By Andrew Dodd, Worldwide Marketing Communications Manager, HP Storage Media
HP StoreOpen with LTFS for Windows is here! That means more users will enjoy the core LTFS benefit of being able to access content on LTO tape as easily as from a USB stick or hard drive. Here on the Around the Storage Block blog, my colleague, Simon Watkins, has written a great post on the topic that includes a demo video: HP StoreOpen with LTFS for Windows: Making tape as easy to access and share as disk
Hands On With LTFS
I've been interested in the development of LTFS for a number of years now, primarily because of my job, but also because outside of work I make videos of triathletes from my local club, Bath Amphibians, competing in local and national events here in the UK.
On my own modest scale, therefore, I am very familiar with the challenge of what to do with terabytes of video footage that need to be kept somewhere safer than half a dozen external HDDs daisy-chained together. My production ambitions may not be Hollywood in scale, but even as a prosumer, one immediately sees the benefits of LTFS for helping to manage large archives of digital footage.
While LTO-5 with LTFS is useful for lots of applications, it's been keenly sought by the M&E industry to store, manage and preserve vast amounts of unstructured data, especially rich media content like video, digital cinema and audio. As filmmakers adopt higher visual resolution and complexity formats (HD, 8K, 3D, etc.) producers are faced with the need to balance the long-term availability of their media assets with the prohibitive cost of keeping them online. LTO tape, especially with LTFS, can meet the challenge by delivering low cost storage with easy access to files.
My primary camera is a Sony HVR-Z1 (although I also have a smaller AVCHD handheld camera that I use in parallel to the bigger device). Typically, I'm recording compressed HDV footage onto standard MiniDV tapes. Before LTFS, my workflow involved ingesting footage from the video tapes into my computer so I could use non-linear editing tools to put together my film sequences. Over the course of a season, I could easily amass a couple of TB of raw digitised footage that I had no desire to go back and re-capture if anything nasty happened to one of my hard drives. And with tapeless cameras, once the source drive has been erased to make way for new filming, you are dependent on your backup and archiving processes to preserve copies of the initial footage.
LTFS for Windows Video Demonstration
LTFS Makes Light Work Of Archiving
I used earlier generations of LTO tape drives to archive my footage but the downside of this approach was that if I needed to restore individual clips, I had to use the same backup environment - software, catalog - to find and recreate the files. One of the key benefits of LTFS is that it is completely self-describing so that tape data access is independent of any hardware or software platforms. And rather than having to scour through the directory trees of a backup application, an LTFS tape is as easy to access as a disk drive. Once mounted as a volume, its possible to view the tape contents in the Windows or Mac OS X file manager and move files to and from tape via simple drag and drop.
When you are going back to look for a clip of a particular athlete, competing in a particular race and trying to find that great moment that you just know you captured, the simplicity and ease of use of a normal OS interface cannot be overstated!
Windows Users Will Benefit From LTFS
Now that StoreOpen for Windows is here, I think many more film and video producers will make the shift to using LTO Ultrium for archiving their projects. Not only is LTFS incredibly easy to use, but as filmmaking and post-production becomes entirely tapeless (in terms of the original recording media), LTO data cartridges are far lower in cost compared to other alternatives. It's far cheaper to store large quantities of archive material on a 3 TB LTO-5 tape than on other media, and with tape, you still have all the benefits of portability and robustness.
I'm looking forward to seeing what you make of HP StoreOpen for Windows and listening to your feedback on creative forums and at industry events like the forthcoming IBC exhibition in Amsterdam. To find out more about HP LTFS and LTO Ultrium, check out the following resources:
Watch the video now: The value of HP StoreOpen with LTFS
Free download: HP StoreOpen standalone with LTFS for Windows
Free webinar: HP StoreOpen with LTFS