A tape library is a storage system that typically contains multiple drive (LTO drives), some bays or slots to hold tapes, a scanner (like barcode reader or RF scanner), a robotic system (that automates the loading and changing of tapes). Shortly said it's a collection of tapes and tape drives that store information, usually for backup.
There are a lot of brands providing tape library solutions, like Quantum, Dell EMC, HPE, IBM, Fujitsu, StorageTek, Oracle.
Before going through the LTO generations, let's see what LTO tape actually means. LTO (Linear Tape-Open) tape is an open-format tape storage technology created by Hewlett-Packard (HP), International Business Machines (IBM) and Seagate Technology. The term open format means users have access to multiple sources of storage media products that are compatible.
List of LTO tapes:
LTO5: it was released in 2010 by LTO Consortium and provides data transfer rates up to 280 Mbps.
LTO6: It has transfer rates of 400 Mbps. It has a three-tiered storage solution that includes tape cartridges, libraries, and drives to deal with increasing amounts of data. It consumes less energy compared to HDD despite that LTO 6 is similar to HDD and thus reducing media costs. It helps in ensuring business resilience. It helps in searching and retrieving data files with directory tree, drag and drop. IBM Spectrum Archive support also helps the cartridge to reduce or eliminate software licensing costs.
LTO7: It has double capacity of storage capacity compared to previous generations. This will help n reducing cartridges and thus reducing costs related to storing and maintaining tape cartridges. It can facilitate remote, offline data. It protects from natural or man-made threats or onsite data storage. It has greater efficiency. It reduces software licensing costs and dependencies.
LTO8: It can store double the amount capacity of LTO 7. It has a Type M media which helps LTO 8 to have the rate of $/Tb 50% less than LTO 7. It has higher density, low noises, and media discrepancies, also doesn’t heat up the LTO 8, and maintains cooler temperatures. It has also improved regarding signal sensitivity, increasing to four times the improvement. It uses BaFe.
LTO9: It has the same feature as previous-generation LTO along with the capability to be capable with LTO 8 and also will be capable till LTO 10. It has more areal density than a disk of the same capacity. It is also easily recoverable.
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