LTO 5 Drive and Tape Compatibility

Posted on 2011-05-11
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am in the market to purchase a new LTO 4 or 5 1x8 autoloader.  I am leaning toward the idea of purchasing the LTO 5 hardware and using LTO 4 media (significant cost savings) until I hit its capacity which is expected in the next year and a half.

My question is, are there any problems, restoring, backing up, incompatibilities, gotchas, etc, reading and writing LTO 4 tape with a LTO 5 drive?  We are using Backup Exec 2010 R2.

Thank you!
Question by:yiprint
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    In a word? No.

    LTO drives are read/write compatible with one previous generation, and read compatible with the previous two generations. Obviously, you get lower capacity, and lower speeds, but that's about it.

    Author Comment

    I understand the lower capacity, but what is the difference in theoretical speed?
    LVL 12

    Accepted Solution

    To get a definitive answer, you'd need to look at the particular drive's manual. But generally speaking, in theory, most  LTO 5 drives will read/write LTO 4 density tapes at the same speed as an LTO4 drive... (typically, 120MB/s for LTO4 vs 140MB/s for LTO5)

    In my experience, though, the higher generation drive won't quite reach the same speed writing to the previous generation's media as the that generation's drive would, but the difference is fairly small - not more than 10%.

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