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LTFS and LTO-5: Tape Acting Like Tape, Only Better

by on May 19, 2011

Recently, I’ve spent some time talking about LTFS and LTO-5 and how their capabilities are one more signal of strong vital signs for tape in the data storage world. These innovations have demonstrated that tape is an adaptive and evolving technology, and they’re making tape faster and easier to use.


Some observers have said that LTFS and LTO-5 work together to enable tape to act like disk. And while I see what they mean, because this combination provides file system access that lets you access files on tape as you would on any other drive, I would argue that with LTFS, tape is acting like tape—only better.

Tape continues to be the best-suited medium for long-term storage and archiving. This is partly because tape offers cost-effective storage capacity, which becomes especially when it comes to storing increasingly larger volumes of data over longer timeframes. LTO-5 improves upon this advantage of tape by offering twice the capacity of its predecessor.

If you’re keeping data for a long time, it’s a good bet that compliance is part of your motivation, and that being able to produce specific files quickly will be important. LTFS makes it faster and easier to identify and locate the data you need.

Also, the longer you’re storing data, the more likely it is that your backup software vendor will go out of business while you still need to access your data. Because it operates independently of the backup software, LTFS removes this concern.

The key theme here: there’s no need to try to make tape into something it isn’t. Instead, LTFS and LTO-5 work together to help tape do a better job at doing what it does best: storing data economically over the long term.

Tape and disk still each offer relative advantages as part of a good balanced storage solution. By improving the usability of tape, LTFS and LTO-5 are making for a better storage solution overall.

What do you think? Does LTFS & LTO-5 change your opinion on tape?

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