What is Digital Linear Tape (DLT)?

Digital Linear Tape (DLT): Here, we are going to learn about the Digital Linear Tape, its history, benefits of Digital Linear Tape.
Submitted by Anushree Goswami, on January 30, 2021

DLT: Digital Linear Tape

DLT is an abbreviation of "Digital Linear Tape". Digital Linear Tape is a magnetic tape-based system of technology, which is designed and created by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) for the purpose of data storage in the digital format by using digitally recorded data on magnetic tape.


  • In 1984, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) designed and created the DLT based technology called as TK50 tape drive for use in MicroVAX II and PDP-11 minicomputers. This DLT based tape drive used 22-track CompacTape I cartridges, to store 94 MB of data per cartridge.
  • In 1989, the CompacTape III format was launched, afterward, which was known as DLT Tape III, augmented the number of tracks to 128 and data storage capacity to 2.6 GB.
  • In 1994, the DLT based technology was acquired by Quantum Corporation.
  • In 2007, the Quantum Corporation put an end to the advancement of DLT drives and started developing the Linear Tape-Open magnetic tape-based technology.

Benefits of Digital Linear Tape

  • It enhances the performance of the system.
  • Super Digital Linear Tape (SDLT), an enhanced version of DLT based technology contains huge data storage capacity and advanced features.
  • An optical servo system is comprised by SDLT, which reads the servo patterns on the back-side of the tape to maintain the data tracks on the front-side of the tape, suitably arranged in support and put down in order with the read/write heads.

Reference: Digital Linear Tape

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