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  • Calculating media costs for LTO-6 & LTO-8

     Sam Lee updated 1 year, 5 months ago 3 Members · 6 Posts
  • Sam Lee

    October 29, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    I’m planning to upgrade from LTO-6 to LTO-8. Waited a year for Sony & Fuji to settle their differences. But having a problem in calculating the media costs. Here’s the latest price:

    LTO-6: $23/tape @ 2.5 Gb native
    LTO-8:$160/tape @12 Gb native

    What is the correct formula to calculate cost per Mb on tape media cost?

    Here’s what I have so far:
    LTO 6: 2.5 / 23 = ~ .10
    LTO-8: 12/160 =~ .08

    Is it roughly 10 cents per Gb on LTO-6 and 8 cents per Gb on LTO-8?

    Key advantages of LTO-8 are fewer tapes and 300 MB/s write. This means fewer storage bins for tapes and fewer swapping needed. It’s simply taking way too much valuable space with LTO-6. I average about 30-40 Tb per month of raw UHD, high frame rate video files that I’m archiving. Plus faster writing time over LTO-6 too.

    Downside is having to spend about $5K for a new LTO-8 Thunderbolt 3 interface drive.

    Should I wait for LTO-9 instead?

  • Martin Greenwood

    October 29, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    You need to divide the price by the capacity, rather than the other way around, also the usable space is a bit less, so…

    LTO-6 is $23/2.35TB = $9.78 per TB
    LTO-8 is $160/11.7TB = $13.67 per TB

    LTO-8 media will probably drop in price over the next few months, but at the moment it’s more expensive.
    You can also look at using LTO-7 media as this is currently cheaper than LTO-8 per TB and is the same faster speed.

    What LTO drive make and type do you have currently ? If it has a thunderbolt interface then it probably has a SAS daisy chain output. Assuming it’s the correct SAS controller inside then you can buy an external SAS LTO-8 drive. This will be about half the cost and will connect to your LTO-6 drive using a SAS cable.




  • Sam Lee

    October 29, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Got your formula. Very helpful for future calculation.

    I’m currently using HP LTO6 External SAS Tape Drive. Bought it 5 years ago for about $2,300. Current new price for the same LTO-6 drive is still roughly the same. ATTO SAS H680 HBA on a Mac Pro 2011 model. No Thunderbolt 3 whatsoever.

    The ATTO ThunderLink® SH 3128 looks like a good candidate that allow the external SAS LTO drive to be used with TB3 or TB2 (via adaptor) Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, or other portable computers. Any problems that may arise from the Thunderlink adaptor?

  • Jerzy Zbyslaw

    October 30, 2019 at 6:27 am

    [Sam Lee] “Should I wait for LTO-9 instead?”

    LTO8 came out in Dec 2017 and with a 2-2.5 yearly refresh cycle there’s a possibility LTO9 may come out as early as the end of this year or as late as the middle of next year.

    [Sam Lee] “Downside is having to spend about $5K for a new LTO-8 Thunderbolt 3 interface drive.”

    You could purchase it now but I’d hold off until the middle of next year if you can, the other alternative if you do go ahead now is that LTO8 can use the LTO7 tapes formatted as Type M as they cost the same but the amount you can store will increase from 6TB to 9TB but the disadvantage is that most likely only LTO8 drives will be able to read Type M tapes but we won’t know for sure one way or the other until LTO9 is actually released and its specifications and capabilities will also be available at that time.

  • Martin Greenwood

    October 30, 2019 at 8:27 am

    The H680 card is fine, just put it an enclosure like this

    Then you will have a Thunderbolt 3 (or 2 with adaptor) unit with same performance and size as the SH3128 for about $220 !
    You can then connect both your old and new LTO drives to any Thunderbolt Mac.

    As Jerzy says it could be worth waiting for LTO-9. However because there was a delay with LTO-8 media so I suspect it will be late next year for LTO-9, but there is no definite date.




  • Sam Lee

    October 31, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    I already waited 5 years for LTO-8. Another year or two for LTO-9 will not be a problem. 24 Tb native is very nice to have all on one single LTO-9 tape instead of 9-10 with LTO-6.

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