IBM ships new LTO 9 Tape Drives with greater density, performance, and resiliency

By | 4 minute read | September 10, 2021

LTO-9 Tape Drives

As data generation continues to explode around the world with some researchers suggesting a doubling of the ‘digital universe’ to more than 180 zettabytes by 2025, increasing pressure is being placed upon the administrators responsible for storing, managing, and securing that data.

To help enterprises contend with the challenge, IBM, which has been innovating in data storage for seven decades, announced today the general availability of the industry’s first magnetic tapes and drives that can store an unprecedented 45TB of compressed data on a single cartridge (18TB uncompressed). The new drive and tape are based on the new Ultrium LTO-9 specification and designed to provide organizations greater access, performance and resiliency for data stored on-prem, in the cloud, or at the edge.

In addition to the 50% capacity boost from its predecessor, LTO-8, which supports 12TB of data (30TB compressed), the new IBM LTO-9 Tape Drive, which comes in three models, the F9C (Fibre Channel), F9S (Fibre Channel), and S9C (SAS), features several key performance improvements over LTO-8. For example, the new drives support data transfer rates of up to 400 MB/s1 for full high and 300 MB/s for half high cartridges – an 11% boost from the previous generation.

The new drives also feature IBM’s new Open Recommended Access Order (oRAO), a new data retrieval accelerator that enables applications to retrieve data from tapes with dramatically reduced seek time between files. Specifically, oRAO, which can be used with compressed or uncompressed data, can reduce those access times by a whopping 73%2. Developed from IBM file access acceleration technology, oRAO can also speed cyber resilience response times by shortening the time needed to recover data.

Building Up Cyber Resiliency with IBM LTO-9

The full-height IBM LTO-9 Tape Drive is designed to natively support data encryption, with core hardware encryption and decryption capabilities resident in the tape drive itself to ensure data privacy and reduce the risk of data corruption due to virus or sabotage.

According to a recent security report, from 2020 to 2021 the average total cost of a data breach increased by nearly 10% year over year, the highest average total cost in the 17-year history of the report. Today, ransomware is one of the costlier types of breaches, with an average cost of $4.62M per breach3 and one of the most common, with cybersecurity firm, SonicWall, reporting ransomware attacks rose to 304.6 million in 2020, up 62% over 2019.

In other words, ransomware is here to stay for the foreseeable future. It is no longer a matter of if your organization will be attacked, but when and how often. Looking to limit the impact of cyberattacks, the new IBM LTO-9 tapes and drives enable organizations to create cost-effective, cyber resilience strategies.

  • The cost-effective data backupTape backups allow you to safely recover from a ransomware attack, helping you avoid expensive ransom and other fees. IBM tape solutions are also extremely cost-beneficial, costing less than 1 cent per GB per month, exactly 0.59¢/GB, in other words, $5.89 / TB4. Also, by implementing an IBM LTO-9 tapes and drives, companies can store up to 1.04EB of compressed data per 18-frame tape library and up to 39PB of compressed data in a 10-sq-ft tape library with LTO Ultrium 9 tape cartridges.

    Additionally, customers can reduce their Total Cost of Ownership of their tape library up to 39% by swapping in LTO-9 technology over LTO-85. And remember, tape technology does not add extra charges to retrieve your data.

  • The best physical air-gap between your data and cyber criminalsMost organizations have a cyber recovery plan that relies on data backups. The best practice in this situation is create a physical “air-gap” to ensure the backup is going to a system that is secure and offline. Utilizing tape storage is the ideal way to provide customers with that physical gap. Tapes are portable, and can be easily stationed in remote, offline locations for superior protection from natural or manmade threats. When the new IBM LTO Ultrium 9 Data Cartridge is removed from the tape drive or library they are physically “air-gapped” greatly reducing the risk of cyber sabotage.
  • Anti-corruption: tape provides data immutability with WORM capabilitiesThe IBM LTO-9 Ultrium WORM data cartridge model stores data in a non-erasable, non-rewritable format to prevent overwriting and reduce the risk of data loss due to human error.

    Evaluating 10-year cyber security plans should consider IBM Tape Storage to keep critical data backed up, immutable with WORM data cartridges, and encrypted behind air gap protection to prevent blackmail. In case an attack occurs and restoring your entire storage is required, a clean copy of the data on IBM LTO-9 tape technology is likely to be the cheapest and most reliable recovery option without extra retrieval fees to a cloud provider.

    As well as helping you protect against a malware or ransomware event, the WORM capabilities are often essential to meet regulatory and legal compliance across many industries and for publicly traded companies. With the immutability of LTO-9 WORM data cartridges, customers can be assured their data will always be available for audits, legal issues, and financial compliance.

Limit your exposure to malware and ransomware attacks with IBM LTO-9 tape storage.

>> To learn more on how IBM Tape storage solutions offer you the cost-effective solution
for your cyber resilience and modern data protection storage here.

[1] IBM, Miyamura et al., IBM LTO-9 Tape Drive Full Height Model Performance White Paper, October 2020
[2] Based on IBM internal testing of like User Data Sets, not all users will see these levels of performance improvements as optimization varies according to the number of segments retrieved. Source: Tsuyoshi Miyamura and Osamu Matsumiya, IBM LTO-9 Tape Drive RAO Performance Position Paper, May 2021
[3] The Ponemon Institute, The Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021, July 2021
[4] 2021 IBM analysis for 1 EB tape storage with 96 Drives with LTO-8 technology at 2:1 Compression, not inclusive of spectrum archive or Black Pearl. Values expressed in US currency
[5] IBM analysis comparing 3-year TCO of new 200PB library with 18 LTO-8 drives against new 200PB library with 18 LTO-9 drives
Linear Tape-Open, LTO, the LTO Logo, Ultrium and the Ultrium Logo are registered trademarks of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, International Business Machines Corporation and Quantum Corporation in the United States and other countries.