The Ultrium/LTO format is characterized by a high storage capacity and is particularly suitable for data backup: in the 1st generation, LTO-1, the uncompressed storage capacity is 100 gigabytes( GB), and in the second generation this was doubled to 200 GB. A further doubling in storage capacity occurred with Ultrium-3 at 400 GB and Ultrium-4 at 800 GB.
Ultrium-5 has an uncompressed storage capacity of 1,500 GB and compressed of 3,000 GB, Ultrium-6 has 2,500 GB, Ultrium-7 has 6,000 GB and Ultrium-8 has 12,000 GB. The values always indicate the storage capacity without compression. Parallel to the increase in storage capacities, data transfer rates have also evolved from 20 MB/s for Ultrium-1 to 140 MB/s for Ultrium-5 and 900 MB/s for Ultrium-8. The further versions Ultrium-9 and Ultrium-10 are conceptually fixed, but not yet realized. For these versions, the designed storage capacities are 50,000 GB and 48,000 GB.
The Ultrium format is mainly used for backup copies and archiving. It divides the magnetic tape into nine areas, five of which are used as servo tracks for head positioning and the areas in between for data recording. These four data areas each comprise 96 tracks, so that a total of 384 longitudinal tracks are available for data recording. The track width is only 10 µm.