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LTO Celebrates 12th Anniversary

Hewlett-Packard (HP), IBM and Quantum announced that the Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Ultrium format continues to enjoy success, twelve years after its introduction.

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Unedited press release follows:

The LTO Program Celebrates 12th Year as More than 80,000 PB of Data is Protected and Retained in Multiple Applications

• Shipments of LTO tape drives and cartridge media reach new milestones

• LTO Ultrium generation 6 specification availability date announced

• LTFS opens door to new applications that can help slash storage costs and improve ease of file content access

SILICON VALLEY, Calif. — The vast amount of data being handled and protected by storage managers and media professionals increases each and every day, driving the need for cost-effective, reliable and compatible solutions that retain and protect data. To address this, storage managers are turning to tape as an easy-to-manage and simple way to address their storage needs and follow best practices.

As a result, the LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (TPCs), HP Corporation, IBM Corporation and Quantum Corporation, announced today that LTO technology has been helping to protect critical data assets for 12 years. According to a recent study by IDC* more than 4 million LTO drives have been shipped since the beginning of the program. Another key milestone is expected to be met by the end of this quarter as Santa Clara Consulting Group anticipates that more than 200 million LTO cartridges will have been shipped to organizations big and small since the format’s inception. This translates into more than 80,000 PB (uncompressed) of storage capacity worldwide.

“The amount of data that is stored on tape media continues to increase dramatically, and the need for compatible, cost effective tape backup and archive solutions remains an important part of the IT infrastructure,” said Robert Clark, Senior Vice President, Data Protection Group, at Quantum. “The TPCs continue to drive tape standards forward with development of new generations of LTO Ultrium technology delivering significant innovations in capacity and performance while maintaining vendor interchange and backward compatibility for long-term investment protection.”

Licensing specifications for the LTO Ultrium Generation 6 tape drive mechanisms and media are planned to be available in August, 2012. The specifications are expected to call for supporting a tape cartridge storage capacity of up to 6.25TB** compressed, more than double the compressed capacity of the previous generation, and tape drive data transfer rates of up to 400MB** per second compressed.

The LTO Ultrium Generation 6 format is designed to continue to provide core functionality to enable broader use of the technology in a wide range of solutions. The format includes partitioning functionality, enabling users to present a tape-based file system with the use of the Linear Tape File System (LTFS). When combined with hardware-based encryption and WORM (Write-Once, Read-Many) functionality, LTO Ultrium Generation format 6 products are designed to deliver a broad range of safe, secure and portable data storage options for backup and archive that are easy to use and address a vast majority of storage needs.

“The LTO Program continues to drive innovation in the tape storage industry with significant enhancements to LTO performance attributes while continuing to provide backwards compatibility and interchange standards,” said Robert Amatruda, research director, data protection and recovery at IDC. “Each new generation of LTO tape has offered customers substantial increases in capacity and throughput as well as new capabilities opening the doors for new applications and use-cases.”

Since the introduction of the partitioning feature in the LTO Ultrium Generation 5 format and the public availability of LTFS software, tape is easier than ever to use and a key component not only for backup but also for long-term data retention.

“With the introduction of LTFS for our video archive, we’ve been able to utilize LTO-5 tape to significantly reduce our storage costs, improve our scalability, ease of use and reliability over our previous systems,” said Jamie Morganstern, BAMM.TV Director of Operations. “Today, BAMM.TV producers and editors can search for files stored on LTO tapes as if it were NAS storage and easily pull projects and footage that we worked on more than a year ago.”

Added Morganstern: “We can rely on the LTO tapes. Now if a hard drive goes down, we’re not worried and scrambling to have it restored. I know I can simply request the LTO tape and be ready to roll.” (LTFS case studies and BAMM TV testimonial video)

How to License LTO Ultrium Technology
The LTO Program has historically offered several different license packages – from enhanced packages that provide the specifications and licenses to manufacture LTO Ultrium products, to basic packages providing LTO format specifications.

Buyers seeking LTO Ultrium format-compliant products should look for the LTO Ultrium format compliance verification trademarks on both tape drives and data cartridges. Storage and media manufacturers interested in licensing LTO formats may obtain information by contacting the LTO Program through

About Linear Tape-Open (LTO)
The LTO Ultrium format is a powerful, scalable, adaptable open tape format developed and continuously enhanced by technology providers HP, IBM and Quantum (and their predecessors) to help address the growing demands of data protection in the midrange to enterprise-class server environments. This ultra-high capacity generation of tape storage products is designed to deliver outstanding performance, capacity and reliability combining the advantages of linear multi-channel, bi-directional formats with enhancements in servo technology, data compression, track layout, and error correction.

The LTO Ultrium format has a well-defined roadmap for growth and scalability. The roadmap represents intentions and goals only. There is no guarantee that these goals will be achieved. Format compliance verification is vital to meet the free-interchange objectives that are at the core of the LTO Program. LTO Ultrium tape mechanism and tape cartridge interchange specifications are available on a licensed basis. For additional information on LTO, visit and the LTO Program Web site at

Note: Linear Tape-Open, LTO, the LTO logo, Ultrium, and the Ultrium logo are trademarks of HP, IBM and Quantum in the US and other countries.

* Source: IDC Worldwide Tape QView, March 2012.

** Assumes 2.5:1 compression achieved with larger compression history buffer available beginning with LTO Ultrium Generation 6 drives.