The LTO Program is introducing a new capability with LTO-8 drives: The ability of the LTO-8 drive to write 9 TB on a brand new LTO-7 cartridge instead of 6 TB as specified by the LTO-7 format. Such a cartridge is called an LTO-7 initialized LTO-8 Type M cartridge. The TPC’s have agreed upon designating these LTO-8 Type M cartridges by using an automation barcode label ending with the last 2 characters “M8”. A normal LTO-8 cartridges is referred to as LTO-8 Type A, has a capacity of 12 TB, and is indicated with an automation barcode label ending in “L8”. A normal 6TB LTO-7 cartridge is indicated with an automation barcode label ending in “L7”.
Only new, unused LTO-7 cartridges may be initialized as LTO-8 Type M. Once a cartridge is initialized as Type M, it may not be changed back to a 6TB LTO-7 cartridge. Also, an LTO-7 initialized LTO-8 Type M cartridge can only be written and read in an LTO-8 drive; LTO-7 drives are not capable of reading LTO-8 Type M cartridges.
Here are some FAQs
Q: What is LTO generation 7 initialized LTO-8 Type M media?
A: LTO-8 Type M media is media manufactured and logoed as LTO Ultrium 7 media but labelled with a barcode label ending with the last 2 characters “M8” and initialized at a higher LTO-8 Type M density. The new LTO-8 Type M media will have 9TB native capacity or up to 22.5TB compressed 2.5:1
Q: When is LTO-8 Type M media initialized?
A: Media can be purchased as pre-initialized LTO Type M media or as un-initialized LT0-7 media. Un-initialized LTO-7 media can be initialized as LTO Type M media by applying an “M8” barcode label and writing data to the media in a tape library that supports un-initialized LTO Type M media.
Q: Can previously used LTO-7 media be converted to LTO-8 Type M media?
A: No, the LTO-8 Type M media can only be created with new, un-initialized media. Previously used LTO-7 media will remain as such for the life of the media. Similarly, previously used
LTO-8 Type M media will remain as such for the life of the media.
Q: Who is responsible for ensuring that LTO-7 “L7” labelled media and LTO-8 Type M, “M8” labelled media have been initialized correctly?
A: Compatible LTO-8 tape libraries will only initialize LTO-7 brand new cartridges as LTO-8 Type M media if the barcode label “M8” has been applied to the cartridge. Ultimately, it is the end-user responsibility to ensure tape library compatibility and to label cartridges correctly.
Q: Do all LTO-8 tape library products support LTO-8 Type M media?
A: This depends on the LTO-8 tape library vendor. Please consult your product documentation.
Q: Do all LTO-8 standalone tape drive products, i.e. not installed in a library, support previously initialized LTO-8 Type M media?
A: Yes. However, LTO-8 standalone tape drive products will typically initialize new, un-initialized LTO 7 media as LTO 7 media regardless of the barcode label that is applied. Please consult your product documentation.
Q: What happens if an LTO-8 Type M media is loaded into an LTO-7 tape drive?
A: The drive will post an error message indicating that the cartridge format is incompatible and will not thread the media. In other words, an LTO-7 tape drive will not be able to load an LTO-8 Type M media.
Q: Will LTO-9 tape drives be backward compatible with LTO-8 Type M media?
A: Only LT0-8 Drives will be capable of reading LTO-7 initialized LTO-8 Type M media. If backward read in LTO-9 drives is required LTO-8 media should be used instead.
Q: Will LTO-8 Type M cartridges support LTO format existing features?
A: LTO-7 initialized LTO-8 Type M media will support existing LTO format features including data compression, encryption and partitioning enabling LTFS. LTO-8 Type M media will not be supported on WORM cartridges.