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LTO Tape Capacity Shipments Achieve Significant Growth Amid Explosive Data Generation

The LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (TPCs), Hewlett Packard Enterprise, International Business Machines Corporation and Quantum Corporation, has released their annual tape media shipment report, detailing year-over-year shipments through the fourth quarter of 2023. The report reveals a record 152.9 Exabytes* (EB) of total tape capacity (compressed) shipped in 2023, with a growth of 3.14% over 2022, driven in part by rapid data generation and the increased infrastructure requirements of hyperscalers and enterprises.

“LTO tape technology continues to realise annual gains. LTO tape utilisation is poised to expand even further as customers increasingly require higher storage capacity and recognise the benefits of the technology,” said G. Kyle Fitze, Vice President, OEM & Partner Enabled Products, HPE Storage. “We remain dedicated to improving and innovating further around LTO tape technology for the fast-evolving needs of organisations now and in the years to come.”

These benefits include low total-cost of ownership – which organisations can determine using the LTO Ultrium TCO Calculator – in addition to strong security and enhanced sustainability.

With shipped capacity remaining high in 2023, LTO tape technology proves to be a choice solution for mitigating common challenges created by the proliferation of unstructured data due to recent advancements in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). As AI and related technologies cause increases in storage requirements and costs, LTO tape technology makes the management of vast amounts of data more cost-effective and sustainable while delivering comprehensive protection against data breaches, which continue to grow in number and sophistication.

“The latest annual tape capacity shipment media report signifies the continued importance of LTO tape technology in the digital storage hierarchy not only today, but also far into the future as storage needs evolve in complexity and cost,” said Tom Coughlin, Storage Analyst and President, Coughlin Associates. “LTO tape will endure as a critical component of storage architectures across the enterprise, especially as tape technology itself continues to improve to handle even larger volumes of data and more intensive workloads.”

LTO generation 9 is the latest format specification for LTO Ultrium tape drives and media, providing significantly more capacity and higher performance than the previous generation. In addition to full backward read and write compatibility with LTO-8 cartridges, LTO generation 9 specifications include multi–layer security support with hardware–based encryption, immutable WORM (Write–Once, Read–Many) functionality, and fast data access with the Linear Tape File System (LTFS). LTO generation 9 technology offers a 45TB* compressed tape cartridge, representing a 50% capacity boost over LTO generation 8 and a 1400% increase over LTO-5 technology launched a decade ago, with transfer speeds of up to 400 MB/s (native), 1,000 MB/s (compressed*). In 2022, the LTO Program announced an extended LTO tape roadmap that calls for plans to achieve up to 1.4 Petabytes (PB) of compressed capacity per cartridge by LTO generation 14.

Access the LTO Program’s annual shipment reports for tape media via the LTO Program website,

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