LTO tape drives

The IBM® Diamondback tape library supports LTO 9 tape drives.

The single and multimode tape drives are dual-ported drives that facilitate 8 Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity. SAS tape drives provide 12 Gbps SAS connectivity. These drives are differentiated from other LTO drives by their feature code numbers. You can identify the LTO tape drives by the logo at the front of the drive or by the label at the rear of the drive's canister.

Table 1. Drive specifications
Type of drive Speed of connectivity Native data rate Native capacity Also known as Feature code
LTO 9 (SAS) 12 Gbps SAS 400 MB/s 18 TB (16.37 TiB) LTO Ultrium 9 AGH3
LTO 9 (multi-mode fibre) 8 Gbps Fibre 400 MB/s 18 TB (16.37 TiB) LTO Ultrium 9 AGH1

LTO tape drives communicate with the tape library through an internal Ethernet interface. They also use the Statistical Analysis and Reporting System (SARS) to isolate failures between media and hardware.

LTO tape drives read and write non-WORM media, so you can load WORM-capable firmware on your tape drives and use any media that is supported by these drives. In this case, only the data that is written on WORM media is treated as WORM data. Data that is written on other types of media can be overwritten.

The LTO tape drives can read tapes that were written by non-IBM LTO drives. They also write to tapes that can be read by non-IBM LTO drives.

All supported generations of LTO tape drives and cartridges can be in the same frame.

When a cartridge is labeled according to IBM bar code label specifications, the last character of its volume serial (VOLSER) number indicates the first drive generation that supports the media. For example:
  • 000764L9 is an LTO 9 cartridge
  • 000764L8 is an LTO 8 cartridge

To enhance library performance, LTO tape drives include speed matching, channel calibration, and power management. Speed matching dynamically adjusts the drive's normal native (uncompressed) data rate to the slower data rate of a server. Channel calibration customizes each read/write data channel for optimum performance. The customization enables compensation for variations in the recording channel transfer function, media characteristics, and read/write head characteristics. Power management reduces the drive's power consumption during idle power periods.

To ensure that your tape drive conforms to IBM's specifications for reliability, use only IBM LTO tape cartridges. You can use other LTO-certified data cartridges, but they might not meet IBM standards of reliability.


LTO tape drives are encryption capable, which means they can convert data into a cipher that ensures data security. The drive must first be encryption-enabled. Select one of two methods of encryption management (application-managed and library-managed encryption). A key is required to encrypt and decrypt the data. How a key is generated, maintained, controlled, and transmitted depends on the operating environment where the tape drive is installed. Some data management applications can also do key management. For an alternative solution, IBM provides a key manager that works with the keystore of your choice to accomplish all necessary key management tasks. There is no recovery for lost encryption keys.