LTFS for Big Data Storage

Simplifying data storage and data transport tasks

Eliminating the Complexity of Tape.

LTFS (Linear Tape File System) is a free and easy-to-use software utility that allows LTO tape products to connect and operate just like a large hard disk. Users can drag and drop files at high speed directly from tape onto the desktop or vice-versa. LTFS is ideal for large data file transportation or archiving tasks, but LTFS should not be used to store large volumes of small data files.

The LTFS specification is controlled by the LTO consortium ensuring compatibility across all LTO tape products. LTFS also supports multiple operating systems: Windows, MacOS, Linux and Solaris. Therefore a user can write data in a Windows environment using a Tandberg Data LTO tape drive and read the data from the tape cartridge using any vendor's LTO tape drive connected to a MacOS environment.


Benefits of LTFSimage

  • LTFS is free and easy to use (drag and drop files).
  • LTFS offers blistering write/read performance, up to 160MB/sec.
  • LTFS offers large storage capacities up to 2.5TB on a single data cartridge.
  • LTFS supports multiple operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux & Solaris).
  • LTFS is fully compatible across all LTO-5 and LTO-6 vendor tape drives.
  • LTFS appends data, rolling files back to a previous version.


When to use LTFS

  • LTFS should only be used for storing large files (>0.5MB).
  • LTFS is ideal for transporting large data files (video etc.).
  • LTFS should only be used for storing files that are unlikely to change.


Limitations of LTFS

  • LTFS should not be used for storing small files (<0.5MB).
  • LTFS should only be used for storing files that are unlikely to change.
  • LTFS is not backup software. You cannot schedule tasks.
  • LTFS does not work with some HBAs (see Compatibility Matrix).
  • LTFS standalone software only supports one tape drive per system.
  • LTFS automation software is available on request (Linux & MacOS).


Applications for LTFS

  • Media and entertainment: data transportation and archive.
  • Medical & health: X-rays/CT backup and archive.
  • Surveillance: CCTV backup and archive.
  • Military: video backup and archive.
  • Information archival for e-discovery purposes.


How to Implement and Use LTFS with Tandberg Data LTO-5/LTO-6 Tape Drives

Implementation is easy. Simply download the required preconfigured LTFS software and install. You may need to upgrade the firmware for your tape drive or SAS/FC controller. Simply load a tape into the drive, mount it into the file system, and it becomes visible as a disk. For more information, please download the LTFS user guide.

LTFS Summary:

A standard LTO tape cartridge contains one partition but when formatted for use with LTFS it contains two partitions; the primary partition is used to store the file system information and the second partition is used to store the user data. When an LTFS cartridge is loaded, the primary partition is read and the file system is uploaded into RAM and the user can browse the contents of the tape.

If the user wants to access or copy a file on tape then the tape drive must spool forward, locate the file and read it. The latest generations of LTO tape drives are significantly faster at reading or writing data than SATA/SAS hard disk drives and can quickly overcome the access time writing or reading large data files (see table below):

  10GB 100GB 500GB
  Access Time W/R Time Total Time Access Time W/R Time Total Time Access Time W/R Time Total Time
HDD (100MB/sec) 0s 100s 100s 0s 1000s 1000s 0s 5000s 5000s
LTO-6 (160MB/sec) 30s 63s 93s 30s 625s 655s 30s 3125s 3155s



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