By Simon Watkins, HP StorageWorks Nearline Solutions Product Marketing Manager
The 2011 NAB show, the world’s largest digital media and entertainment (M&E) event, kicks off in Las Vegas on April 9—with a spotlight on video workflow and video asset archive solutions featuring HP LTO-5 tape and LTFS.
HP Linear Tape File System (LTFS) is creating a real buzz among customers, vendors and analysts in the M&E industry. It’s not hard to understand why. Simply put, this exciting new tape technology is revolutionizing the value of tape for video production and digital media professionals.
Let’s take a closer look at how LTO-5 with LTFS makes video storage, sharing and archiving easier.
Making tape as easy to use as disk
LTFS formatted LTO-5 tapes are self-describing. In other words, each tape has its own file system that is viewed via a directory tree structure and used with drag and drop functionality, just like a regular USB drive. See LTFS in action at www.ultrium.com/ltfs.
LTFS enabled tapes are thus ideal for video production workflow applications, by providing access to files at rates of up to 140 Mb/second and thus freeing up high cost, premium acquisition media for reuse.
In addition, data recovery from self-describing LTFS enabled tapes is application independent, so that any required restores can stand the test of time irrespective of any application obsolescence.
Enhancing video workflows
LTFS-formatted LTO-5 tapes can be used cross platform in various parts of the workflow. The open standard LTFS makes the tape contents accessible to any facility with a LTO-5 tape drive. For example, once an LTFS-formatted tape is created, it can be shared with an editor using a Mac OS, and from there it may be shared with a digital effects company using Linux.
As a result, LTFS provides the ability for an organization to standardize on a single storage media for video content delivery and archive.
Handling and preserving large video archives
Spiraling content growth and longer term retention of video assets presents a major challenge for the media and entertainment industry, especially with older analog footage now being transferred to digital formats for repurpose and retention. LTO-5 tape drives and media offer the ideal way to handle and preserve large archives, with a 30 year tape media archival life, 1.5 TB of capacity per cartridge, enterprise class read while write and MTBF reliability features and easy portability.
Cutting the costs of video workflow and archive
LTO-5 tape media offers one of the lowest costs per Gbyte for long-term storage at approximately 5 cents per Gbyte (native) (1). This can result in significant cost savings. For example, LTO-5 can be up to 44x cheaper in cost/minute terms (2) when compared with traditional videotape such as SR or D-5 tape cartridges.
In addition, a recent study by the Clipper Group (3) compared the total cost of ownership of disk and tape as the predominant storage media for long term archiving. The report concluded that disk is more than fifteen times more expensive than tape and uses 238 times more energy.
LTFS based video workflow and archive solutions
There is already significant industry momentum behind developing a wide range of video workflow and video asset archive solutions that leverage the full potential of HP LTFS. Many HP LTO-5 with LTFS-based solutions will be on display at NAB, including products from the likes of Cache-A, TOLIS Group and SGL.
The future of tape looks bright!
As we saw in our previous blog, it’s safe to say that tape is alive and kicking. Customer demand for tape remains strong. HP recently shipped its 2 millionth LTO tape drive! And the LTO Ultrium format roadmap specifies a native capacity of 12.8 TB per cartridge by LTO generation 8! With exciting technology innovations such as HP LTFS opening new markets and applications, the future of tape looks assured.
Why not download and install LTFS freeware on to your workstation to use with your LTO-5 tape drive and let us know how HP LTFS can benefit your organization.
 Based on prices obtained from www.cdw.com in April 2011
 Based on prices obtained from www.tapeonline.com in April 2011
 “In Search of the Long-Term Archiving Solution -Tape Delivers Significant TCO Advantage over Disk”, The Clipper Group, Dec.23, 2010 - http://www.clipper.com/research/TCG2010054.pdf
Editor's Note: updated URL and branding of TOLIS Group on 7 April per the comment below.