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Continued growth
Few analysts or vendors see VTLs replacing actual tape libraries anytime soon. But enterprise-class VTLs are an increasingly cost-effective place for data that needs to be backed up or restored quickly, and isn't quite ready for offsite archiving. VTLs will only grow more popular as customers' data storage needs grow, backup windows shrink, and as regulators or lawyers insist that critical data be ready for quick access.

VTL vendors need to add new features to their software so that they, and not backup applications, "are in the driver's seat when it comes to managing data in the backup process," says ESG's Whitehouse. To meet this challenge, expect VTL vendors to aggressively increase their data capacities by using higher capacity disks that are more energy efficient; also look for the universal adoption of deduplication, as well as features such as disk spin-down to reduce power and cooling costs.

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This was first published in August 2008

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