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LTFS - Linear Tape File System

Not just another broadcast wrapper

Self-describing content media that provides instant portability between systems.

What is LTFS?

The Linear Tape File system (LTFS) makes content truly portable. LTFS is not a file wrapper, but a standardised way of writing data to tape and providing descriptive information about the content held on any LTFS-formatted tape. This means that any LTFS-capable system can read a tape created by any other, and can identify and retrieve the files stored on it. You can even drag and drop files to and from a standalone drive, using a file system driver that mounts the tape cartridge as if it were a USB drive (drivers for Windows, Mac OS and Linux are available from drive manufacturers).

LTFS in a FlashNet archive

The flexibility of SGL FlashNet can be utilised to write to LTFS-formatted tapes within a larger archive system that may, for example, consist of a single or multiple tape libraries and disk storage. FlashNet’s StorageManager module can automatically migrate non-LTFS content to new parts of the archive with appropriately partitioned tapes. FlashNet’s intelligent LTFS implementation also means that LTFS can be used in archive tape libraries of any size, extending the efficiency of the LTFS workflow across the entire data archive.

Export content from the archive

Using SGL FlashNet tools, you can choose specific files or groups of files, to be copied or moved to export tapes. Once all the material has been copied, the tape can be removed from the library. Tools like the FlashNet Subscription Service automatically send notification about the removal of tapes to other controlling systems, enabling the true status of offline media to be tracked.

Deliver content into the archive

Traditionally the archive is the last port of call for file-based media. However, LTFS enables you to import tapes directly into the archive, opening up an array of new workflows. SGL FlashNet creates Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) as new material is brought into the archive. SGL provides complimentary tools that send push notifications to third-party systems, such as Media Asset Management, when new material arrives. This SGL Subscription Service allows third-party MAM solutions to harness the full flexibility of LTFS technology.

Disaster Recovery

LTFS within an SGL FlashNet system can provide a very cost-effective and built-in DR strategy. When you start writing all of your content to an LTFS group within the archive, you have automatically backed up your assets in a format that can be read outside of the archive by a different LTFS system or standalone drive.

Archive as a service

More and more organisations are investing in the necessary hardware infrastructure required to build a  fully scalable archive, and utilising these resources as an archive service, either from within, or externally to a larger organisation. For fixed-term archive service contracts it may be necessary to hand back the content at the end of the term. Not only does SGL FlashNet facilitate this export process, but LTFS enables the content to continue to be accessed outside the archive.


Although LTFS describes the files written to tape, it does not describe the content itself. When FlashNet writes AS02 files to an LTFS tape, however, you have everything required to transport that content anywhere, and to ensure that the receiving system knows everything about it. SGL FlashNet also supports the delivery of AS02 components (additional language tracks and ancillary data) after the main ‘container’ has been archived.

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LTFS Technical Article PDF