Successful Tests Bring LTO-7 Tape Closer to Release

By Pedro Hernandez

Tapes based on the seventh-generation Linear Tape-Open (LTO) specification are inching closer to release.

This month, Fujifilm and Sony passed interchange testing for the LTO Ultrium generation 7 (LTO-7) format, announced the LTO Program's technology provider companies, a group comprised of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM and Quantum. Interchange testing helps ensure that the format's data interchangeability requirements are met, and is a key qualification for the use of LTO-7 trademarks on compatible products.

Essentially, Fujifilm and Sony have cleared a big hurdle in bringing the faster, high-capacity data backup and archiving technology to the data center.

"The industry leading magnetic tape manufacturers have once again demonstrated their commitment to the LTO Program," said Calline Sanchez, vice president of Enterprise System Storage at IBM. "The LTO-7 technology is the biggest announcement in capacity and performance that the LTO program has made in four generations. LTO technology continues to provide enterprises with a way to contain the massive growth of critical data at the lowest possible cost."

Tapes sporting the LTO-7 logo will have a raw capacity of 6 TB (15 TB compressed) and soak up data at rates of up to 300 MB per second (750 MB per second compressed). In comparison to LTO-6 technology maxes out at 2.5 TB and support transfer speeds of up to 160 MB per second.

According to a recent Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) lab report, the technology is also reliable and error-resistant, major considerations in deploying enterprise-grade storage systems designed to retrieve important data long after it has been backed up. In a Nov. 23 blog post, the LTO Program wrote that "according to the ESG findings, you would have a greater chance of getting hit by lightning, eaten by a shark, or even winning the lottery than having an uncorrectable error in your LTO tape media."

Quoting from the report, the post stated that the format's "design features produce a one in 1019 bit-error-rate (BER) for LTO-7 media. In layman's terms, this means that it would take 130 tape drives writing data continually for one year to encounter an error that could not be fixed by ECC [error-correcting code]." ESG's report also observed "that you are more likely (1 in 1016) to hit an uncorrectable error in your enterprise disk environment (than with LTO-7 tape)," stated the blog.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on November 25, 2015