Digital Linear Tape (DLT) (1984 – )

Digital Linear Tape (DLT) is a magnetic tape storage format for data, originally called CompacTape. It was introduced by Digital Equipment Corporation in 1984 for use in MicroVAX II and PDP-11 minicomputers. The original CompacTape I cartridge used 22 tracks and stored 94 MB.

DLT uses linear serpentine recording with multiple tracks on half-inch tape. The cartridge contains a single reel and the tape is pulled out of the cartridge by means of a leader tape attached to the take-up reel inside the drive.

In 2001, the higher capacity Super DLT was launched.

A new naming convention took effect in 2005, calling Super DLT (the performance line) DLT-S and DLT (the value line) DLT-V. The latest generation of DLT, DLT-V4 stores up to 320 GB.

Development of DLT and Super DLT drives stopped after 2007 when Quantum switched development to LTO, but both DLT-V and DLT-S drives and tapes are still available.

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