Imagine Products Readies New Update to Windows Archiving Software for IBC

A long shortage of LTO-8 media, imports of which had been restricted during a long-running patent dispute between tape manufacturers Fujifilm and Sony, is set to end as sales resume in the U.S. market.

The patent case was dismissed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit after the two companies reportedly reached a worldwide cross-licensing deal.

In a mass email to customers, Quantum Senior Director of Product Marketing Eric Bassier said it will take “a few months” to begin fulfilling new orders once the company works its way through backlog. “We are encouraging all customers that have pending requirements for LTO-8 media to book orders as soon as possible so we can effectively manage the queue of orders we have and expedite delivery as much as possible.”

Not so many years ago, there were still a half-dozen media manufacturers making LTO tapes, but Fujifilm and Sony are the only current manufacturers of LTO media.

Update 08/06/2019: The LTO Program said LTO-8 media should be “globally available” in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Though LTO-8 tapes may be branded by HP, IBM and Quantum, they are manufactured by Fujifilm and Sony.

LTO-8 Is Here, but Where’s LTO-9?

We asked Dan Montgomery, president of Imagine Products, which makes software for archiving files to data tape, about pent-up demand for LTO-8 tapes. “That’s getting resolved pretty much this month — just in time for LTO-9 to come out,” he said, chuckling. According to the LTO Program’s track record and previously announced roadmap, LTO-9, with roughly double the capacity of LTO-8, should arrive sometime in 2020.

Montgomery noted that the effects of the shortage had been mitigated somewhat by the use of LTO-7 tapes initialized as “Type M” media, which were identified by a barcode that allowed users with an LTO-8 drive to write 9 TB to those tapes instead of the 6 TB specified for LTO-7. Unfortunately, those “Type M” cartridges are not guaranteed to be readable in the next generation of LTO-9 drives, making them a short-term solution at best.

In other LTO news, Montgomery promised a “significant upgrade” to the Windows version of PreRoll Post, its software for archiving to desktop LTO drives, will be ready in time for IBC next month. Look for more news on that in the weeks leading up to the show.