Definition

LTO-4 (Linear Tape-Open 4)

Contributor(s): Ed Hannan

LTO-4 is a tape format released by the Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Consortium in 2007. It was preceded by LTO-1 in 2000, LTO-2 in 2002 and LTO-3 in 2005, and succeeded by LTO-5 in 2010 and LTO-6 in 2012.

According to the Consortium, LTO-4 offers 800 gigabytes (GB) of native capacity (1.6 terabytes compressed), native sustained data transfer rates of up to 120 megabytes per second (MBps) and compressed sustained data transfer rates of up to 240 MBps. The capacity and data transfer rates for LTO-3 assume a 2:1 compression ratio.

LTO-4 was the first LTO tape format to include 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard-Galois Counter Mode drive-level encryption.

Previous LTO specifications

LTO-1 was the first iteration of the LTO magnetic tape data storage technology that was an open standard alternative to the formats available at the time. It has a capacity of 100 GB and speed of 20 MBps.

LTO-2 has a capacity of 200 gigabytes (GB) and doubled the speed of LTO-1 to 40 MBps.

LTO-3 offers 400 GB capacity (800 GB compressed) and introduced the write once, read many (WORM) feature. LTO-3 has native sustained data transfer rates of up to 245 GB per hour, compressed sustained data transfer rates of up to 324 GB per hour and a compressed burst transfer rate of 160 megabytes per second (MBps). Both the capacity and data transfer rates for LTO-3 assume a 2:1 compression ratio.

The LTO-5 has a capacity of approximately 3 terabytes (TB) with data transfer rates of up to 280 MBps. Capacity assumes a 2:1 compression ratio; uncompressed capacity/throughput is 1.5 TB per 140 MBps.

LTO-6, the current tape format, offers 2.5 TB of native capacity (6.25 TB compressed), native sustained data transfer rates of up to 160 MBps and compressed sustained data transfer rates of up to 400 MBps. Capacity and data transfer rates assume a 2.5:1 compression ratio. LTO-6 drives are designed with backwards-compatible read-and-write capability with LTO-5 cartridges, and backward read capabilities with LTO-4 cartridges.

Planned LTO formats and specifications

The Consortium has LTO-7, LTO-8, LTO-9 and LTO-10 tape formats in its roadmap, but none of them are on the market as of August 2015. Here are the projected specifications:

  • LTO-7: 16 TB tape capacity, data transfer rates up to 788 MBps and uncompressed capacity/throughput of 6.4 TB per 315 MBps.
  • LTO-8: 32 TB tape capacity, data transfer rates of up to 1,180 MBps and uncompressed capacity/throughput of 12.8 TB per 472 MBps.
  • LTO-9: 62.5 TB tape capacity, data transfer rates of up to 1,770 MBps and uncompressed capacity/throughput of 26 TB per 708 MBps.
  • LTO-10: 120 TB tape capacity, data transfer rates of up to 2,750 MBps and uncompressed capacity/throughput of 48 TB per 1,100 MBps.
This was last updated in August 2015

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