Let’s take a dive into the world of LTO tape technology. But before we jump in, let’s break down what LTO stands for—it’s Linear Tape-Open. Basically, it’s a type of storage that uses magnetic tape, a bit like those old cassette tapes, but way more high-tech. 

Where Did LTO Come From? 

In the late ’90s businesses were grappling with how to store all their important data—financial data, research and medical files etc. That’s where LTO came in. Initially, it was used mainly for data backup in big business centres, but over the past few decades, it’s evolved to store all kinds of data, especially rich media like videos and photos. 

Who’s Involved in LTO? 

LTO isn’t the brainchild of just one company—it’s a team effort that involved IBM, HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise), and QC (Quantum Corporation). Together, they came up with this open tape storage format that’s now used all around the world. Sony and Fuji Film are the main manufacturers of the tapes and drives globally. 

Why is LTO So Fantastic? 


For starters, it’s a very reliable way to store your data. Unlike those temperamental hard drives that can crash at any moment, LTO is stable and reliable, lasting up to 30 years on the shelf without losing data. It doesn’t need a special storage environment, just a normal office will do. 


With newer versions like LTO-9, you can cram a whopping 18TB of data onto a single tape.  

While not always the fastest option, LTO technology offers competitive transfer speeds, allowing you to store and retrieve data reliably and efficiently. 


LTO is nearly always cheaper than storing your data in the cloud or buying a new hard drive. For instance, LTO-9 tapes often cost less than £90 per tape, making your long term digital archive much more cost effective. 


LTO also leads on environmental considerations. The embedded carbon in an LTO tape, from its manufacture to final storage is around 10kg of CO2E. Compare that to an average hard drive of around 200kg of CO2E and that’s a massive saving. 


LTO tape storage is widely embraced in the motion picture industry. Major studios like Warner Bros. rely on LTO tape libraries to safeguard their vast film catalog. Post-production houses like Deluxe Entertainment Services Group also use LTO tape storage to manage and archive large volumes of data generated during editing and post-production processes. 

In conclusion, LTO tape technology is reliable, efficient, affordable, safe and low carbon. Additionally, if you use a storage service provider such as Film Locker, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing your long term archived data is organised in one place, catalogued and ready to retrieve when you need it.  


We Buy Used Tape. (2023, October 6). “The Reel Deal: LTO Tape Storage in the Motion Picture Industry.” Retrieved from https://webuyusedtape.net/2023/10/06/role-tape-motion-picture-industry/ 

Michael Kammes. (April 16, 2016)  “5 Things: Storage – Local and shared, how to choose, and more!” Retrieved from https://5thingsseries.com/episode/lto/   

Ultrium LTO. (November, 2021) “LTO Technology – Where Have You Been.” Retrieved from https://www.lto.org/2021/11/history-of-lto/  

Fortuna Data (UK owned LTO and IT solutions suppliers). “The History of the Backup Tape.” Retrived from https://www.lto-tape.co.uk/backup-software/the-history-tape/ 

Pricing data for LTO-9 tapes obtained from reputable online retailers like  

Imagestore. https://www.imagestore.co.uk/storage-media-tapes-disks-cartridges/lto-tapes/lto-9-tapes/quantum-lto-9-tapes/