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Virtualized tape library – the answer to business continuity? Part 2

In the first part of this article we covered what Virtualization is, how a virtualized tape library works in theory and what storage concepts are implemented. Now we get in more detail and answer the question how a data recovery on such a system is conducted.

Make it flow

Operationally, the environment does not change and the scheduled backups still happen as they have already been setup. The hardware and software setup may require some installation depending on the equipment installed, with connectivity details, (IP, SCSI, iSCSI, Fibre Channel) dependent on the topography of the network.

With more setup and configuration a more dynamic, a fault-tolerant solution can be installed—all without the overhead, media cost, and tape recycling schedules.

The image below represents one example of a VTL configuration. What exactly does virtualization bring to this configuration? Virtualization has the potential to remove tape media from the topography completely.


As mentioned previously, products are available that can create multiple virtual libraries or tape machines. The advantage is that multiple backups can be running from different servers all into the same storage pool. This storage can perform a less rigorous backup to tape, or another VTL. This second level VTL can be slower disk storage and function as an ongoing backup of the first level backup. Easy availability of products to facilitate creation of VTL environments along with affordable technology has made the dual backup process with different schedules possible.

Data recovery of VTL storage

Today’s compliance and regulatory laws are requiring organizations to ensure ‘data availability.’ You won’t get an understanding nod from an auditor by saying, “The server you wanted to look at has just failed.” What happens when there is a failure on the storage array that is hosting your first level or second level backup data?

All is not lost! A professional data recovery company can rebuild and extract the data from storage arrays that are used in VTL systems, focusing on the data contained within the tape archive files post-extraction. Today’s complex archiving software will store the target files with a high compression ratio and internal cataloging method.


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