LTO Tape Drive Sales Increased 15 Percent in 2007
June 24, 2008 Alex Woodie
Total shipments of LTO drives increased 15 percent last year compared to 2006 and accounted for more than $883 million in sales, according to recent data released by IDC. The solid year of sales boosted LTO’s lead over other competing tape technologies, although 2007 was a good year for all midrange technologies, according to the group.
The LTO Consortium was founded in 2000 when IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Seagate Technology‘s Certance division partnered on the first generation of LTO gear. IBM, HP, and Quantum (which acquired Certance in 2005), pushed the capacity and the speed of LTO drives in second, third, and fourth generations of the technology, which has resulted in LTO dominating the market for midrange tape, outselling SDLT and SAIT.
LTO-3 dominated the midrange field last year, and accounted for roughly 2 million in drive sales and 80 million in cartridge sales. Quantum, which also sold SDLT drives, stopped development of future releases of its SDLT drives early in the year after it realized LTO was gaining steam.
LTO-4 drives featuring 256-bit encryption also started making their way to the market during 2007. LTO-5 gear is expected to hit the market in 2009, although it won’t offer the level of performance first expected. Nevertheless, there’s no disputing that LTO is the king of all midrange tape media.
“The LTO format has evolved throughout each generation to provide ever-higher capacities, ever-higher performance, and one of the lowest total cost of ownership propositions for midrange data protection in the industry,” says Robert Amatruda, an analyst with IDC. “The LTO share numbers demonstrate that LTO tape continues to thrive, provides a vital, foundational part of a best practices approach to data protection, as well as provides energy savings over disk-only solutions to support green data center initiatives.”