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OWC introduced the Mercury Pro LTO, which is designed to enable cost-effective and user-friendly archiving of 12 TB LTO-8 tapes. The device offers the possibility to mount an additional hard drive or SSD, write speeds of up to 360 MB / s (900 MB / s compressed), Thunderbolt 3 connections and a relatively compact housing. It's available now, starting at $ 4,499.

Most filmmakers who have been in the business for a long time have had to deal with archiving older projects. The problem in our industry is that the amount of data can become enormous at higher resolutions and bit rates.

LTO tapes have been around for a while and when it comes to long term storage, with an estimated 30 year lifespan, they are one of the best solutions. OWC recently introduced a Mercury Pro LTO. Let's take a quick look at its features and specifications.

OWC Mercury Pro LTO

LTO technology was first introduced in 2000. LTO tape has been generations of generations since then, and the capacity per tape has grown with each generation. The Mercury Pro LTO includes the IBM LTO-8 Ultrium Drive, which can read the latest LTO-8 tapes with 12 TB (or 30 TB of compressed) storage capacity, but can also handle the previous generation's 6 TB LTO-7 tapes and should even be able to use future LTO-9 drives.

Mercury Pro LTO. Source: OWC

The benefit of using Linear Tape-Open (LTO) tapes formatted with Linear Tape File System (LTFS) is that the tape can be accessed on the computer like a hard drive or SSD. Files are displayed in folders, and moving and retrieving files from tape is easy. The Mercury Pro LTO contains a myLTO app that can be mounted, formatted and backed up to an LTO tape and hard drive at the same time.

According to OWC, the LTO platform offers the most affordable storage format – just $ 0.02 / GB and significantly less than online storage (when it comes to large amounts of data). The Mercury Pro LTO supports AES 256-bit encryption and WORM cartridges, which are required for legal / regulatory records. It offers native transfer rates of up to 360 MB / s (up to 900 MB / s compressed).

Mercury Pro LTO. Source: OWC

The Mercury Pro LTO device has a compact form factor with built-in handles and a configurable drive bay. Users can add an optional 2.5 / 3.5-inch hard drive or SSD for staging capacity of up to 16 TB.

In terms of connectivity, there are two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports (15 W and 85 W) and a DisplayPort 1.4 for connecting a display, as well as an RJ-45 LAN service port. The 85W USB-C port can also charge compatible devices.

Price and availability

The Mercury Pro LTO is available now for $ 4,499 and includes the myLTO software, 12 TB LTO-8 tape, Thunderbolt cable, and a cleaning cartridge. Additional solutions for up to 16 TB are also available. LTO-8 tapes start at around $ 120.

Do you archive your data on LTO tapes? What's your workflow for it? Let us know in the comments section below the article.

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