Is there still a place for VTL in the big data era?

As the price of the disc storage capacity drops and everybody is talking about the cloud, someone would think that the time of VTL (Virtual Tape Library) is over. But it is not. In fact it is becoming more mainstream.

The tape is still here

Most of the IT managers have already migrated some or all of their backup from tape to disk and 20% have even virtualized the storage. But tape is still the last line of defence of the data. Especially for midsize organizations and enterprises.

Here is an example. 0n 27.02.2011 0,02% of Gmail users found their mailboxes empty. During a software update an unexpected bug had affected several copies of the data in the datacenters, and some mails have been deleted. Imagine if by any chance that had happened to you and you had lost the most important message in your life. It took the team 3 days to restore the whole data from tapes and to get Gmail back to normal.

The storage virtualization with VTL increases performance of both backup and recover operations. The benefits of the virtual over real tape libraries are many and for organizations with tape legacy VTL is still more comfortable solution than to re-design the backup architecture from scratch.

Disaster recovery

Considering disaster recovery VTL has strong advantages over NAS, even without real tapes in the equation. Using VTL for deduplication of the large volume of data, combined with compression, allows the business-critical data to be cost-effectively relocated to a remote datacenter – even between continents. And when needed – restored fast. The option for encryption and encryption at rest that comes with VTL is a serious benefit in terms of data security.

When searching for the most cost effective backup-archiving-restore solution, it is important to think not only about the price of the storage capacity. The response time, the number of I/O operations per second, the floor space needed for the storage rack, the energy consumption, the communication, and other factors participate in the formation of long term TCO (total cost of ownership).

VTL as a technology is itself affected by the dropping prices of hardware, and thus becomes accessible to more companies and organizations – not only banks and enterprises.

Of course every use case is different as is the best solution for each situation.  However the only way to ensure security, performance and efficiency is to combine different backup-methods.

One thing is sure – it is too early to take VTL out of the game.

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