Tapes have been around for 65 years and are one of the longest lasting storage media. However, the technology behind magnetic tapes remains the same. The evolution of physical tapes was not disruptive and merely concentrated on increasing tape’s capacity and density. As the technology stayed the same, the pitfalls behind physical tapes also remained.
The most significant issues with magnetic tapes are deformation and dirt. Daily tape usage may cause film deformation, making the tape non-operational. Additionally, since physical tapes are often taken out, there is a chance of dirt getting into which may cause problems with reading data on the tape.
Physical tapes also have hidden costs that are typically not considered. First, the staff is needed to manage tape media, rotate tapes and reclaim unused capacity. Also, there must dedicated personnel to monitor tape backups and reset them if they fail. All of this leads to significant management costs. Second, storing lots of tapes and drives in off-site vault requires additional costs, especially for companies who need to save tapes for all their lifetime. Moreover, the process is all manual as staff needs to move around physical tapes, creating a certain degree of failure.
At VeeamON 2017, StarWind has presented its new product aimed to resolve these issues – StarWind Cloud VTL for AWS and Veeam. The idea behind the solution is not only to replace physical tapes without redesigning the customer’s entire tape-centric backup infrastructure but also to provide a fully automated replication and tiering to Amazon cloud storage. Moreover, the entire backup process is completely automated with no need to physically move tapes.
The solution replicates data to fast Amazon S3 cloud storage and provides smart de-staging to more cost-efficient Glacier. The solution delivers more flexible disaster recovery strategy by providing different options for configuring each tape job.
With StarWind Cloud VTL, companies, who rely on physical tapes infrastructure and who are required to maintain backups can easily replace their legacy tape backup infrastructure with faster, more secure and flexible virtual tape libraries.
StarWind Cloud VTL delivers full automation – no more need to move physical tapes from on-site to off-site, requiring less staff and efforts to maintain and manage the backup infrastructure.
In an infrastructure based on physical tapes, scalability is limited to the number of tapes that can be bought and maintained. On the contrary, virtual tapes infrastructure provides higher scalability by allowing to easily expand local or cloud storage as needed.