This technical paper provides information on how to deploy StarWind VTL and configure the integration with Wasabi Cloud Storage.
StarWind Virtual Tape Library (VTL) is a backup storage solution that eliminates the need for physical tapes by emulating industry-standard tape hardware and keeping all data on the disks. It is designed for SMB and Enterprises that either look to get rid of physical tapes completely or are willing to accelerate the backup process and add an extra level of data protection. Even with explosive data growth, StarWind VTL fits the backup job into reasonable time-frame by accelerating it, so the process does not overlap with a production time.
This guide is intended for experienced StarWind users, Windows system administrators, and IT professionals who would like to configure StarWind Virtual Tape Library and integrate it with Wasabi Cloud Storage.
It is recommended to deploy the main components (StarWind VTL and Veeam Backup & Replication Server) in a different manner, according to specific infrastructure requirements.
This guidance describes the configuration process using the simplest setup as an example. All the components are deployed on the single standalone server.
Downloading, Installing, and Registering the Software
1. Launch the downloaded setup file on the server where StarWind VTL has to be installed. The Setup Wizard will appear.
2. Read and accept the License Agreement. Click Next to continue.
3. Read the information about new features and improvements carefully. Click Next to continue.
NOTE: The text in red indicates warnings for users who are updating existing software installations.
4. Click Browse to modify the installation path if necessary. Click Next to continue.
5. To install the StarWind VTL service along with the StarWind Virtual SAN service, enable the checkboxes as in the image below. Click Next to continue.
6. Specify the Start Menu Folder. Click Next to continue.
7. Enable the following checkbox to Create a desktop icon. Click Next to continue.
8. The Wizard will prompt a time-limited fully functional evaluation key or a FREE version key. There is also the possibility of applying a commercial license key sent with the purchase of StarWind Virtual SAN. Select the appropriate option. Click Next to continue.
9. Review the licensing information and click Next to apply the license key.
10. Verify the installation settings. Click Back to make any changes or click Install to continue.
11. Enable the appropriate checkbox to launch StarWind Management Console right after the Setup Wizard is closed. Click Finish to close the Wizard.
Configuring Virtual Tape Library
12. Launch StarWind Management Console by double-clicking the StarWind tray icon.
NOTE: If the StarWind service and Management Console are installed on the same server, the Management Console will automatically add the local StarWind instance to the Console tree after the first launch. Then, the Management Console automatically connects to it using the default credentials. To add remote StarWind servers to the Console, use the Add Server button on the control panel.
13. StarWind Management Console will ask to specify the default storage pool on the server when connecting to for the first time. Please, configure the default storage pool to use one of the volumes prepared as the StarWind storage earlier. All the devices created through the Add Device Wizard will be stored on that storage pool by default. In case of deciding to use an alternative storage path for the StarWind virtual disks, please use the Add Device (advanced) menu item.
14. Press the Yes button to configure the storage pool. If there is a need to change the storage pool destination, press Choose path… and point the browser to the necessary disk.
15. Select the StarWind server where the device needs to be created.
16. Press the Add VTL Device button on the toolbar.
17. Specify the Virtual Tape Library Location in the appeared window and click Next.
18. Select the Device Model from a drop-down list. It is also possible to fill all slots in the Tape Library newly created with empty tapes. Click Next to continue.
19. Provide Target Alias or choose the default one. Click Next.
20. Press the Create button to start the creation process.
21. Once the device creation is completed, click Close.
22. Once the VTL device is created, the tapes can be added. To do this, select the VTL device and click the Create Tape button located in the Tapes section.
23. The Create Tape Wizard will appear. Optionally, specify the custom path where the tape files must be stored. Click Next to continue.
24. Specify the Number of Tapes, Tape Type, and other parameters and click the Create button.
25. The tape created appears in the first slot of the VTL device in StarWind Management Console.
NOTE: Other tapes can be created and added if required.
Getting Account ID and Application Key in Wasabi Cloud Storage
26. Sing up to Wasabi Cloud Storage using the following link:
27. In the left-side menu of the Wasabi console, go to Access Keys and click on Create New Access Key.
28. Press DOWNLOAD CSV or COPY KEYS TO CLIPBOARD to save the values.
NOTE: Make sure the keys are saved, as it is not possible to view the Secret Key once again after pressing the Close button.
Creating Wasabi Cloud Storage Bucket
29. To create a Wasabi Cloud Storage Bucket, open the Buckets section and click the CREATE BUCKET button.
30. Specify the Bucket Name and click the Create Bucket button.
31. To enable the replication between StarWind and Wasabi Cloud Storage, navigate to the VTL device and click Cloud Replication…
32. Choose Wasabi Cloud Storage and click Next.
33. In the Setup Replication Settings window, specify Access Key ID, Secret Access Key, Bucket Name and select the region the bucket was created in. Press the Next button.
34. Specify Tape File Retention Settings and click Apply. It is also possible to select Create new empty tapes automatically when the existing tape is exported for replication.
The automatic tape replication to Wasabi Cloud Storage is successfully configured according to the retention policy specified above.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is necessary to configure the Retention Settings according to specific corporate RTO and RPO requirements.
Mounting VTL on the backup host
To pass-through the VTL device to the Veeam Backup and Replication Server, the corresponding VTL iSCSI target should be mounted first. Since all components (Veeam B&R Server and StarWind VTL) are deployed and configured within a single standalone server, the tape library iSCSI target, in this example, will be mounted locally as well.
35. Open Microsoft iSCSI Initiator, navigate to the Discovery tab, and press the Discover Portal… button.
36. Enter the localhost address (127.0.0.1) and press the Advanced… button.
37. Select Microsoft iSCSI Initiator from the Local Adapter drop-down list and press OK.
38. Navigate to the Targets tab, find the iSCSI target which corresponds to StarWind VTL device, and press the Connect button.
39. Skip the Enable Multipath option and press the Advanced… button.
40. Set Local adapter as Microsoft iSCSI Initiator, specify 127.0.0.1 / 3260 as Target portal IP and double-click the OK button to complete the target connection.
NOTE: The VTL iSCSI target is shown as Connected in the list.
Installing tape library drivers
It’s recommended to install the latest update driver from HP. The driver for HP MSL8096 can be downloaded here: HPE StoreEver Tape Drivers for Microsoft Windows. The current version that supports Windows Server 2016 is 22.214.171.124. HP drivers must be installed on the host (localhost in this example) where StarWind VTL device is mounted via iSCSI.
41. Extract the downloaded driver and launch cpqsetup.exe.
42. Select All and click Install.
43. Once the drivers are installed, the Medium Changer devices are shown as Hewlett Packard Enterprise LTO Ultrium-8 drive.
The tape library is ready to be added to Veeam B&R.
Adding StarWind VTL device to Veeam B&R Tape Infrastructure
44. Open the Veeam Backup & Replication console. Open the Tape Infrastructure tab.
45. Open the Add Tape Server Wizard. Choose the local server and press Next.
46. Complete the Wizard and press the Finish button.
47. After the Tape Inventory job is finished, the newly added tape library device will appear.
Configuring File to Tape job with an automatic offload to Wasabi Cloud Storage
48. Navigate to the Home tab, press the Backup Files button, specify the job name/description in the appeared window, and press Next.
49. Choose files to be backed up and press Next.
50. Press Add New… to add the new Media Pool.
51. The New Media Pool Wizard will appear. Specify the name and description of the new Media Pool and click Next.
52. Add existing tape(s) to the Media Pool, click OK and Next to select the tapes. Then press Next.
53. Specify the Media Set name, configure additional settings if necessary, and click Next.
54. Specify the preferred retention settings if necessary and press Next.
55. Specify the additional options if necessary and click the Apply button.
56. Review the Summary and press Finish.
57. Move back to the New File to Tape Job Wizard and press Next to continue.
58. Configure the Incremental Backup schedule if necessary. Choose the same Media Pool or add the new Media Pool for the incremental backups. Click Next to proceed.
59. Specify the additional settings and check the Export current media set upon job completion to allow the automatic tape offload to Wasabi Cloud Storage after backup job is completed. It is also recommended to Eject media upon job completion. Click Apply to proceed.
60. Enable the Run the job when I click Finish option if the backup job needs to be run right away.
61. Under Files, select Jobs and double-click on the job name in the right pane. The below popup will be opened representing the job progress.
62. After the job is finished, the tape is automatically ejected, exported, and marked as Offline according to job settings configured above.
63. Since the tape was automatically exported upon job completion and StarWind VTL Replication policy was set to Replicate Immediately, the replication process to Wasabi Cloud Storage has started automatically. The progress can be checked in StarWind Management Console using the Offline Shelf overview.
NOTE: The tape can be kept in its tape library slot upon backup job completion and offloaded to Wasabi Cloud Storage later. In order to achieve this, use the disable Export current media set upon job completion and Eject media upon job completion options in File to Tape Job settings using the Veeam B&R console.
After the backup job is finished, in the Veeam B&R console, navigate to Tape Infrastructure –>Libraries -> Media –>Online – choose the tape to upload, right-click it, and press Export. The tape will be automatically offloaded to Wasabi Cloud Storage according to the specified Retention Settings of StarWind VTL.
64. When the tape is successfully uploaded to the cloud, the tape location status in Offline Shelf overview will be changed to “Cloud = Yes”.
65. The tape is now located in Wasabi Cloud Storage according to the StarWind VTL retention settings.
66. If the local copy of the tape is not removed after replication, but already moved to Offline Shelf, it can be inserted back into the library by clicking on the Insert button.
Restoring tapes from Wasabi Cloud Storage
After the time specified in the StarWind VTL retention settings, the local copy of the tape will be deleted, but the tape can be restored from the Cloud. In this case, information about the tape is located in the local database.
67. To restore the tape from the Cloud, open StarWind Management Console and choose the VTL device.
68. Click on the Restore from Cloud… option. The corresponding Wizard will appear.
69. Identify the tape using its barcode. Select the tape, keep Restore tape from cloud to local storage enabled and press the Restore button.
70. The download progress can be checked in the Offline Shelf overview. When the download is completed, the tape location status in Offline Shelf overview will be changed to “Local = Yes”/“Cloud = Yes”.
Disaster recovery of tapes from Wasabi Cloud Storage
For the cases when the VTL server failed due to a disaster and there is no local database, the tapes can be easily recovered from the Cloud.
To complete this operation, use any existing StarWind server with appropriate license installed or, alternatively, the new instance of StarWind VSAN can be installed as it is specified in the Downloading, Installing, and Registering the Software section.
71. Open StarWind Management Console and select the StarWind server where the device needs to be created.
72. Press the Add VTL Device button on the toolbar.
73. Complete the StarWind VTL device creation according to the instructions in the Configuring Virtual Tape Library section and add it to Veeam B&R Tape Infrastructure following the steps specified above in this document.
74. Once the device is created, click the Cloud Replication… button and configure the replication to the Cloud as it is specified in the Configuring Replication section.
75. To restore tapes from the Cloud, click on the Restore from Cloud… button.
76. In the popup window, select the Browse Cloud for Tapes option and the tape which should be restored from the Cloud and click the Restore button.
77. The selected tape will appear in Offline Shelf where download progress can be checked.
78. When the download is completed, the tape location status in the Offline Shelf overview will be changed to “Local = Yes”/“Cloud = Yes”.
79. Once the tape is downloaded to the Offline Shelf section, select it there and press the Insert button to insert the tape into the tape library.
80. Now, the tape is located in the tape library.
81. In the Veeam B&R console, navigate to Tape Infrastructure, right-click the tape library device, and choose the Catalog Library option.
82. After сataloging is finished, the tape is inserted into a free drive slot.
83. Use the “Restore File” Wizard to restore data from the tape.
Implementing disk to cloud backups offers an additional level of data protection and availability for backup sets. StarWind VTL moves backup sets to Wasabi Cloud Storage and thereby makes them available offsite. Thus, it ensures quick and easy transportation of backups and provides a company with a resilient disaster recovery strategy.