pros & cons of VTLS

Preston, W. Curtis
April 2005
Storage Magazine;Apr2005, Vol. 4 Issue 2, p32
This paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of using virtual tape libraries (VTL) as a backup approach. If the VTL needs to be expanded, one simply connect the additional storage, tell the VTL it is there and the VTL will automatically begin using the new storage. Another important management advantage of VTL is how easy it is to share VTL among multiple servers and applications. Because a VTL treats disk like tape, it eliminates fragmentation by writing backups to contiguous sections of disk. The disadvantage of VTL most cited by storage administrations is cost. Disk-as-disk units fall into roughly the same price range, so it is basically a misconception that a VTL will always cost more than a disk-as-disk device. Another issue is the price of backup software licensing. If a VTL sits next to an existing tape library, it will most likely require an additional tape library license for a library that is actually not there. VTL offering compression use in-band software compression that saves space, but results in a significant performance hit--as much as 50 percent. The tape-to-tape copy method allows the backup software to control the copy process, therefore integrating the copy process into normal reporting procedures. Another potential problem arises if the VTL puts more data on the virtual tape than can fit on the physical tape, preventing creation of a physical copy of the tape. INSETS: Should a virtual tape library be shared?;NetBackup's inline tape copy;Do IBM Tivoli Storage Manager users need a VTL?;EMC/Legato's NetWorker understands disk, too


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