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The Complete Guide to LTO for Secure Corporate Backups

If you are an entrepreneur backing up the corporate data of your business is and should be the top priority. No doubt technology is always meant to offer humans ease in daily routine and business work, but there are many who abuse this mean. There is a whole world of a dark web user’s out there, always ready to break into an organizations system provided a single loophole. So, how do you save important files and confidential data from getting into hands of such people who can exploit it? Firewall’s, spyware’s, and antivirus software’s are a good security measure but certainly not enough. Despite having the best data security mechanism in place, the need is for something that can keep the data or information uncompromised even after the complete loss of control over the servers. And that is only possible by either creating a regular backup or archiving the data at regular intervals. Though there are many other methods and technologies used to backup or archive data, we will specifically talk about Linear Tape Open here. Optical disk and Cloud are other possibilities for storing/archiving data, each having its own pros and cons. So, let’s move forward and have a look at LTO and how does it conform to the corporate backup needs.

What is LTO?

Linear Tape Open is the oldest yet most efficient and secure way to storing the data onto some secondary device. Build up with the combination of magnetic tape and a hard shell called cartridge containing the tape for saving it from the outer harshness. The data is written onto the magnetic tape with the help of special reader and writer called tape drive.

Generations of LTO/Ultrium:

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, International Business Machines Corporation, and Quantum collectively control the organization LTO Consortium. The main task of LTO Consortium is to manage and license the generations and manufacturers of the technology. It has announced a total of 10 Ultrium generations out of which 8 have been made available for use only the last two are in making, that are about to hit the market soon. Let’s discuss the distinguishing features of Ultrium and how each generation drove the backup technology further.


The very first tape revealed for archiving the data was by the name Ultrium in 2000. Larger than any other technology that was used to store data, Linear Tapes provided 100 GB storage at that time. It has a max uncompressed data transfer speed of 20 MB/s and took only 1 hour and 25 minutes to write a full tape.


Doubling the capacity of its predecessor Consortium released the second generation in 2003 with the native data storage capacity of 200 GB at a max speed of 40 MB/s. The second version doubled everything except the complete writing-up time.


In 2005 Consortium rolled out the 3rd generation of tapes again making double every feature of the previous generation. The capacity rose from 200 GB to 400 GB raw and similarly, the data transfer rate also increased from 40 MB/s to 80 MB/s. But this time it had WORM capability which was not present in any previous generation.


Released in 2007, the 4th generation provided 800 GB native data storage capacity while it has the capability to transfer data at the blazing fast speed of 120 MB/s. The Time taken to write a full tape also increased from 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hours and 50 minutes.


Released in 2010, LTO-5 was rolled out with 1.5 TB of raw data storage capacity and uncompressed transfer speed of 140 MB/s.


2.5 Terabytes of uncompressed data archiving capacity and 160 MB/s transfer speed, Linear Tape Open 6 was released in 2012. HP c7976a LTO-6 Ultrium Data Tape is well made writable or readable data at a blistering 1.4 TB/hour, logical storing, encrypting up to 2.5TB (up to 6.25TB compressed) on a single cartridge. A 70% increase in the number of tracks has increased the bit density, enabling more data to be recorded in the same amount of tape: from 1,280 tracks for LTO-5 to 2,176 tracks for 6th generation HP c7976a LTO-6 Tape 6.25 TB cartridges. LTO Ultrium tape cartridge memory chip delivers faster access time and enhanced media monitoring.


After a little gap, Quantum again hit the market, this time with 6.0 TB native and 300 MB/s blazing fast speed.


Ultrium-8 has just released a little while ago in 2017 with an uncompressed storage capacity of 12 Terabytes at the rate of 360 MB/s.

Why LTO?

Tape media is the most secure to store the backup of important files and confidential data as it leaves no point of contact between the server and secondary storage once completely set up.

Linear Tape Open is the fastest and largest storage media with blazing fast speed that counts to 1 GB and beyond for compressed data.

Cost Cutting:
The best feature of tapes technology is that it is the most cost-effective option. Even small and mid-level organizations can leverage its power to safeguard their crucial information at the cheapest cost.

Mark Hutton
Digital devices, network devices and data storage devices entrepreneurship inspired me to study, write and review on global trends in ICT product. My journey in research and exploration for ICT device's development, manufacturing, market place and consumer level deployments educated me on accessing new horizons in ICT business. Most of my business consist on data tapes, data cartridges in other words, tape media as digital data storage solutions. Me and my team help small business and minority owned businesses to switch on better digital technologies for sustainable growth in their respective industries.

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