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January 10, 2024

Choosing Full-Height Tape Drives for Superior Performance


In fast-paced archive settings like media & entertainment, medical, and engineering industries, achieving quick and dependable data storage and retrieval is crucial. Addressing the challenges of timely archiving and restoration requires a solution that boosts both speed and reliability. That’s where Symply’s recommendation of LTO-9 Full Height drives shines. 

Symply offers the broadest range of Full Height LTO-9 drive technologies tailored for various industries, available in different forms such as Thunderbolt 3, SAS, and 10Gb Ethernet connectivity options for both desktop and rack solutions. Full Height drives are specifically engineered for superior performance in environments that demand faster motors and larger data buffers. These enhancements not only accelerate search speeds but also minimize data access time. 

Moreover, the robust loading mechanism of these drives can handle heavy load/unload cycles, making them ideal for intensive read/write operations such as Production (On-Set) Archive, Active Archive, HSM, and more. This reliability and performance make LTO-9 Full Height drives the optimal choice for industries requiring steadfast data handling capabilities. 

Full Height vs Half Height Drives, What’s the Difference? 

Symply provide LTO-9 in both Full Height and Half Height form factors, so let’s have a look at the key differences.  

As you can see the primary difference between LTO-9 Full-Height and Half Height drives is the performance, with the Full Height drive providing an extra 100MB/Sec of throughput with LTO-9 media and giving an extra 60MB/Sec with LTO-8 media in a Full Height LTO-9 drive. 

The specifications also show the difference between the loader mechanism, with the number of load and unload cycles that the respective drives support. Demonstrating the additional robustness of the Full-Height drive. 

What Makes the Full-Height Drive Different? 

For LTO drives, a bigger form factor is better, and brings the following 5 advantages… 

  1. Larger Motors for Performance and Reliability.  The larger form factor of the Full-Height Drives allows for larger motors providing a higher performance in terms of both throughput and seek time.  The larger motors also operate a lower percentage of their designed maximum load making them more reliable.  The additional space within the LTO drive also allow for better cooling efficiency. 
  1. Faster Media Movement and Acceleration.  The faster motors and additional space at the tape heads all Full Height drives allows for the fast movement of the tape media through the drive.  Improving the seek time both forwards and backwards through the tape media.
  1. Greater Tolerance to Vibration and Shock.  The Full Height drive has a much more robust base plate, that aids the structural integrity of the drive, increasing the drive resilience shock and vibration.  
  1. Higher Cartridge Insertion Force Tolerance.  The loading mechanisms on the Full Height drives can handle a significantly greater insertion force.  Although originally designed to better support LTO automation, the mechanism’s robustness is equally advantageous in standalone desktop and rackmount scenarios. 
  1. Higher Performance. As we have seen Full Height Drives provide a higher throughput compared to Half-Height drives.  The combination of larger motors and a better mechanical fabrication make the Full Height drives as a future-proof choice for sustained high-performance applications. 

What makes Full Height Drives a Better Choice for High-Performance Environments? 

While both FH and HH versions share common characteristics, the distinctive features of Full Height LTO-9 tape drives make them the superior choice for demanding environments and specific use cases. The advantages in reliability, performance, and durability of Full Height drives as the preferred solution, where efficiency and speed are paramount. 

Consider that using and LTO-9 Full Height drive instead of a Half-Height LTO-9 drive provides an extra 100MB/Sec of uncompressed performance. Over a period of say an 8-hour working day, it is possible to archive and extra 2.88TB (or an additional 8.64TB in 24hrs).  In a demanding high throughput environment where deadlines are always tight, the performance and reliability advantages of Full Height drives can make all the difference. 

The advantages of Full-Height LTO-9 technology are too good to be only the preserve of automated tape libraries, so Symply decided to bring the technology benefits to a wider audience by creating a series of world’s first products.  Including the first Thunderbolt 3AS connected FH LTO-9 Drive and the first 10Gb Ethernet-connected LTO-9 drive, both available in desktop and 2RU appliances.

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UK +44 (0) 1223 228040
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+49 (89) 26207042
Email
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