Spectra Logic “pre-purchase program” for LTO-6 eases storage transition

Data storage systems provider Spectra Logic, based in Boulder, Colo.‚ has launched a new promotion that allows customers to buy an LTO-5 drive today and swap it for an LTO-6 drive when the higher capacity data tape format becomes widely available later this year.

LTO-6 drives are backwards compatible (read and write capability) with LTO-5 cartridges, as well as (read-only) LTO-4 and LTO-5 cartridges, making the increasingly necessary transition to higher capacity storage manageable. The sales program at Spectra Logic allows customers waiting for the right time to switch their content from an earlier generation Linear Tape-Open (LTO) storage—magnetic tape—format to do ease into it slowly, while protecting their investment.

Under terms of the program, customers of the “pre-purchase program” receive LTO-5 drives today for use until LTO-6 drives become available. Once LTO-6 is released, these pre-purchase customers will the first to receive new LTO-6 drives from Spectra Logic.

For Spectra’s larger libraries, including the T-Finity, T950, T680, T380 and T200, LTO-6 tape drives will include native 8 Gbps fibre channel interfaces that are compatible with existing 2Gb, 4Gb and 8Gb fibre channel switches and host bus adapters. For the Spectra T50e and T120 libraries, LTO-6 tape drives will come in either 8Gb fibre channel or 6Gb SAS interfaces. LTO-6 will offer a storage capacity of up to 8.0 terabytes (compressed, or 3.2 TB native)—or more than double the capacity of the previous generation, and expected transfer rates of up to 525 megabytes per second (compressed, or 210 MB/s native).

Spectra Logic said that the newer LTO-6 drives will be compatible with Spectra's BlueScale software and features, including BlueScale Encryption and Key Management, Spectra's Media Lifecycle Management (MLM), Data Integrity Verification, drive-level AES-256 bit encryption key generation and WORM media capabilities.

Dave Hiechel, president and CEO of EAGLE Software, a U.S.-based Elite SpectraEDGE channel partner, said that many of his customers took advantage of Spectra’s previous LTO-5 advance purchase program, and he thinks the same will be true for this latest promotion.

“When LTO-6 becomes available, our customers will have the libraries and infrastructure already in place, and will immediately recognize dramatic capacity and performance increases from this new technology within the same data center footprint they use today,” Hiechel said.

Spectra Logic shipped its first T950 tape library in October, 2004 with LTO-2 tape drives (and media) and began shipping LTO-5 tape drives/media in June, 2010. The LTO Ultrium “open format” technology provides a long-term roadmap (http://www.lto.org/technology/roadmap.html/) that currently extends to the eighth generation of LTO technology.