The LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (TPCs), Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP, IBM Corp., and Quantum Corp., released an updated LTO tape technology roadmap that extends the LTO Ultrium standard through 14 gens.
The roadmap calls for tape capacities to double with each new gen, with LTO-14 delivering up to 1.44PB(*)) per tape. Once introduced, LTO-14 will surpass the capacity of current LTO-9 cartridges by 32x.
“LTO tape is more relevant than ever as low-cost, sustainable storage for long-term data archiving, and as a secure data storage option for strengthening cybersecurity,” says Sam Werner, VP, storage product management, IBM. “With specifications now defined through generation 14, LTO tape is poised to support rapid and accelerating data growth. It offers organizations a sustainable, reliable, and low-cost solution to protect and store their critical business data.”
The LTO Program first released its LTO Ultrium standard in 2000 with a capacity of 200GB/cartridge compressed. 2 decades later, the LTO Program released LTO-9, which supports tape cartridge storage compressed capacity of up to 45TB (*) and tape drive data transfer rates of up to 1,000MB/s (*). At less than $0.01/GB, LTO has established itself as the storage medium of choice for long-term data archiving both on-premises and in the cloud.
“According to IDC data, the magnetic tape market grew at robust 10.5% in 2021, driven by the needs to defend against ransomware, store large volumes of data at low-cost, as well as data centers pivoting to ‘green’ technologies,” said Phil Goodwin, research VP, IDC. “Moreover, data volumes continue to double every two to three years. Multi-petabyte implementations have become commonplace. This LTO roadmap, out to Gen 14 with more than 1PB of compressed capacity per cartridge, illustrates how LTO technology will continue advancing to meet organizations’ large capacity storage needs for years to come.”
The record-breaking LTO media capacity shipments of 2021 highlight how LTO tape has seen renewed adoption and interest among organizations due to its attributes, including the air-gapped protection it offers against ransomware, the benefits it brings to organizations’ Environmental, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) initiatives, and its reliability and low cost as compared with other data storage options.
(*) Assumes a 2.5:1 compression achieved with larger compression history buffer available beginning with LTO-6 drives.
No dates are announced for the upcoming LTO-10 to LT0-14. Cartridge capacity generally follows the maximum capacity of HDDs on the market, currently 22TB, to be compared to native 18TB of LTO-9 actually available.