Virtual Tape Library used with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2016

Published: March 2017

StarWind Virtual Tape Library is an appliance that eliminates the need for physical tapes by emulating industry-standard tape hardware, keeping all data on inexpensive, fast and high-capacity spinning disks. System Center Data Protection Manager 2016 is the latest release by Microsoft which provides a lot of improvements and new features. DPM can backup various business workloads which might be running on physical machines, Hyper-V, VMware, or in Microsoft Azure.

The guide provides detailed instructions on how to create StarWind Virtual Tape Library device that will run on top of the Windows Server 2016 and integrate with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2016.

In this guide, StarWind server running VTL device and hypervisor running VMs and DPM are connected directly, but it is possible to wire them through switches as optional.

This guide is focused on StarWind Virtual Tape Library management, and how System Center Data Protection Manager can leverage it.

The first step is creating Virtual Tape Library and virtual tape itself using StarWind Management Console.

Using Microsoft iSCSI initiator StarWind server with VTL created must be connected and tape drivers downloaded and installed using Device Manager.

Further, DPM automatically detects tape devices that are attached to it. After identification, the tapes will be available and marked as “Free”.

Next step is the configuration of protection group for DPM. In DPM Management Console the Protection Group Type and data to protect can be chosen.

DPM 2016 provides two protection methods:

  • Short-term protection (Disk / Tape);
  • Long-term protection (Tape).

and three additional steps to complete:

  • Specify short-term goals;
  • Specify long-term goals;
  • Select library and tape details.
  • After completing these steps the Group is created.

Next section provides instruction to recover protected data from tape. Using the DPM console, the data source and time for the restoration can be chosen. DPM offers four Recovery Types:

  • Recover to original instance
  • Recover as virtual machine to any host (Only available if you are restoring a VM)
  • Copy to a network folder
  • Copy to tape

This guide shows how to recover as virtual machine to any host.

After specifying destination and recovery options, the recovery can be started.

Next, to copy protected data to tape, in the DPM console the data source and time for the recovery must be chosen. Further, Recovery Type (Copy to tape) and tape library must be specified. After this, copying can be started.

Next section shows how to optimize tape usage for DPM.

To enable co-location for protected workloads on tapes, first, new sets of tape optimization must be created using DPM console and then protection groups must be associated to the set.

By default, a tape is erased by using System Center Data Protection Manager, it performs a long erase, but a short erase can be configured in the registry editor.

Finally, the DPM offers two different tape reports:

  • Tape Management
  • Tape Utilization

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