Definition

LTO-6 (Linear Tape-Open 6)

Contributor(s): Ed Hannan

LTO-6 is a tape format from the Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Consortium released in 2012. It was preceded by LTO-4 in 2007 and LTO-5 in 2010. LTO-7, LTO-8, LTO-9 and LTO-10 formats are scheduled, but not yet available.

According to the Consortium, LTO-6 offers 2.5 terabytes (TB) of native capacity (6.25 TB compressed) capacity, native sustained data transfer rates of up to 160 megabytes per second (MBps) and compressed sustained data transfer rates of up to 400 MBps. The capacity and data transfer rates for LTO-6 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.

Previous LTO format specifications

LTO-1 was released in 2000. It 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.

LTO-2 was released in 2002 with a capacity of 200 gigabytes (GB). It doubled the capacity and speed of LTO-1, improving capacity from 100 GB to 200 GB and speed from 20 MBps to 40 MBps.

LTO-3, released in 2005, offers 400 GB capacity (800 GB compressed). LTO-3 introduced the write once, read many (WORM) feature that writes information to the tape once and prevents it from being erased. 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.

LTO-4, released in 2007, offers 800 GB capacity (1.6 TB compressed). It was the first LTO tape format to include 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard-Galois Counter Mode drive-level encryption.

The LTO-5 format, first released in 2010, has a capacity of about 3 terabytes with data transfer rates of up to 280 MBps. LTO-5 tape capacity assumes a 2:1 compression ratio; uncompressed capacity/throughput is 1.5 TB per 140 MBps.

Upcoming LTO formats and specifications

The Consortium has said that LTO-7, LTO-8, LTO-9 and LTO-10 tape formats will eventually become available, but they are not on the market as of July 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 July 2015

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