Why LTO?

While spinning disc storage is still highly useful for records that are actively being used and/or edited, CITL employs LTO storage data tape for long-term storage of its archival assets. While spinning discs are still critical for our producers’ ability to collaborate on “hot” projects, LTO tape is of great utility for “cold” records that are not actively in use (but may be called into use at any time). Some reasons for LTO’s utility in archives, taken from https://www.cioinsight.com/news-trends/tape-storage-amazon-microsoft-meta-ibm/:

  • Air-gapped storage – data tapes do not have the security risks (bugs, ransomware and so on) that networked drives can 
  • Scales well – tapes can constantly be added to the library 
  • Environmental impact is lower than spinning discs (local or in the cloud) – tape drives only use power when you’re using the tape 
  • Properly stored tape can last 30 years or more, unlike the motors and other moving parts in disc storage
  • Software versions after LTO 9 do not maintain multi-generational backward compatibility
  • Moving data with a vendor would require blind handling to comply with copyright, Intellectual Property rights and Family Education Rights and Privacy Act
  • In 2018, LTO tape had an estimated cost of ⅙ that of keeping same amount of storage on disk.

From the above-cited article: “Hard disk drive (HDD) technology is like a sprinter, and tape is more like a marathon runner.” 

The Short Version

LTO tape provides safe, reliable and scaleable storage for CITL’s digital assets. LTO is more environmentally-friendly than Amazon’s storage system and requires no near-term or medium-term ongoing storage or retrieval costs for stored data. Local storage on LTO also allows CITL to maintain data with minimal risk of exposure to viruses or ransomware while allowing for FERPA and copyright compliance.