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Petabyte tapes are on the horizon – but don’t hold your breath - Mobilemall

Petabyte tapes are on the horizon – but don’t hold your breath

Petabyte tapes are on the horizon – but don’t hold your breath

The Linear Tape-Open (LTO) consortium, along with a few of the greatest names in tape storage (HPE, IBM and Quantum) have up to date the LTO Ultrium roadmap.

After a five-year gestation, the group has added a 13th and a 14th era, reaching 288TB and 576TB uncompressed respectively (controversially, the tape trade normally provides 150% capability to supply a second “up-to” compressed storage). 

As such, the compressed capability of a Gen13 tape is predicted to succeed in 720TB and that of a Gen14 quantity, a gargantuan 1.44PB. As compared, the most important laborious disk drive presently stands at 22TB with 100TB the most important SSD capability. 

Tape to face some severe headwinds?

The primary LTO tape appeared 22 years in the past and had a 200GB compressed capability; the newest LTO-9 tape improved this quantity by 225 occasions (45TB) and exhibits no signal of slowing down. 

Or does it? The transition from LTO-Eight to LTO-9 was a sophisticated one as a consequence of authorized and technological causes, and moderately than doubling in capability, the consortium determined unilaterally again in 2020 to extend the capability by 50%.

Given the two-to-three-year hole between the mass availability of the most recent era of LTO tapes, with LTO-9 being the newest, LTO-14 might be as much as 15 years away from now, assuming the consortium doesn’t resolve to reset the timeline as soon as once more. 

By 2037, different applied sciences (DNA, Holographic, Optical, Glass) might have matured and developed to turn out to be a a lot greater risk to the venerable tape. Final 12 months, we reported that LTO-10 was alleged to land sooner moderately than later – however we’re nonetheless ready. 

One factor that the announcement didn’t point out is the switch charge, which presently stands at 0.75GBps for LTO-Eight and 1GBps for LTO-9 (each compressed). A 33% generational enchancment would convey the switch charge for LTO-14 to about 4GBps which can be extremely problematic each for archiving and retrieval given the storage capability being thought of.

As for pricing, LTO-9 tapes promote for round $Eight per TB, with LTO-Eight tapes being most cost-effective at $4.50 cents per TB and LTO-7 ones hitting $6.30. One can anticipate costs to drop considerably by the point LTO-14 lastly hits the market with sub-$1 being a quasi-certainty. Readers are prone to nonetheless be costly; the OWC Mercury Professional LTO-9 tape drive we reviewed in February 2022, bought for greater than $6,000.

With that stated, tape has its place within the tiered storage hierarchy: be it in chilly storage (both for cloud backup or cloud storage), as an information loss safety instrument to fight ransomware by way of air-gapping and as a regulatory compliance mechanism (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA) by way of its WORM (Write As soon as, Learn Many) function. 

  • In search of higher backups? Try the perfect cloud storage round


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