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IBM Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Jennifer Gill, Betty Zakheim, Liz McMillan, Greg O'Connor

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LTO® Program Announces Lowest Cost Ever Per Gigabyte

The LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (TPCs), HP, IBM and Quantum, announced today that LTO generation 6 tape has reached a cost-per-gigabyte of 1.3 cents based on the current market price of tape media.*

“LTO technology continues to be the most cost-effective way to store significant amounts of data for the long term,” said Eric Bassier, Senior Director, Product Group, Quantum Corporation. “It’s dependable, compatible, portable, and easy to access with LTFS. When you factor in total cost of ownership – acquisition cost as well as power, cooling, and management costs – LTO tape continues to be the best storage medium for archiving and long term retention of valuable data.”

When all factors are taken into account, LTO tape storage technology continues to be the most cost-effective solution for data storage managers worldwide. In “A Comparative TCO Study: VTLs and Physical Tape” by the Enterprise Strategy Group, results showed that even a data dedupe virtual tape library was two to four times more costly than an LTO tape solution. The Clipper Group also found that the average disk-based solution costs 26 times the total cost of ownership for an average LTO tape-based solution in “2013 Revisiting the Search for Long-Term Storage.”

“LTO solutions provide some very compelling cost advantages over disk-based solutions,” according to David Reine, senior analyst with The Clipper Group. “When you look at the total cost of ownership over a long retention period, including storage space, energy use and equipment, tape clearly is the most cost-effective archiving solution.”

As data storage managers consider factors such as equipment, media, maintenance, energy costs and floor space, LTO tape addresses those needs specifically, offering the most energy-efficient and cost-effective method for storing data.

LTO-6 specifications support tape cartridge storage compressed capacity of up to 6.25TB**, more than twice the compressed capacity over the previous generation, and tape drive data transfer rates of up to 400MB** per second for over 1.4 terabytes of storage performance an hour per drive. As with previous generations, LTO-6 drives will provide backward compatibility with the ability to read and write LTO generation 5 cartridges and read LTO generation 4 cartridges, helping to preserve media investments and ease implementation.

The LTO Program will be presenting and demonstrating LTO technology to a broad range of data managers at NAB in Las Vegas, Nevada, SNIA Data Conference in Santa Clara, California, IBC in Amsterdam, ASIS in Atlanta, Georgia, and Supercomputing in New Orleans, Louisiana. Find conference dates and information at Learn more about LTO technology, LTFS, exciting user stories and a variety of compelling storage white papers at

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 - Linear Tape-Open, LTO, the LTO logo, Ultrium, and the Ultrium logo - on both tape drives and data cartridges. These trademarks are owned by HP, IBM and Quantum and are licensed to manufacturers only for use in connection with tape drives and data cartridges that have passed compliance verification tests for such LTO products. Storage and media manufacturers interested in licensing LTO formats may obtain information by contacting the LTO Program at

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 Corporation and Quantum Corporation (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 only represents intentions and goals and is subject to change or withdrawal without notice. 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. Ultrium tape mechanism and tape cartridge interchange specifications are available on a licensed basis. For additional information on the LTO Program, visit and the LTO Program Web site at

*Assuming LTO-6 cartridge price of $80 based on a pricing survey of more than two dozen websites offering LTO-6 cartridges and assuming 2.5:1 compressed capacity of a single cartridge. Actual prices may vary. Survey is available at

** Assuming a 2.5:1 compression achieved with larger compression history buffer available beginning with LTO generation 6 drives.

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.

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