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Astronomical LTO-5 and LTO-6 Capacity, Performance and cost claims

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Tim Jones
Astronomical LTO-5 and LTO-6 Capacity, Performance and cost claims
on Oct 9, 2013 at 8:50:19 pm

Hi Folks,

There has been a spate of marketing going out from a number of vendors making some pretty phenomenal (if not ludicrous) claims about the tape capacity, I/O performance and cost per GB of LTO-5 and LTO-6 technologies. Our team has been receiving calls asking how they can buy those 6.25TB tapes since they aren't seeing those kinds of numbers. Since the answer is "you can't", this has prompted me to try and get the word out from a more honest position.

First - be aware that the high number marketing claims made by these vendors are based on 2:1 compression (for LTO-5 and earlier) and 2.5:1 (for LTO-6). While there may be SOME realm in the business document or email archival world where these levels of data compression are possible, we will never see these numbers when dealing with video and audio.

Here are the real, native values that you can expect when working with the data that we generate in the M&E world.

Native Tape Capacity 800GB 1.5TB 2.5TB
Native Tape Performance 120MB/s 140MB/s 160MB/s
Average cost per tape $25 $40 $80
Approx Cost cents per GB 3.25 2.66 3.20

As you can see, LTO-5 is still the bargain at 2.66 cents per GB, but both LTO-4 and LTO-6 are still very inexpensive for long term data storage.

The next time you receive a marketing email or flier that makes those inflated claims of 6.25TB and 400MB/sec, take them with a grain of salt and think back to the real, native numbers. That's what you'll get unless you change jobs and start managing email storage silos.

Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!

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