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What’s Ahead for LTO

by on August 11, 2011

LTO-future Yogi Berra once said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” Aside from the obvious humor in this quote, there’s also some truth in its twisted logic: To get where you want to go, you’ve got to have a clear plan for getting there.

The folks behind the LTO (Linear Tape-Open) Program have given data center managers just that with the LTO roadmap. By way of quick introduction, LTO is far and away the leading tape format, comprising 90 percent of the overall tape market. HP, IBM and Quantum together manage the development and roadmap of LTO. LTO’s mere existence is proof of tape’s ongoing role in data storage. LTO continues to evolve, becoming better and faster with each generation to meet customer demand. Tape evolves, ergo it lives.

The LTO Consortium has published a roadmap outlining plans for continued development of LTO technology, which is currently in generation 5. The roadmap commits to three more generations of LTO, allowing data center managers to plan ahead for their tape storage needs as far as LTO-8.

The roadmap promises a 100 percent increase in capacity and a 50 percent improvement in speed with each of the next three generations, along with a 25 percent improvement in compression levels. Subsequent generations will continue to offer WORM and encryption features, as well as the partitioning capability that allows LTO to work together with LTFS to make tape easier and faster to use. While the roadmap doesn’t specify a timeline, generations are expected to be about two years apart.

With licenses now available for the still-under-development LTO-6, the next step for LTO tape is in progress. As the LTO roadmap shows, data center managers have a lot to look forward to when it comes to the future of tape.

What do you think about the LTO road map? Does it give you more confidence in tape stroage?

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