Backup process is an inevitable part of the disaster recovery plan in any company that complies with regulatory data archival and retention requirements. In traditional infrastructures, critical data is transported off-site using removable storage media such as magnetic tapes. In the virtualized infrastructures, backup is possible with the virtual tapes and specific backup software. This technical paper provides the detailed instructions on how to deploy StarWind Virtual Tape Library (VTL), the data storage virtualization technology that emulates industry-standard tape hardware, together with Veritas Backup Exec™ to manage and accelerate the backup process.
StarWind VTL eliminates any need in physical tapes and guarantees the data protection as the virtual tapes are ransomware-resilient. Therefore, this technology would be the right choice for SMBs and Enterprises that plan to shift from the physical tapes and get to the next level of the data protection.
StarWind VTL would be ideal for those who want to accelerate the backup process. When the backup window must be shrunk to avoid the production time overlap, StarWind VTL together with Veritas Backup Exec™ comes as the solution that speeds up the backup process.
This guide is intended for the experienced StarWind users, system administrators, and IT professionals who would like to configure StarWind VTL. This technical paper provides the detailed information on how to deploy StarWind VTL, create VTL devices that will run on top of Windows Server 2016 and add them to Veritas Backup Exec™ to accelerate the backup process.
Simple configuration diagram
This guide assumes that StarWind Virtual Tape Library (VTL) and Veritas Backup Exec™ are installed on different servers which are connected to the same network (192.168.12.x). It is recommended to configure a separate dedicated network channel for backups to achieve the required performance. As an option, both applications can be installed on the same server.
Creating a Virtual Tape Library
1. Install StarWind VSAN on the server by following the steps specified in this guide:
2. Launch StarWind Management Console by double-clicking on the corresponding icon in the tray.
NOTE: To add StarWind server to the console, use the Add Server button on the control panel.
3. StarWind Management Console will ask to specify the default storage pool on the server. Please, configure the default storage pool to use one of the volumes previously prepared as a StarWind storage. All the devices will be stored on that storage pool by default.
4. Click Yes to configure the storage pool. Click Choose path… to change the storage pool destination.
5. Select the StarWind server where the device will be created, then click Add VTL Device on the toolbar.
6. In the Add Device Wizard window, specify Name and Location of the new Virtual Tape Library. Click Next to continue.
7. Select Device Model from the drop-down list. In this document, HP MSL8096 device is used. By default, the newly created Tape Library has slots filled by empty tapes. To create a Tape Library without tapes, tick the appropriate checkbox. Click Next to continue.
NOTE: Tapes could be added manually later after the creation of Virtual Tape Library.
8. Specify Target Alias or select the default one, uncheck Allow multiple iSCSI connections and click Next.
9. Click Create to start the creation process.
10. Once the creation is completed, click Close.
11. Once the VTL device is created, the tapes can be added. To do this, select VTL device and click Create Tape in the Tapes section.
12. Enter the path to the tape files location if required and click Next.
13. Specify the Number of Tapes, Tape Type, and other parameters. Click Create to proceed.
NOTE: It is possible to select LTO-4 (800GB) or LTO-5 (1500GB) tape as an option. Also, it is possible to customize the tape size according to the environment needs.
14. The newly created tape appears in the first slot of the VTL device in StarWind Management Console.
Mounting VTL on the backup server
To pass the VTL device to the Veritas Backup Exec™ server, the corresponding VTL iSCSI target should be discovered and connected first. In this document, Veritas Backup Exec™ server has 192.168.12.231 IP address, while the server with StarWind VTL device has 192.168.12.237 IP address.
15. Open Microsoft iSCSI Initiator on the Veritas Backup Exec™ server, navigate to the Discovery tab, and click Discover Portal.
16. Enter the IP address of StarWind VTL server (192.168.12.237) and click Advanced.
17. Select Microsoft iSCSI Initiator in the Local adapter drop-down list, specify the Initiator IP address (Veritas Backup Exec™ IP address) and press OK twice to complete the discovery.
18. The newly added Discovery Portal must appear in the list.
19. Navigate to the Targets tab, find the iSCSI target which corresponds to the StarWind VTL device, click Connect.
20. Uncheck Enable multi-path option and click on the Advanced button.
21. Set the Local adapter as Microsoft iSCSI Initiator, specify the Initiator IP address (Veritas Backup Exec™ address) and the Target portal IP address (StarWind VTL server address). Click OK twice to complete the connection.
22. VTL iSCSI target should be in Connected status as shown in the screenshot below. Click OK to continue.
Installing tape library drivers
It is 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 126.96.36.199. HP drivers must be installed on the host where the StarWind VTL device is mounted via iSCSI. In this document – on Veritas Backup Exec™ server.
23. Extract the downloaded driver and launch cpqsetup.exe.
24. Click Install.
25. Select all drivers types. Click Install.
26. Once the drivers are installed, Medium Changer device will be shown as Hewlett Packard MSL G3 Series library (x64 based).
Now, the tape library can be added to Veritas Backup Exec™.
Adding StarWind VTL device to Veritas Backup Exec™
27. Install Veritas Backup Exec™ by following the instructions provided in Veritas Backup Exec™ Administrator’s guide:
28. Open Veritas Backup Exec™.
29. In the Storage tab, click Configure Storage in the Configure group.
30. In the opened window, select Tape storage and click Next.
31. Select Run the Hot-swappable Device Wizard and click Next.
32. Follow the steps suggested by Hot-Swappable Device Wizard by clicking Next several times.
NOTE: If the tape device has not appeared in the Storage tab, initiate restart of the server.
33. Double-click Slots to scan, erase, inventory and catalog the tapes.
34. Choose the tape and perform the necessary operations.
35. Confirm the data erasure when requested.
36. The prepared tape should look like in the screenshot below.
Configuring Backup to Tape job in Veritas Backup Exec™
In this document, the backup/restore process of the folder is shown as an example.
37. In the Backups group, click on the Backup and Restore tab. Click Backup and select Back Up to Tape.
38. Configure the Backup settings and click OK.
39. Once the job is configured, click on the appropriate button to start it.
40. Click Yes to confirm the job start.
41. When the backup process starts, the progress is shown in the Status section.
42. Double-click on the server to see the details.
43. The changes in occupied storage space are displayed in the Capacity section.
Restore data from Veritas Backup Exec™
44. To restore data, click Restore in the Backup and Restore tab.
45. Select the type of data to restore and click Next.
46. Select the appropriate restore option and click Next.
47. Select files and folders to restore. Click Next.
48. In the Browse for Folder window, specify the destination folder for the restored data and click OK. Then click Next.
49. Confirm the restore location and click Next.
50. Select the settings for file integrity, hierarchy, and security for the restored data and click Next.
51. Select options for restoring operating system features and click Next.
52. Specify additional tasks to perform before and/or after a restore. Click Next.
53. Specify the restore job Name, Storage and Schedule. Click Next.
54. Check and confirm the summary. Click Finish to complete the restore job.
55. The job progress can be checked in the Backup and Restore tab.
56. To see the restoring details, double-click on the server.
57. The files are restored to the specified folder.
StarWind VTL seamlessly integrates into the existing infrastructure and brings the backup process to the next level, providing the enhanced data safety. VTL used together with Veritas Backup Exec™ speeds up the backup process significantly. As the result, less time is needed to restore, backup costs are reduced, system performance and stability are maintained.