LTO Type M

What is LTO Type M?

LTO Type M is an LTO-7 tape cartridge with a special bar code label on it.  The label tells the LTO-8 tape drive to format the LTO-7 media as a Type M cartridge. This brings the capacity from 6 TB native (LTO-7 media in LTO-7 tape drive) up to 9 TB native (LTO-7 media formatted as Type M in an LTO-8 tape drive).

This creates a huge sotrage increase on a lower priced cartriLTO Type Mdge, (lower than LTO 8 media).

LTO Type M Details

  • LTO-8 Type M is a new format that uses bar codes ending in the suffix “M8” to permit LTO-7 data cartridges to be initialized as “LTO-8 Type M” cartridges with 22.5 TB compressed capacity
  • Initialization occurs automatically, when LTO-8 Type M cartridges are used for the first time in a LTO-8 library or auto-loader
  • LTO-8 Type M cartridges can only be initialised using LTO-8 automation products (LTO-8 standalone drives will not initialise the product as Type M cartridges)
  • LTO-8 Type M cartridges cannot be used with LTO-7 hardware
  • LTO-7 cartridges cannot be re-formatted to LTO-8 Type M once they have been used
  • LTO-8 Type M cartridges cannot be re-formatted as LTO-7 once they have been used


Cost of Ownership

While the price of disk is dropping, it still can’t beat tape in price per gigabyte. And the LTO-8 drives the price down even further. The cost of ownership per terabyte is the lowest of any type of storage. Most high-end tapes can store up to 15TB and can be held in third-party locations at a fraction of the cost of cheapest cloud-storage solutions.


Being a physical media that can be kept under lock and key provides one layer of security. However, beyond locking away cartridges when not in use, encryption and Write-Once-Read-Many (WORM) functionalities are providing users with deeper levels of data protection.


Not satisfied with relying solely on security, tape engineers have also kept pace with performance. Tape data rates are expected to be as much as five times faster than hard disk drives by 2025. This is great news for users whose archives include data from the Internet and big data analytics. Moreover, the lifespan is in excess of 30 years as opposed to hard drives.

LTO: The Industry Standard for Tape Technology

LTO tape technology is the only open, non-proprietary tape technology. Interchangeability of tape media and drives is guaranteed from all LTO manufacturers to allow freedom of choice for end users.