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Some vendors are providing workarounds to these problems. The simplest method might be found in Copan Systems Inc.'s Revolution 300T/TX, which stores the most recent backup in native backup format with no compression or deduplication. While the Revolution 300T/TX supports compression and deduplication, it performs these functions after the backup is complete or post-backup at a time scheduled by the admin. This avoids the need to reconstruct the data in its native format when copying it to tape, although firms will need sufficient storage on the Revolution 300T/TX to keep an entire backup of all of their data in native format.
Most firms aren't encountering problems with encryption when copying data from disk to tape because encryption is primarily used just prior to moving data offsite. In that scenario, either the backup software or the tape drive encrypts the data just as it's stored to tape. While most VTLs offer encryption as an option, "A practical use case for encrypting data on a widespread basis in the VTL has not yet been made," says EMC's Krone.
As disk assumes a larger role in backup, tape remains a part of most data protection operations. While some VTL vendors have taken measures to incorporate tape management into their product, in the near term, give priority to products that integrate backup software with their VTLs such as EMC's DL6000
| for the large enterprise, and Quantum's DXi7500 and Spectra Logic's nTier for SMBs. But the recent emergence of virtual tape directors like Gresham Enterprise's Clareti VTL and Fujitsu's CentricStor offer a compelling alternative as virtual tape directors let you introduce disk into their backup, use their existing physical tape libraries and let their backup software manage it all.
This was first published in December 2007