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Upgrade HP EML 103e

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Occasional Advisor

Upgrade HP EML 103e



I have HP EML 103e with four LTO-3 Tape Drive. Can I replace these drives for LTO-5 to increase the capacity of the library? Will it work? 


Thank you.

Honored Contributor

Re: Upgrade HP EML 103e

Sure - you can add LTO-5 drives if you have open drive slots or replace the LTO-3 drives with LTO-5.
Respected Contributor

Re: Upgrade HP EML 103e

Curtis is correct that the library absolutely supports LTO-4 and LTO-5 drives as either replacement for or in addition to your current drives (you can mix different drive generations in the same library).


Be aware that --

- The upgrade from earlier drives (LTO-3 and before) to LTO-4 or above requires an HP EML Internal Network Kit (AJ001A) for each EML Library with LTO-5 or LTO-4 drive(s).   With LTO-4 and above, the Interface Controller functionality has been moved onto the tape drives themselves; this internal network kit provides the connectivity from the drives to the Interface Manager card through a private Ethernet network.


- If you're going to keep one or more of your LTO-3 drives, be very careful to use either hardware partitioning (through an Advanced Secure Manager license) or application programming (in your backup application), to keep the LTO-5 tapes out of the LTO-3 drives.  It won't hurt them, but it might throw your backup jobs for a loop.


- LTO-4 and LTO-5 support hardware encryption in the tape drive with no loss of performance or data compressibility.   Depending on your backup application, you may be able to use keys generated by the backup application for little or no cost (look for a hardware encryption or key management license).   IF YOU ENCRYPT -- be SURE you understand key management, and that you have your keys protected and accessible -- say, in an encrypted file on archival quality flash memory or CD media... DO NOT just backup the backup server as part of the same encrypted backup jobs that you're backing up all the rest of your data.

For an enterprise-class solution, you can instead use the HP Secure Key Manager, but I won't tell you that it's cheap!


- The LTO-4 and LTO-5 drives will connect directly to the FC SAN -- you won't have to buy any more Interface Controllers.


- Capacity of LTO-5 is 1.5 TB native -- just under 4x the capacity of your LTO-3 drives.   Performance is 75% faster.    If you're having problems keeping your current drives running at at least 50MB/second, you will run into buffer underrun issues with LTO-5, and should consider how to improve your disk read performance (or more broadly, answer the question, "How can I get data to my tape drives faster?") before purchasing an LTO-5 upgrade.   Buffer underrun causes premature tape drive and media wear, and should be avoided.


- Lastly, the LTO-5 drives will be able to read from, but not write to, your existing LTO-3 tapes... that backwards read capability will be a good thing for you.

HP EML Internal Network Kit


  • Internal LAN Switch
  • Cable
  • Installation poster
1 kit for each EML Library with LTO-5 or LTO-4 drive(s)
Liberty breeds responsibility; Government breeds dependence