LTO Drives, Libraries Rule the Midrange Tape Storage Market
August 7, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The Linear Tape Open (LTO) tape format created by IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Seagate Technology shows just how powerful a standard can be. Developed in the late 1990s and commercialized beginning in 2000, LTO has just about taken over the midrange tape drive and tape library markets.
How strong is LTO? Well, ExabyteSony’s 8mm AIT tape drives for video cameras to data centers and made buckets of dough in the late 1980s and through the 1990s, has put itself on the auction block after its founder, Juan Rodriguez, resigned. And while the modern VXA implementation of Exabyte’s technology is technically good, any standard being pushed by IBM, HP, and Seagate, three of the biggest names in storage and the two biggest brands in servers, is going to cause any alternative technology some grief.
On the library front, LTO libraries also rule the roost, according to a study by Freeman Reports. That market researcher, which specializes in the tape space, said that LTO libraries accounted for 81 percent of all midrange tape libraries shipped in 2005, accounting for more than 46,000 units. In 2004, LTO libraries had 73 percent of the midrange tape library market, and Freeman’s Bob Abraham predicts that by 2010, that share will increase to 86 percent.
“Since late 2003, second and third generation LTO products have gained significant market momentum,” said Abraham in a statement announcing the report he put together. “Tape storage is essential for best practice data protection strategies and achieving total cost of ownership goals. Large capacities, high transfer rates, full standardization, a well-articulated migration path, high reliability and a competitive environment contribute to the popularity of LTO technology.”