IBM will release its first tape storage products under the new Linear Tape-Open (LTO) protocol next month, with Fujitsu Siemens Computers bringing out its own LTO range in October.
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The devices under the brand name Ultrium are all first generation LTO. Like the current Digital Linear Tape (DLT) standard, the new format uses half-inch tape but employs a different track layout to allow higher capacity storage and claimed better reliability.
Peter van Wingerden, IBM sales manager for LTO, said, "LTO is aimed at the DLT market. DLT hasn't got the technology or the reliability to handle the storage capacities required today.
"LTO is derived from mainframe class Magstar technology which is more robust than DLT."
The potential market for LTO would be the higher end of the DLT market which Quantum, developer of DLT, claims to total more than 1.4 million drives.
LTO will not have the field to itself because Quantum announced in May that it is developing a system called Super DLT but neither system will be backwards compatible with DLT.