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Patent wars: Sony and Fujifilm fight over LTO tape patents
  • Right now we have LTO-8 as a format, we have the drives, and… we don’t have any tapes. Between 2000 and 2015, the first seven generations of LTO improved from 100GB to 6TB per tape, and were released in orderly sequence. LTO-8 was released in December 2017, promising 12TB of capacity and a healthy 360MB per second of performance, and there’s an enticing roadmap all the way to 480 terabyte tapes, with even LTO-10, at 48TB per tape, projected to achieve over a gigabyte per second. Filling twelve terabytes of LTO-8 at 360 megs a second would take over nine hours, ignoring any sort of filesystem or other administrative overheads, but it’s a pretty attractive idea in the 8K, HDR future.


    Or rather it would be if it were actually available. The technical details are too dense to go into, but essentially, despite the fact that there are three participants in the LTO program (HP, IBM and Quantum,) the principal organizations making tape are Fujifilm and Sony, and those two organizations are currently engaged in a multi-year court battle over some very complex issues of patentability on the tape media. As a result, nobody is currently selling LTO-8 tape, and no solution is expected before the latter half of the year.

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