Super Digital Linear Tape

What Does Super Digital Linear Tape Mean?

Super Digital Linear Tape (SDLT) is a higher capacity variant of the Digital Linear Tape standard, a magnetic tape format developed by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) back in the 1980s that became the industry standard for mid-range NT and UNIX system archive and backup applications. An SDLT variant that originally had 110 GB of storage capacity was launched in 2001.


Techopedia Explains Super Digital Linear Tape

Super Digital Linear Tape technology is based on laser-guided magnetic recording (LGMR) technology. It uses a combination of optical and magnetic technologies to dramatically increase the number of recording tracks present on the surface of the tape media. The optical servo system reads the servo patterns on the tape’s back in order to keep the data tracks on the tape’s front correctly aligned with the read/write heads.

SDLT supports hardware data compression and is fully backward compatible with regular DLT cartridges, being able to write to and read from them; however, it writes data in SDLT 220 format, as is the case with the SDLT 320 tape drive.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.