A New Way of Working with Tape

Providing an open, sustainable model for tape management

LTFS 2 Technology: Segment 1


So here we are again on a podcast here today talking with Michael Richmond who is one of the founding architects around LTFS technology. As you may recall, in our first webinar, or our first podcast, we talked about some of the decisions around the creation of the technology, what we were looking to accomplish.

In this podcasts, we are going to talk more about LTFS technology. And this is really near and dear to Michael's heart because he was really a core architect in designing what the specification would look like, and how it would be implemented. So Michael, welcome back.

Hi Jay. It's good to talk with you again.

Fantastic. Thanks. Let's just jump right into it if we could. Why don't you talk about, for those listeners who may not be familiar with LTFS technology, can you sort of summarize what it is and how it works.

Sure, Jay. I'm happy to talk with you again. LTFS is a new way of working with data tape. LTFS is really actually two things. It's a piece of software than can be installed in your operating system, be it Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X, which extends the capabilities of the operating system to be able to work with data tapes written in the LTFS format. The second thing LTFS is, is an open-format specification describing how data is laid out in LTFS formatted cartridges.

The software is the important piece from the user specific because it's what you install. It's the piece that actually allows you to work with the cartridges that are formatted in the LTFS format. But the format specification itself is also vitally important because it describes to developers today, and developers in 30 or 50 years from now, how to interpret the data they find on an LTFS formatted tape. It also completely describes how other software vendors need to lay out data and place data on the data cartridge to be compliant and compatible with any other LTFS software implementation.

In developing LTFS we were trying to make it easier to work with data tape. And also introduce this model where the data written to a data tape can be accessed by any vendor and any author of software without any propriety controls. And so to achieve that, we focused a lot on insuring cross-platform compatibility, and also completely describing the format so that if somebody doesn't want to use the open source implementation for company policy reasons or licensing concerns, they have all of the information they need to sit down as a programmer and write code that will create LTFS compliant volumes and read volumes that have been written by other pieces of software.

The Speakers:

Michael Richmond
Jay Livens