Magnetic tape is a data storage solution for storing digital information on magnetic tape. At the outset, large open tape reels were the most popular format, but modern magnetic tape is packaged in cartridges and cassettes. This is known as Linear Tape Open. Linear Tape-Open (LTO) is a magnetic tape data storage technology developed in the late 1990s as an open standards option to the patented magnetic tape formats that were available at the time. Shortly after launch, LTO Ultrium rapidly defined the tape market and has consistently been the best-selling data storage format.
Why LTO may be the best option for long-term storage
Many IT and data storage professionals encounter numerous challenges as a result of the remarkable growth of file-based workflows and media. The need to reliably and cost-effectively store massive amounts of data, an aspect that has become critical for continued business growth. However, much like vintage cars that never seem to die LTO might seem obsolete and basic at first glance. Even though it doesn’t have the shiny new excitement of cloud or other more marketable storage offerings, LTO is hard to beat as a long-term storage solution and here’s why:
LTO boasts a remarkable 30-year lifespan. In comparison, HDDs are more volatile with a higher failure rate and a life expectancy of around 5 years.
However, the 30-year prediction only applies to tapes stored in a clean, controlled environment with both temperature and humidity control.
As mentioned earlier, LTO stands for Linear Tape Open. The ‘Open’ of the LTO implies ‘open standards’. That means the storage technology is available for license by multiple vendors. With multiple sources of media and drives, the format has flexibility. The success and failure of LTO doesn’t center on one manufacturer. Competition keeps prices in check and affordable media is popular media.
The LTO Roadmap
Imagine if you could see into the future and know exactly what storage options will be available 10 years from now. Well you can with he LTO road map! The is especially helpful if you are considering the expenditures needed for an LTO setup.
Data Security and Portability
Perhaps the greatest advantage of LTO tape storage, is its portability. Not a super sexy quality at all, but nonetheless very useful. Tape cartridges can easily be stored offline or transported to an offsite location. Storing important files on tapes offline is a perfect way to prevent cyberattacks like ransomware. Storing tapes offline also preserves files against glitches, accidental deletion, and natural disasters.
Data files are only getting bigger so it’s convenient that the current generation of tape is capable of storing up to 30TB of data. That equivalent to 1600 HD movies per cartridge.
Let’s face it, all the dependability and capacity in the world would mean nothing if LTO as much too expensive to implement. Individual data tapes are inexpensive especially when compared to disk. But there are many factors to consider when calculating cost. It’s essential to consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a tape storage system:
- Implementing tape storage solution requires a large upfront expense, requiring hardware, software, and media.
-You will need someone to manage the tape drives/libraries that hold the cartridges.
-Tapes are energy efficient because they don’t require a constant source of power to store data, unlike disk storage.
-The cost per GB drops the more data you archive.