back to article Sony, Fujifilm storage patent lawsuit is all taped up: Better LTO-8 than never, right?

Fujifilm and Sony have buried the hatchet over a patent dispute that crippled the global supply of LTO-8 tape media. The pair agreed to dismiss their patent dispute case in a US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit late last week [PDF]. Although neither side are talking in public, the LTO Program Technology Provider …

  1. J. Cook Silver badge

    It was a stupid argument, and I'm willing to bet that it'll finally kill off tape, because really, there's only two valid standards left in this day and age that'll satisfy the data size arguments: LTO, and IBM's (venerable) 3592 series, which (not surprisingly) do not inter-operate with each other, unless you've paid IBM a lot of money for a TS4500 and expansion frames, which appears to allow mixing both 3592 and LTO drive frames (Dx5) within the same logical library.

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      > it'll finally kill off tape

      Yeah and pigs will fly.

      Chimps will recreate romeo and Juliet.

      Aliens will land at the whitehouse and apologise for pranging earth in the 40's near Roswell and for being so late due to "family matters", ask where their craft is, visit Area 51 and see what happened to the occupants and then file a lawsuit with our legal system, sell their story to the papers...

      Yeah, we are really going to give up a standard open format that is LTO that stores tebibytes in a resilient, proven, transportable, light weight package.

      What are we to use instead?

      Spinning rust platters that require clean room environments to fix issues with their EMBEDDED electronics that cant store data without having to automatically correct multiple errors all the time and cant be shouted at and if they are badly made will sandpaper the platters while they spin (ahem samsung, IBM).

      What about expensive electron buckets on a chip called an SSD, no moving parts sure but it degrades every time its written to as we must literally force electrons through a quantum barrier, degrading it as we do so. Oh but the trapped electrons are like prisoners finding a way to escape, constantly reducing the stored charge till it gets to only a few years later when the flash controller cant determine if the bit is a one or a zero and reads it differently each time. Now we are not talking about just one bit here, due to the amount of data we can assume that there will be multiple bits affected by the ravages of only a few years, some will not be detected or corrected and some of those may corrupt the filesystem metadata needed to get the file.

      As for the embedded electronics. We live in a world that has heat and gravity. These very annoying facts of nature can destroy your drive simply because a BGA chips solder balls get cracked or maybe a bad capacitor spews its load all over the board. Having a drive fall can crack these solder joints or flex the PCB cracking the tracks. This would kill your drive dead and need a clean room to repair, unless you are lucky enough they can just swap the PCB.

      Yet if you drop an LTO tape its just fine. Oh, the plastic case broke? Move the tape to a new one. Thats why they have screws.


      WIth the amount of data we have to preserve these days I really doubt that LTO will give way to more expensive, yet convenient alternatives such as HDD and SSD. These are too error prone and subject to damage that tape is practically immune from. A successful backup system would combine both. Different media = eggs not in one basket.

      Tape is far from going anywhere. Maybe if we all stop needing storage. Get rid of the photos etc. But I doubt many will be wanting to part with that.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        I never said I was against tape; the last two managers I had wanted desperately to kill tape at my company, but I championed for it because of all the points you mentioned.

        I'm just disappointed that the last two companies that make the media decided to get into this petty squabble about the fact that they are 'only' getting half of the pie and not more...

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Tape is still more compact than harddrives, and some times cheaper. But once you start adding in the cost of the drives, it's only really worth it if you're backing up a lot of data.

      For LTO7 that's about 100-150GB, less than that and it's cheaper just to backup direct to a pile of harddrives.

      (Based on a quick spreadsheet assuming fitting 6TB on a LTO-7 tape, and prices of about £50 per tape, £2000 for a tape drive, and £130 for a 6TB harddrive)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a LTO-5 drive for personal use, and have got to say it's a lovely bit of kit. Fast, reliable, and I have non-cloudy backups of all my irreplaceable data, family photos in particular, in multiple locations.

    The tapes are hugely reliable, but keeping a working drive is a tougher battle. Now that this format war is hopefully resolved as enterprises buy LTO-8 again, I'll be able to pick up a low mileage LTO-7 drive. (2-gen's of backward compatibility is part of the spec).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Backward compatibility

      Re:" 2-gen's of backward compatibility is part of the spec" -- that was true until LTO8. Check it out. An LTO8 drive can't read an LTO6 tape.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: Backward compatibility

        ... which is why we spec'd a pair of LTO6 drives in the TS4300 that [RedactedCo] bought to replace it's hella out of support, tired, and failing Powervault TL4000 (which it actually a rebadged TS3200..)

  3. PMD Magnetics

    LTO does not fear sharks!

    You are more likely to be eaten by a shark than suffer an unrecoverable data error using LTO tape media, that would include LTO6, LTO7 or LTO8!..Plus LTO tape media provides 30 years or more of secure long terms data storage.

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