Tape Libraries, new in Canister 24.2

Tape Libraries, new in Canister 24.2

At Hedge we pride ourselves on creating apps that make light work of the difficult stuff, and this Canister release is no exception.

Back in 2018, Canister proved to be a landslide departure from the overly complicated and technical user experience that seemed to be intrinsically linked to LTO software. Canister's UI made it very pleasurable to work with LTO, while Canister's plumbing was as technologically sound as LTO requires its software counterpart to be. Both are equally important: LTO can be finicky, and no amount of UI gravy will fix that if the plumbing isn't right.

Today, we're extending that ease of use into the realm of tape libraries. Meet the brand new Library Manager:

In addition, Canister gains Firmware Updates for Windows, and a neat way to choose which files not to skip on archive and retrieve is now available in Canister on both Windows and macOS.

The Librarian

Over the last couple of years, desktop LTO archiving has become really popular—for a good reason: LTO has a good price per TB, a long shelf life, and near zero power consumption. The only downside to desktop LTO drives is that they require some manual operation if you need to create a bunch of tapes.

That's where tape libraries come in. Tape libraries consist of the same hardware that a desktop LTO has, a tape robot, plus room to store tapes en masse (the "library"). The tape robot is a device that can scan the barcode of tapes, and move them from a location in the library into the drive and vice versa.

Originally built for the enterprise, where there's a need for storing thousands of tapes, there are now affordable tape libraries on the market with a less daunting scale. They allow you to put 8, 16, or 24 tapes into a single unit, all served by one or even several tape drives. All of this fits within the form factor of a rackmount server with typically 1, 2, or 4 unit height units. Imagine a Mac Pro on its side, and you're pretty close. 24 LTO-9 tapes get you over 400 TB in storage, and with a combined total cost of less than $30 per TB, that's pretty effective both in terms of cost and space.

At Hedge, we never build just for the enterprise, but we do see a lot more teams needing to move beyond their single-drive desktop units to these libraries, as it makes it easy to handle archives on a larger scale. Since launching Canister, we've wanted to bring Canister's simplicity to tape libraries—and today's the day.


The new Library Manager automatically scans your library and shows you what's stored inside: tapes, empty tape slots, mail slots, and LTO drives. You can drag and drop tapes between all slots as you like, with Canister handling the required communication with the tape robot.

Flexible hardware support

Thanks to our friends at MagStor, who have been willing to lend us a pair of libraries throughout the development of the Library Manager, Canister Pro for Mac is 100% validated for use with the M2000 Tape Library. We also support a range of similar-sized single-drive chassis, including but not limited to Quantum's SuperLoader line of products, Symply's new libraries, the Qualstar Q24, and BDT Flexstor II units.

If you have a different variety at hand, feel free to reach out to see if we can work with you on other tape library varieties.

Canister Pro

Today, we're also unveiling our new Canister Pro license, which sits alongside the regular license many of you are already familiar with. As with OffShoot back in 2023, Canister's growing up so fast that some features on our roadmap are not for everyone — they're for the proverbial 20%. Hence, a separate license tier; because the 80% should not have to pay for the cost of development of features they likely won't use.

The Library Manager is our first Canister Pro feature, and for the time being, it is only available on macOS. A Canister Pro license is $699, including a year of updates and support. Upgrading an existing Canister license to Pro is $549, adding an additional year of updates and support to your existing license. You can do this from the online License Manager.

Skip to the good stuff

The Library Manager isn't the only new thing in this big update: Canister 24.2 now also makes it possible to skip files based on their extension. Whilst archives need to be a reflection of the original storage, it's not always needed to archive everything. Canister already skips system default files like dot underscore and other network protocol sidecars, but something you need control beyond that. That's now available for both macOS and Windows:

Canister for Mac Skipping
Canister for Windows Skipping

Firming Up

As the lifespan of LTO drives is pretty long, it's quite common for new Canister users to be greeted by our Preflight Checks warnings about firmware being outdated. Canister's Preflight Checks feature understands it's not just LTFS that can be updated, but that the hardware also comes with drivers that get regular updates. Where in the past LTFS wasn't that dependent on a LTO drive's firmware, the more recent updates to LTFS go hand in hand with new firmware being made available for LTO drives. macOS users were already familiar with Canister giving the heads up that an update was available, and now Windows users benefit from the same ease of use.

Figuring out the latest firmware for your LTO drive is no fun, so just like on Mac, Preflight Checks for Windows now tells you when an update is pending and where to get it.

Closing Titles

Canister 24.2 is available immediately via the in-app updater or as a direct download. It is free for licenses purchased or extended within the last 12 months. Licenses no longer eligible for this update can be extended online for $249.

The new Library Manager is available as a perpetual Canister Pro license for $699, which includes a year of updates and support. Existing licenses can be upgraded for $549.

With this release, we're also introducing a new Project License: 30 days of Canister Pro for $79. Reach out for more details and also for a free fully functional 10-day trial license.