Japanese tape drive vendor Unitex has unveiled the first ever LTO-9 tape drive with a USB connection.
The aptly named UNITEX USB LTO-9 drive offers a native capacity of 18TB on one tape with transfer rates of up to 300MBps, far more than any cloud backup or cloud storage service could ever reach. Although it is a Type A 3.0 model, the USB port means that it can be used with almost all USB devices.
The device is a follow-up of the LT80H, an LTO-8 USB tabletop drive, and is likely to be sold at a significant premium; the LT80H costs $5,100 and the LTO version will probably reach $6,000. On the flip side, LTO-9 tapes are reasonably priced at less than $170, which is about half what an equivalent 18TB hard disk drive costs.
A spokesperson for Unitex confirmed that pricing is yet to be finalized. Interestingly, they also mentioned the company’s tape-backup-as-a-service offering, which already exists in Japan. The spokesperson said that they are currently studying expanding the service to international customers.
A potent cloud storage alternative
Hardware-as-a-service is picking up steam in the creative industry, which generates enormous amounts of data, much of which needs backing up. OWC, a competitor to Unitex in the US, has launched a program called Fast Forward which allows users to rent hardware at a fixed monthly cost.
Backing up to tape is one or more orders of magnitude faster than uploading to the cloud, especially for smaller outfits that do not have the setup to keep terabytes of data in a safe place. Backing up 18TB of data over USB would take about 17 hours, but far, far longer over broadband, plus tape offers a physical air gap that mitigates the risk of ransomware attacks.
The ability to rent an LTO-9 tape drive for a short period of time, every month, cannot therefore be overlooked.
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Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro
Desire has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Then came a weekly tech column for a Mauritius-based business magazine, Clicplus, and freelancing at Theinquirer with Mike Magee, his mentor. Desire is now the head of TechRadar Pro after an eight-year stint with ITProPortal.com, where he discovered all about global techfests. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.