I have a pile of LTO 2 tapes, and both an LTO 2 drive (HP Ultrium 460e), and an autoloader with an LTO 3 drive in (Tandberg T24 autoloader, with a HP drive).
Performance of the LTO 2 tapes in the LTO 2 drive is adequate and consistent. HP L&TT tells me that the tapes can be read and written at 64 MB/s, which seems in line with the performance specifications of the drive. When I perform a backup (over the network) using Symantec Backup Exec, I get about 1700 MB/min backup and verify speeds, which is slower, but still adequate.
Performance of the LTO 2 tapes in the LTO 3 drive in the autoloader is a different story. HP L&TT tells me that the tapes can be read at 82 MB/s and written at 49 MB/s, which seems unusual at the write speed drop, but not the end of the world. When I perform a backup (over the network) using Symantec Backup Exec though, I get about 331 MB/min backup speed and 205 MB/min verify speeds, which is not only much slower, but also much slower for reads than for writes.
Notes: The comparison testing was done on the same server, SCSI card and SCSI cable, with the same backup data set and the same tape each time. The tape and drives are error-free (according to HP L&TT and Backup Exec). The SCSI card is a U160 card, which is not normally recommended for LTO 3, but we're not writing to LTO 3 tapes at LTO 3 speeds, and a U320 SCSI card is not available to me at the moment.
As I'm scratching my head to determine the reason for the performance drop, my first question is:
While LTO drives can write to the previous generation LTO tapes, does doing so normally incur a performance penalty?