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Why LTO ultrium is the leading format in backup tape industry?

Posted In Products Review - By Techtiplib on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 With No Comments »

To remain competitive, especially in E-business, the IT managers must improve data flow, operational efficiency and reduce order-processing time. The clients and workforce require any-device connectivity to the corporate databases 24x7x365. This is only possible if the organization backups its data periodically, otherwise the viruses and human errors will keep on disrupting the workflow. This allows rivals to divert your loyal clients. The investment in backup technology brings your more cost benefits and keeps your business running.  

We move onto the topic LTO (Linear Tape Open) technology.  Since its introduction, LTO has maintained top position. No other tape media format has surpassed its durability and cost efficiency over the past decade. So what is the main reason behind its success and unmatched performance? It is the combined technical excellence of IBM, Seagate and Hewlett-Packard, which are the leading innovators.  These tape specialists poured their technical excellence into this single backup format that has exceeded the expectations of storage managers. All advantages of previous tape systems plus new intelligent features quickly made it the best selling format.

The success of this technology attracted other companies to manufacture LTO products, which was a smart decision. Other companies like TDK, StorageTek, Fujifilm, Sony and Imation are also fulfilling the immense demand for LTO devices.

The new concept that came with LTO technology is the compatibility between all brands. So the customers can enter into other LTO environments and make best use of their drives, libraries and tapes. The track density is superior to other formats, thus enabling development of compact tapes.

LTO ultrium1 generation, featuring 384 data tracks, stores 100GB data. LTO-2 tape got a 100% raise in recording capacity. This trend became a standard for next versions. So the customers are provided more capacity in the same form factor. Therefore, more data can be copied from systems and preserved in a cost effective way. This was accomplished by adding more amount of base film and improving the track density of each LTO media tape. backup tape

Organizations were more worried about the security of backup datasets. Tapes were often misplaced or stolen. The LTO4 tape format came into the marketplace with a smart reliable solution. It features the most reliable data security solution, the encryption algorithm based on the 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). This tape format became a big hitter, because the AES feature was a core functionality of all LTO 4 tape drive brands and models. So the organizations eliminated the costly encryption software from their IT product list, and deployed this smart backup format. The storage capacity, for the first time, entered from gigabyte to the terabyte class. The 800 GB raw capacity of ultrium4 cartridge extends seamlessly to 1.60 TB (compressed).

The storage needs and challenges continue to intensify as the organizations integrate more time-critical applications and expand their work operations. So the LTO consortium kept pace with these growing needs and added two new cutting-edge features in its fifth generation. These are tape partitioning and the new leading-edge LTFS “Linear Tape File System” software. It works with all LTO5-based hardware and is an open file system. On the first tape partition, the LTFS software records descriptive information along with the name and location of file. The other partition is used to store the data. In short, the first tape partition provides instant information about the information stored on the tape cartridge. So the IT staff can quickly find out the nature and type of data without going through the whole tape. Precious time will be saved and you can extract the desired information from the large datasets. All previous generations doubled the tape capacity, but the ultrium 5 tape version didn’t follow this standard and increased capacity by 88-89 percent. Data operations have been simplified and the users won’t have to follow the complex backup procedures. Data can be copied from the hard drive and directly pasted onto the desktop icon of LTO5 tape or you can drag-drop it. 

The performance level dropped dramatically and the error rate increased in majority of the rival tape systems due to “back hitching”. This reason was rise and fall of the host system’s data rate. The tape drive had to stop and then again start the data storage process. You won’t experience such interruptions in LTO environment. The drives do not write data at a constant speed. They have the ability to adjust their speed to the host system’s data speed. This has helped to prolong the working life and reduce the maintenance cost. Lesser tape deterioration means the IT staff can reduce the usage of cleaning cartridges. The result is higher operational efficiency of LTO tape drives.

The LTO roadmap addresses the rapidly-growing storage needs and provides a clear scalable path. The LTO8 generation will feature media partitioning, WORM, encryption and an exceptionally high 32 terabyte capacity. The sturdy and robust cartridge architecture minimizes the damage risk as the users transport their LTO ultrium tapes for the purposes of data sharing and off-site storage. Every organization wants to invest less and gain more. This is possible with LTO ultrium technology. The tape cartridges can be included in the next generation datasets; because they can be used for both read and write operations. The storage value further enhances as you have read-access to the one more generation. In short, the predecessor media is write-read compatible and its previous generation is read compatible.

So the companies experiencing exponential growth in client information, business documents and other diverse databases can keep on improving their backup capacity without leaving behind the data backups. LTO format provides long-term benefits and enhances the storage performance of companies facing stringent challenges of constrained management resources and physical floor space. LTO technology has intelligently balanced durability, performance and delivers the tape industry’s most cost effective growth path. LTO solution comes with everything a data administrator can wish for. The organizations can confidently broaden their backup operations, strengthen data security and keep the risk of malicious access out of their storage environment.


Steven Bryant, marketing manager, writes about all types of technologies from disk solutions to the industry leading lto3 tape and lto5. You can follow him on twitter @ JMcIntosh2

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