Skip LTO-7 for LTO-8 in 2018-2019?
I've been using LTO-6 since 2013. Great 4 years of archive with over 2000 tapes and growing. The HP drive is still working great. But the data is getting bigger than ever before, especially raw 4K and high frame rate production and post production archives. 2.5 Tb/tape is simply a bit too little for 50-100 Gb average per session backup. Plus it takes up too much storage space. LTO-7 is good but only double the native capacity. LTO-8 looks pretty attractive at 12 Gb native. This will match the current 12 Gb Barracuda Pro for archive nicely. Any thoughts on LTO-7 & 8 for heavy data (~200 Tb/month) usage?
I'm no expert on LTO (actually came here to ask questions more than give answers) but I thought the news release talking about M8 formatted tapes was very interesting. If not familiar, that's the use of an LTO7 tape, formatted specially in an LTO8 drive, giving 50% more capacity for the money making them slightly cheaper than LTO6 per TB. (not enough to make up the difference in cost for my use, but likely to improve more and more over time) What I do know about LTO8 is it's a bigger jump from the past - no longer compatible for even reading LTO6, and if you do that M8 format for an LTO7 tape it doesn't read on an LTO7 drive either.
If you were desperate for both speed and capacity LTO8 using LTO7 tapes with M8 format sounds like a good deal though.
LTO-7 will give you ~ 2.3x capacity and 1.8x write speed compared to LTO-6, which is a great increase.
The drive cost is reasonable and it can read/write LTO-7 or LTO-6 and read LTO-5 tapes.
LTO-8 has the same write speed of ~ 300MB/s as LTO-7 (unless you get a much more expensive full height library drive and then just 20% faster)
Formatting an LTO-7 tape as M8 gives ~8.5TB and is a clever idea, but the fact that it exists suggests that true LTO-8 media will be expensive and/or delayed ?
So to archive 200TB per month today rather than using a single LTO-8 drive I would suggest a dual LTO-7 drive library. Then unattended you can create master and safety archives of large data sets in parallel . Plus the drives will be able to restore any existing LTFS archives. Also your new archive will be readable by many more drives.
You mention 2018/2019 and by then LTO-8 drives and media will be readily available, so of course it will be a different story. Also in 2019 we will probably see LTO-9 !!
>>... a dual LTO-7 drive library. <>Formatting an LTO-7 tape as M8 gives ~8.5TB and is a clever idea, but the fact that it exists suggests that true LTO-8 media will be expensive and/or delayed ?<<
Although it's an economical plan, I'm just not sold on long-term compatibility. Rather stick with the real LTO-8 media than LTO-7 M8 for now until M8 has been proven in the real world for compatibility.
I'll take your advice and won't skip LTO-7 due to large existing LTO-6 tape media.
After further reading, LTO-8 and LTO-6 media are not interchangeable (MP & BaFe), I'm speculating that wide adoption of LTO-8 will be very slow from all of the customers primarily because of backward compatiblity . This in turn will keep the high drive and media prices much longer than normal. 12 Tb native on LTO-8 is very appealing but it also will need further investment of LTO-7 and LTO-8 drives for existing and future tape libraries. I have thousands of LTO-6 tapes which I do not want to discard them to LTO-8. LTO-6 tapes are still very useful for many situations despite the larger # of tapes needed. I'm now spending thousands per month for 12 Tb Barracuda Pro hdds. They're fast but wasteful for less accessed data. Investing in LTO-7 & LTO-8 drives is still much cheaper in the long run when data approaches petabyte scale - which I'll achieve within a year at about 200 Tb/month average.
For my situation, it will have to be LTO-7 for compatibility on LTO-6 media and LTO-8 and beyond for future larger capacity. When LTO-8 is ~$70, I'll migrate from LTO-6 while still using LTO-6 media on LTO-7 drives. This should give me maximum return of investment when LTO-6 was about $100/tape back in late 2013.
Hi Sam - sounds like you've done your homework. Your last point was something I was going to mention - migration. At some point you will most likely want to move the content on your LTO-6 tapes onto newer generation media in order to continue accessing/restoring it long term. Skipping to LTO-8 would make that process more complicated and costly as you'd have to restore content to disk first (from LTO-6 tapes in LTO-6 drives), then re-write from disk to new LTO media using later generation LTO drives. That's a lot of steps, time and disk space ! As an FYI, we offer a fully automated tape to tape migration tool which eliminates the need to restore files to disk at all. Good luck and feel free to contact me for details or answer any questions you might have.
>>> After further reading, LTO-8 and LTO-6 media are not interchangeable (MP & BaFe),
As Sam says there are two types of tape available for LTO-6. On the label you will see either Metal Particle or Barium Ferrite. Ideally all tapes would all be BaFe, but only some manufacturers are able to make tapes with this technology.
An LTO-8 drive could probably read a BaFe LTO-6 tape, but not a MP one.
So for LTO-8 they decided to not read any LTO-6.
This isn't great, but was the right decision as it would add confusion.
So LTO-8 only reads one previous generation, whereas LTO-9 will revert to reading two previous generations.
Meanwhile when buying LTO-6 media always get BaFe as this is an improved technology. (We supply IBM media as they are all BaFe)
So that are you saying that LTO-8 drive reads the LTO-6 BaFe media? Did you checked it?
I am just planning to purchase an 8th generation drive. I wasn't aware of this compatibility issue until today. I was thinking that it would work like the earlier generation drives. I am about to order the drive on Monday. I was just going through the Tandberg web page and found it. They didn't mentioned LTO-6 in specifications.
I have around 500tb of clients data in IBM LTO-6 BaFe media which may be asked by the client in future. I just went to know that 8th generation drive don't read back LTO-6 media. I am really worried now.
If any one has already checked this please confirm. Thank you.
HARI KRISHNA PUNE
FCP EDITOR & ARCHIVE MANAGER
LTO6 tapes come in two formats MP (Metal Particle) and BaFe (Barrium Ferrite) and LTO6 drives happily accept both versions and I can pretty much confirm that LTO8 drives will not read LTO6 tapes and furthermore I will explain why this is so for two insurmountable reasons that I have gleaned from the internet.
(1) LTO drives cannot tell the difference as to whether a tape inserted into it is either a MP or BaFe tape and as far as it is concerned it is just a tape for that size specified.
(2) LTO8 drives use the new TMR head technology and if you were to use a MP tape in it then it would trash the TMR heads in pretty short order.
Hence taking those two things into account the LTO organization itself made a POLICY DECISION to blanket restrict outright LTO8 drives from ever accepting LTO6 tapes and I presume all LTO drive makers have probably coded up all the firmware on all LTO8 drives to do exactly that. If you want to read old LTO6 tapes you have two choices only in LTO6 or LTO7 drives. Could an LTO8 drive otherwise read an LTO6 BaFe tape? probably yes it could, but its never going to happen, have a read of these links especially the first one.
It is likely but not confirmed that LTO9 will be able to read LTO7 tapes as there is no longer any reason for them not to do so as all LTO7 tapes were BaFe, it is unknown at this stage whether or not they will ever read Type 8M tapes.
***** if you see any documentation that says an LTO8 drive will accept an LTO6 tape then it is probably incorrect and do not believe it. *****
Thank you very much for your clarity. Then there is only one choice left for me to go for LTO-7 drive and later to LTO-9. I may miss M8 media. But can't throw out all the LTO-6.
HARI KRISHNA PUNE
FCP EDITOR & ARCHIVE MANAGER
This thread started in Dec 2017 and now in Sep 2018 LTO-8 tapes whilst available, are still expensive.
So my recommendation is still the same. If you have existing LTO-5 and LTO-6 tapes then the LTO-7 drive is ideal.
You can create new LTO-7 archives at high speed, whilst still being able to read+write LTO-6 and read LTO-5.
If you don't have older tapes or you will be keeping your LTO-6 drive, then an LTO-8 drive would make sense.
The drive does not cost much more and for now you can create LTO-7 archives. Then use LTO-8 tapes when they reduce in price.
But remember the LTO-8 drive doesn't read LTO-6 tapes.
I don't think LTO-9 drives will be available until at least 2020 and they will read+write LTO-9 + LTO-8 and should read LTO-7. This means LTO-7 tapes will be easily readable for many years.
But what about Type M tape formatting (a tape with an M8 barcode), which stores 50% more data on LTO-7 tapes using an LTO-8 drive ?
So it's an LTO-7 tape with a special format that you can't access using an LTO-7 or LTO-9 drive.
For long term archive, which is what the film + television industry needs, this is not good and we don't recommend it.
For other industries that create short term recycling tape backups then Type M may make sense.