Tape Media


Up to LTO-9, tapes do not require initialization. When inserting a new LTO-9 tape into a drive for the first time, the LTO drive will spool through the whole tape. This process can take considerable time. If you do no have this luxury, some vendors like Symply sell pre-initialized media.
If your drive is of an older generation that LTO-9, you can simply insert a tape and continue with formatting.


Each LTO tape needs to be formatted before usage, kind of like with a hard disk. If a tape is not yet formatted, Canister will prompt you to do so:
Each LTFS-formatted tape requires a name and may use an optional serial. A serial must be 6 characters.
If you do not have a system in place to track tapes using the serial, we suggest allowing Canister to prepopulate the serial using the date. This simple mechanism results in a value like 230504 for May 4th, 2023, and gives context for when a tape was created.

Erasing Tapes

Due to LTO's linear nature, files written on tape cannot be deleted without erasing the whole tape. Erasing a tape can be done in-app through the LTO menu:
LTFS requires a tape to be unmounted before erasing a tape. If Erase is disabled, first eject the tape.

Discovery Channel

Some years ago, the Discovery Channel created a delivery spec for LTO. This specification requires the party delivering LTO to Discovery Channel to add a specific XML file to the root of the tape. This XML file needs to be written to the index partition instead of the data partition of LTFS tapes. A specific LTFS setting is required when formatting a tape to make this possible. As this setting is not obstructing any non-Discovery Channel workflow, all tapes formatted by Canister adhere to this spec.