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LTO Background


Linear Tape-Open (LTO) technology was developed jointly by Certance (now Quantum), HP, and IBM to provide a clear and viable choice in an increasingly complex array of tape storage options.

The three companies set out to develop an "open format" technology so that users would have multiple sources of product and media. Each provided expert knowledge of customer needs and complementary technology that provided for delivery of a best-of-breed technology and promotes a strong foundation for data interchange. Other companies can participate in this tape industry opportunity through the open licensing process. The result was Linear Tape-Open Technology.

Linear Tape-Open Technology is a powerful open tape specification. The technology is the backbone of a generation of super tape storage products that feature high capacity and performance while maintaining high data integrity. The LTO Technology combines the advantages of a linear multi-channel, bi-directional format with enhancements in servo technology, data compression, track layout and error correction code to maximize capacity, performance and reliability.

Today's tape storage marketplace is made up of a confusing array of formats and technologies that complicate customer buying decisions. Open tape formats benefit customers by offering them multiple sources of product and media, and by providing compatibility between products from different vendors. HP, IBM and Quantum have responded to this need for an open format by developing LTO technology to serve multiple market areas and to be supported by multiple suppliers. The LTO technology format provides customers with clear and straightforward technology roadmaps and growing industry support worldwide.

LTO technology has been utilized in enterprise-wide data protection that accommodates a range of tape storage requirements from single server to complex networked environments for fast performance and high-capacity needs to address service level agreements and data protection.

Ultrium Tape Format - High-Capacity Answer

The Ultrium format uses single-reel media and currently offers five generations. LTO Ultrium format generation 5 allows for 3TB capacity (assuming 2:1 compression), while format generation 4, generation 3, generation 2 and generation 1 allow for 1.6 TB, 800 GB, 400 GB, and 200GB respectively (assuming a 2:1 compression).

The Ultrium format is optimized for high capacity and performance and is ideally suited for backup, restore and archive applications. The format's eight-generation roadmap is designed to enable future products with capacities of up to 32TB compressed/12.8TB native on a single cartridge and transfer rates of up to 1,180 MB per second compressed and 472 MB per second native.

Best-of-Breed Technology

LTO technology benefits from the expert knowledge of HP, IBM, and Quantum, enabling the highest possible performance. Technological features include:

  • Superior implementation of linear serpentine technology
  • Best available servo and head technologies essential for providing the high degree of accuracy critical for high track densities
  • Timing-based servo monitors and controls the position of the tape head to ensure accuracy and avoid overwrites
  • Intelligent data compression -- maximizes both capacity and transfer rate
  • WORM capabilities for non-alterable storage to address compliance needs
  • Tape drive encryption to address data security needs


© 1999 - 2014 Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Quantum. All rights reserved. Information subject to change without prior notice.
All trademarks and registered trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.
LINEAR TAPE-OPEN LTO, THE LTO LOGO, ULTRIUM AND THE ULTRIUM LOGO ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF HP, IBM AND QUANTUM IN THE US AND OTHER COUNTRIES.