Dell has announced the world's first LT0 4 tape drive, ahead of LTO 4 developers IBM and HP. Its PowerVault LTO-4-120 drive has cartridges that can store 800GB of raw data and transfer it at 120MB/sec.

This is twice the capacity of the current LTO-3 format and a 50 percent I/O rate increase. The drives can also encrypt data being written to the drives to help prevent data loss through cartridge theft or loss.

Dell's LTO 4 drive can read and write existing LTO 3 cartridges and can also read earlier LTO 2 format tapes.

The product is available now. Pricing of an external standalone Dell LTO-4-120 drive starts at £2,999 with cartridge prices starting from £100.

It is testament to Dell's product development skills that it can take raw drive product from either IBM or HP - no-one is saying which - and turn it into sellable product faster than the chosen vendor's in-house productisers; pretty amazing.

Overland Storage has just announced a 38TB 4U LTO 3 library for the larger SME/smaller enterprise. It's a darn good product in terms of capacity and pricing. We can bet it won't be too long before we get LTO 4-class devices in approximately that form factor offering twice as much capacity and 50 percent more I/O speed. Storage is a pretty ruthless business.