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If your storage admin is a bit excitable today, be kind: 45TB LTO-9 tape media and drives just debuted

Fujifilm and HPE selling cartridges, Quantum selling drives, IBM tape libraries add support

The Linear Tape-Open (LTO) organisation has signed off on efforts by Fujifilm and Sony to create tapes that conform with the LTO-9 standard – meaning that new-generation tapes with 45 terabytes of capacity are now on sale.

Fujifilm bolted out of the gates with an announcement to the effect that it sells media that support LTO-9's spec of 18TB native capacity, or 45TB after data is compressed.

Previous generations of LTO have improved capacity by 100 per cent compared to their predecessors. LTO-9 instead adds fifty per cent capacity compared to 2017's LTO-8. The companies behind LTO – HPE, IBM, and Quantum – never quite explained why the jump was smaller this time around.

They did suggest that LTO-9 would meet a new need for tape – an air-gapped archive that's untouchable by ransomware.

One reason for the smaller leap might be that LTO-9's transfer speeds grew at nowhere near 50 per cent – jumping from LTO-8's 750MB/sec for compressed data and 360MB/sec native to 1000MB/sec and 440MB/sec respectively.

At those speeds – 3.6TB/hour – recovering from ransomware on a 24TB tape might not be quite the ransomware recovery revolution the LTO group would have us believe.

Whatever the reasoning behind the spec of this generation of LTO, its backers are enthusiastic about it.

HPE has announced it is shipping LTO-9 tape. Quantum announced LTO-9 drives.

IBM announced that its Spectrum Archive storage software and tape libraries can read LTO-9 cartridges (thanks to the fact that each LTO generation is backwards-compatible).

New LTO tech debuts about every three years, but this generation took four years to emerge. So LTO-9's arrival is a big day for some people – not quite the return of ABBA, but still hotly anticipated. If your storage admin behaves a little unusually today, this may be the reason! ®

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