I’ve mentioned in several posts about LTO backup tapes that LTFS, (which stands for Linear Tape File System), is a way to make an LTO tape behave like a USB flash drive. Those mentions, however, haven’t really gone into detail about how the LTFS technology works or why it’s a game-changer for LTO backup tape.
What is LTFS
LTFS is a tape-based file system for LTO-5 backup tapes. With it, you can use standard Windows (Or Mac, or Linux) file operations on your LTO tape: accessing, managing and sharing files with an interface that looks just like a hard disk.
Not only that, you can share data across platforms, as you would with a USB drive or memory stick. Once you load a tape into the drive and mount it into the file system, it becomes visible as a disk.
LTFS does require extra software to format the LTO 5 tape and give you the graphical interface. Most tape drive manufacturers provide this software for free, such as the one shown in the video below, HP StoreOpen.
Just as any brand tape will work in any manufacturers tape drive, you can use any kind of tape or drive with HP’s StoreOpen. However, LTFS technology only works on 5th generation LTO tapes, also known as LTO 5 tapes.
What are the 3 key benefits of LTFS?
LTFS is an extension of your Windows operating system, so now tape is as easy to access as a disk drive. View tape contents in your Windows browser directory tree and move files to and from tape via simple drag and drop.
Tape media written using LTFS is self-describing so that tape data access is independent of any hardware or software platforms. LTFS tapes can be shared easily across different operating systems and software.
LTFS is an open format for storing data on tape. It therefore minimizes software dependencies, maximizes recoverability and facilitates the use of tape for long-term archives.
If you have any questions
If you have any questions about LTO tape, tape drives, or LTFS, PMI is an HP partner and can get you a personal answer to any question you may have.