The LTO Program Technology provider companies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, International Business Machines Corporation and Quantum Corporation, released their annual tape media shipment report, detailing Y/Y shipments through 4Q22.
The report reveals 148.3EB of total tape capacity (compressed) shipped in 2022, an increase of 0.5% over 2021, and a strong result driven by continued hyperscaler and enterprise investment in LTO tape technology.
“LTO tape capacity shipments reached another record in 2022, outperforming alternative storage technologies that experienced declines,” said Bruno Hald, GM, secondary storage, Quantum. “Both hyperscale and enterprise customers continue to value LTO tape as low cost, secure, and green storage for data protection and archiving. Our ongoing efforts to improve and innovate the capabilities of LTO tape reflect our commitment to meeting the changing needs of our customers and staying at the forefront of the industry. We believe that these efforts, combined with the inherent advantages of LTO tape, will ensure its continued relevance and success in the years to come.”
As global business and technical leaders track emerging trends in storage and management, LTO tape technology provides a solution to the challenges posed by the growth of unstructured data, while simultaneously delivering cost savings and environmental sustainability benefits. Further, LTO tape offers a secure place to keep an air-gapped copy of data to protect vs. ransomware and malware.
“LTO tape offers a low cost, secure solution for ransomware protection,” said Christophe Bertrand, practice director, Enterprise Strategy Group. “We’re seeing that LTO technology continues to represent a high value for traditional customers in need of airgap and long-term storage, which is one of the factors driving a resurgence in enterprise demand.”
The latest LTO gen is LTO-9, which is designed to support increased tape cartridge storage capacity of up to 45TB when compressed. LTO-9 drives offer backward read and write compatibility with LTO-8 cartridges, along with various previously established functionalities, such as hardware-based encryption that supports multi-layer security, WORM capability, and LTFS support. In September of 2022, the LTO program announced an extended LTO tape roadmap that calls for plans to achieve up to 1.4PB of compressed capacity per cartridge by gen 14.
The total capacity of LTO cartridges shipped was flat from 2021 to 2022 with uncompressed 48.3EB shipped.
In a press release published by the same LTO Program Technology on April 2022, it was announced that 148EB of total tape capacity (compressed) shipped in 2021, marking a record year, with a growth rate of 40%, this performance in shipments following the previous record-breaking 114EB capacity shipped in 2019 and 105EB shipped in 2020.
Unfortunately, once more, the market of LTO tape drives was not revealed and for sure was largely down as the capacity of the cartridges increased.
No dates were announced for the upcoming LTO-10 to LTO-14. Cartridge capacity generally follows the maximum uncompressed capacity of HDDs on the market, currently 22TB, to be compared to native 18TB of LTO-9 actually available.
Note: Compressed capacities assume 2.5:1 compression (achieved with larger compression history buffer).