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Apparently LTO-4 drives can both read and write LTO-3 tapes. Are these tapes fully compatible with LTO-3 drives? I'm interested in real life experience more than theoretical vendor-touted compatibility :)

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I have restored LTO3 tapes that were written to on an LTO4 device. I used an LTO3 device to do the restore and actually had no problems.

The tape was only ever used in the LTO4 drive tho and hadnt been appended to from an LTO3 device.

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Yes. It's not just a vendor touted compatibility, it's a requirement that's tested as part of the LTO Ultrium certification process. All LTO-4 drives must read LTO-2/LTO-3 and write LTO-3. Specifically see questions 27 and 28 of the LTO FAQ.

That said, I've had no problems moving LTO-3 tapes between my Exabyte Magnum 224 (aka Tanberg Data T24) autoloaders. One has an LTO-4 drive, one an LTO-3; everything worked as advertised.

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That was exactly my concern, thank you :) – wazoox Jul 2 '09 at 10:04

I've seen both LTO-3 and LTO-4 tapes used in a Dell PowerVault ML6000-series autoloader with no ill effects. (In fact, we got better back performance onto LTO-3 media when backing-up some older server computers that couldn't handle the throughput necessary to sustain the LTO-4 streaming rate).

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I'm currently working in backup company.

Got HP / IBM / Quantum / Tandberg drive for test, but only one pool of media.

Never got any issue reading/writing tape from a drive to another. and using LTO3 tape in LTO4 drive without any issue.

So be reassured, it works, for real !

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