number of segments retrieved. Source: Tsuyoshi Miyamura and Osamu Matsumiya, IBM LTO-9 Tape Drive RAO Performance Position Paper, May 2021
 The Ponemon Institute, The Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021, July 2021
 2021 IBM analysis for 1EB tape storage with 96 drives with LTO-8 technology at 2:1 compression, not inclusive of spectrum archive or Black Pearl. Values expressed in US currency
 IBM analysis comparing 3-year TCO of new 200PB library with 18 LTO-8 drives against new 200PB library with 18 LTO-9 drives