Getting ready to upgrade our LTO-6 tapes and drives. Considering LTO-7 formatted as Type M using an LTO-8 drive to increase capacity to 9TB. Are there any downsides to formatting these LTO-7 tapes as Type M? Aside from the economics--any risk this method could introduce loss of data integrity/shelf-life/reliability?
M8 media (As Stephen says these are LTO-7 tapes formatted specially to give 9TB) is a clever idea and the price per TB is the cheapest.
However I'm not sold on LTO-8 right now...
LTO-8 media isn't available yet.
LTO-8 drives only read back one generation rather than the usual two, so they won't read LTO-6.
(This is because there were two types of media for LTO-6)
LTO-9 will return to be able to read back two generations.
Also the read/write speed to LTO-8 is the same as LTO-7, unless you have a full height drive.
So in summary the drive will cost more, the media will cost less, it won't be any faster and it won't read all your older tapes !!
I would stick to the odd numbered LTO generations. However as long as you keep your LTO-6 drives around then depending on the LTO-8 drive price it may make sense for you.