Is it Time For You to Upgrade to LTO-9?

The Challenge:

Many companies are facing the challenge of managing a rapidly growing library of files and metadata that are valuable to the business. Therefore, it is important to protect these media assets and ensure long-term retrieval and secure files from unauthorized access, hack, or ransomware. 

The Solution: 

LTO tape has been a staple for Media companies for archiving and near-line storage over the last decade. LTO Tape has proven to be a dependable and cost-effective way to store and protect data over time.

In this blog, Savva Mueller, Director of Business Development at Telestream, gives you the rundown on the latest version of Linear Tape-Open version 9 (LTO-9).

What are the improvements of LTO-9 over LTO-8? 

The capacity of an LTO-9 tape is 18TB, a 50% increase over LTO-8’s capacity. This increase in capacity enables a 50% increase in storage space using the same number of tape slots.  The data transfer speed of LTO-9 has increased by 11% over that over LTO-8, from 360MBps to 400MBps.   

Are LTO-9 drives backward compatible?

LTO-9 drives can read and write LTO-8 media, but not any generations prior to LTO-8. This ability to read and write only the previous generation’s media is consistent with what was supported by LTO-8 drives, which could only read and write LTO-7 media. Prior to LTO-8, drives were expected to be able to write to the previous generation and to read the previous two generations.

Each LTO-9 tape will need to be calibrated prior to the first time it is written to. Previous generations did not require this of LTO media. Calibration will require between 35 minutes to 2 hours per tape.

From your experience, how long does it take customers to adopt new LTO technologies?

As a rule, we start to see a small number of customers show interest in the adoption of a new LTO generation around six months after its release, with wider adoption taking place 12-18 months after release. The slow rate of adoption is primarily due to the high initial price of both drives and media. As time goes on and inventory increases, the prices drop, and we see accelerated adoption. It remains to be seen if the delayed release of LTO-9 will result in increased and/or accelerated demand.

What is the pricing for LTO-9 tapes?

Prices for drives and tapes will vary between vendors. LTO-9 media will likely cost $160-$200 per tape for the immediate future, with the price decreasing over time. For reference, the current price of LTO-8 media is roughly $70-$100 per tape.

Media and entertainment organizations originally prized LTO for its density and price since it represented a more affordable option for archival storage compared to spinning disks. While LTO storage is still very affordable, lately, the marketing of LTO has pivoted toward its ability to provide air-gapped storage that is less susceptible to ransomware attacks.

Do all of the Telestream Content Management products support LTO-9?

Yes! We support LTO-9.

LTO-9 debuted in early September 2021. Our DIVA Kumulate, and FlashNet solutions have added support for LTO-9 drives and media.

Contact a Telestream expert today.

For more about migrating your LTO library, read this blog post.

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