It's been 2 years since the LTO-5 was introduced and it has been occupying the slot of the top capacity in LTO Ultrium tape hierarchy, however this is set to change soon with LTO-6 tapes.
LTO-6 tapes Licensing Started in June this year and the expectations are that the LTO-6 drives and tapes would be available before year end. LTO Ultrium is the top selling format of the Data tapes and has matured over the years with LTFS, Inbuilt Encryption and WORM. 5 Generations of LTOs have been extremely successful.
We look back at the History of this extremely successful Tape format
LTO -1 Ultrium Generation 1
First Generation of LTO Ultrium ( Example HP C7971A) had a native capacity of 100GB and Compressed Capacity of 200GB. There were 25 and 50GB prior to this, but they never gained traction
LTO -2 Ultrium Generation 2
Second Generation Doubled the capacity ( Example HP C7972A) with a native capacity of 200GB and Compressed Capacity of 400GB.
LTO-3 Ultrium Generation 3
Third Generation Introduced Write Once Read Many ( WORM) Capability that would let the tape be used in situations where the temper proof records are to be kept. 400/800GB Capacity. ( Example HP C7973A)
LTO-4 Ultrium Generation 4
Generation 4 onwards, the encryption was added ( Example HP C7974A) . Generation 4 had the Capacity of 800GB /1.6 TB. This was the first LTO tape to cross the 1TB capacity.
LTO-5 Ultrium Generation 5
Ultrium-5 ( Example HP C7975A) added the LTFS - a file system to tapes. With a capacity of 1.5 /3.0 TB this is currently the highest capacity tape available at the time of writing this article.
The LTO Program was formed in 1997 and three companies -- HP, IBM and Quantum -- jointly oversee the development and roadmap of Linear Tape-Open (LTO) technology. Currently the roadmaps till LTO-8 exist. Despite the industry talks of tape media going obsolete, the enterprise users have shown increased willingness to invest in tapes due to low cost per GB and reliability.