LTO-7 (Linear Tape-Open 7)

Contributor(s): Ed Hannan

LTO-7 is a forthcoming tape format from the Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Consortium. It will succeed the current LTO-6 version, but as of August 2015, no release date has been announced.

LTO-7 is one of four tape formats in the Consortium's long-term roadmap, along with LTO-8, LTO-9 and LTO-10. Earlier versions included LTO-1, LTO-2, LTO-3, LTO-4, LTO-5 and LTO-6 in 2012.

According to the Consortium, LTO-7 will offer 15 terabytes (TB) of compressed capacity, sustained data transfer rates of up to 750 megabytes per second (MBps) for compressed data, uncompressed capacity of 6.4 TB and an uncompressed transfer rate of 315 MBps. Capacity and data transfer rates for LTO-7 assume a 2.5:1 compression ratio.

Like LTO-5 and LTO-6, LTO-7 will offer partitioning, encryption and the write once, read many (WORM) feature.

Previous LTO specs

LTO-1 was the first version of the LTO magnetic tape data storage technology to serve as an open standard substitute to the available formats of the day. It has 100 GB native capacity and a native transfer speed of 20 MBps.

Each of the next three versions of LTO doubled native capacity and transfer rates, bringing the LTO-4 version to 800 GB native capacity and a transfer rate of 120 MBps. LTO-3 was the first LTO format to include WORM technology, while LTO-4 received 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard-Galois Counter Mode drive-level encryption.

The introduction of LTO-5 raised native capacity to 1.5 TB and data transfer rates up to 140 MBps with a 2:1 compression ratio.

LTO-6 offers 2.5 TB native capacity (6.25 TB compressed) with native sustained data transfer rates as high as 160 MBps (compressed sustained data transfer rates up to 400 MBps). The capacity and data transfer rates both assume 2.5:1 compression ratios.

Future LTO formats and specifications

The Consortium also has LTO-8, LTO-9 and LTO-10 tape formats in its roadmap, but none of them have been released as of August 2015. The projected specifications for each format are as follows:

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

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Will you switch to LTO-7 tapes when they become available or stick with what you have?
It seems like at some point, the industry is going to just not bother. Eventually it's going to reach the point of diminishing returns and vendors won't want to make the investment.


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