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Gen2 virtual tape libraries: Hot Spots

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From disaster recovery to capacity optimization and dedupe, the next phase of VTLs promises major change.


When virtual tape libraries (VTLs) emerged several years ago, they improved how backup applications wrote data to disk. Tape-centric backup applications understood how to communicate with and manage tape devices, and then write data in tape format. VTL vendors that launched those initial solutions were focused mostly on developing the emulations for popular Fibre Channel (FC) tape libraries; proving compatibility with leading backup apps; ensuring that the VTL wasn't a single point of failure in the backup process; and figuring out how to get virtual tape copies easily offsite for disaster recovery (DR) purposes. VTL vendors masked any complexity by packaging their solution as a purpose-built appliance and partnering with disk vendors to deliver turnkey solutions.

Disk-based backup continues to evolve as adoption increases and new requirements are uncovered. Here's a snapshot of user adoption from Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG): Among organizations employing backup to disk, 32% use VTL technology. VTL adoption is greatest among enterprise-class organizations with more than 1,000 employees. Specifically, 45% of enterprise-class organizations surveyed have implemented VTL solutions and another 33% plan to implement the technology within 24 months vs. 21%

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of small- and medium-sized businesses that have implemented VTLs and 31% that plan to.

As VTLs have moved from early adopters to mainstream users, the stakes have changed. Ease of deployment and use, improved backup performance and reduced physical tape media management issues are basic requirements today. VTL vendors now need to accommodate the more advanced needs of mainstream users and adapt to the changing climate.


This was first published in September 2008

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