A Virtual Storage for Backup and Data Retrieval- Virtual Tape Libraries


A Virtual Tape Library (VTL) is a collection of hard disk drives to provide a huge amount of storage for backing up and archiving important data. With the advancement in the performance of storage devices, the issues related to data backup got resolved to a great extent but the data retrieval from storage devices was still a problem before the invention of virtual tape libraries. In the following article, we will try to explain the working of virtual tape libraries, their comparison with the regular tap libraries by stating their pros and cons and then finally we will discuss a little bit about StarWind Virtual Tape Library. Let us proceed towards our explanation.

Working of Virtual Tape Libraries:                                    

A virtual tape library appears as a regular tape to the backup software and the data is stored on it sequentially. However, at the time of retrieval, unlike the magnetic tapes, the data is read very quickly since the actual storage medium is not a tape rather it is a hard disk, which spins much faster than a regular tape. Furthermore, this stored data can also be replicated to cloud storage to avoid single point of failure. The performance of virtual tape libraries is better than the regular physical tape libraries because at the time of backup, data can be written on any location by referencing it directly whereas when we want to retrieve it, we can do so at a very fast rate because of the spinning hard disk.

Pros of Virtual Tape Libraries:

The advantages of virtual tape libraries are listed below:

➢    Fast data retrieval rate

➢    High scalability

➢    Reduced operating cost

➢    Compatibility with the storage features like deduplication

➢    Greater reliability

➢    Easy to manage

➢    Less power consumption

Cons of Virtual Tape Libraries:

The disadvantages of virtual tape libraries are listed below:

➢    No backup software integration in first generation virtual tape libraries

➢    Disks are sensitive to magnetic field

➢    Restricted choice of software and hardware

StarWind Virtual Tape Library:              

The main problem with the ordinary VTLs was that they were very costly and not every company could afford them especially, the startups. To resolve this issue, StarWind has introduced StarWind Virtual Tape Library, which eliminates the need of purchasing costly backup devices. The detailed working steps of StarWind VTL are shown below:

  1. Primary Data -> StarWind VTL
  2. StarWind VTL-> Object Storage
  3. StarWind VTL-> Public Cloud
  4. Cloud # 1-> Cloud # 2

StarWind virtual tape library offers the following two versions:

➢    Freemium– This version is there for the system administrators who want to maintain their backup infrastructure on their own. For such a usage, StarWind provides this free version of its VTL with unrestricted features.

➢    Commercial Version– It is the paid version of StarWind VTL and is used if the data that you want to store is important and you want to receive regular updates about your device.

Depending on the features available, StarWind virtual tape libraries can be divided into the following six categories:

●      StarWind VTL Free

●      StarWind VTL

●      StarWind Cloud VTL for AWS and VEEAM

●      StarWind VTL Appliance

●      VEEAM Availability Suite

●      AWS Storage Gateway

The main features of StarWind virtual tape library are: Object storage support, scale up and scale out, StarWind web based management, deduplication and compression, cloud storage support.