Confused about the tape options introduced with the new LTO-6 Tape Drives?

The introduction of LTO-6 drives has bought with it a new tape media technology. Historically, all LTO media were based on Metal Particle (MP) technology, however, a new and additional technology has been introduced with LTO-6, namely Barium Ferrite (BaFe).

Why the 2 technologies, and where should they be used? 

100% of LTO cartridges before LTO-6 were MP.  That’s 200 million tapes!  MP has offered robust and proven data protection. With LTO-6, however, it has reached its potential based on its areal density.  In fact, the areal density requirement for LTO-6 is actually the same as LTO-5 … the number of tracks has however increased.  MP technology will not cater for the capacity demands of forthcoming LTO-7 and LTO-8 technologies. 

BaFe particles are smaller and have better magnetic potential.  That becomes significant in the future as capacities increase but has no bearing for LTO-6. Both technologies perform equally from a performance and capacity standpoint, and there is no discernable difference in reliability.

HP, being the technology and market leader in LTO technology, has uniquely opted to introduce both technologies from the outset.  The other 6 tape manufacturers have opted for one technology or the other, with some planning to possibly introduce the alternative sometime in the future.

HP and Lynx recommends that customers continue to use the proven MP technology with LTO-6 drives.  Note, however, that if for some reason an end-user has opted to standardize on BaFe tapes, these are also available with HP branding. 

Please do not hesitate to contact Lynx to discuss.

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