Virtual Tape Adds Flexibility to Storage Architecture While Reducing Costs

By Michael
October 23, 2015

When it comes to archiving data, the storage medium being used dictates how fast and efficiently data can be saved and retrieved. IT staffs traditionally like to stick with one storage medium at a time, preferring the simplicity of managing a single type of platform. As storage demands grow larger and more complex, however, IT teams may no longer have the liberty to stick to a single comprehensive archiving strategy like backup storage tapes.

However, the need for an upgrade does not necessarily entail a total paradigm shift. With regard to companies used to using backup tape, virtual tape solutions offer a natural technological update without the confusion inherent to adopting unfamiliar technology. However, successfully deploying virtual tape storage requires a bit of thought and planning. Review the following considerations as your IT team weighs the advantages of modernizing its tape storage strategy.

Virtual tape libraries offers seamless transition to IT teams looking to diversify
Tape storage has continued to advance over the years, remaining relevant for enterprise applications by steadily growing in storage capacity. The upload and download speeds of hard disk drives are becoming more necessary, however, even for companies that traditionally relied exclusively on backup storage. A virtual tape library offers a perfect bridge to fill the technological gap.

That’s because virtual tape libraries are designed to store data to hard disk drives while simultaneously treating the data like information stored on backup tape, according to TechTarget. This allows the team to use its original physical tape management software, which recognizes the new virtual tape library as if it were a standard set of tape cartridges. VTLs are also a fine choice for IT teams looking for a way to merge traditional data center hardware with archived tape storage infrastructure.

Companies gain multiple advantages by making the switch to VTL
Data Center Knowledge pointed out that streamlined updates aren’t the only perk that virtual tape libraries offer companies utilizing backup tapes. Diversifying archive infrastructure with a virtual environment can also make it easier to centralize your hardware and support more types of backup products simultaneously. Virtualizing also helps IT teams to circumvent some of the limitations of backup storage, such as the need to share backup tape space between different backup applications. Virtual tape also requires less maintenance than traditional tape setups as hard disk drives are less vulnerable to interruptions and spikes in performance.

Cost-effective management of virtual systems requires dedicated resources
For IT teams interested in completely replacing their traditional tape storage with a virtual solution, there are multiple hurdles to overcome. First and foremost, a transition plan must be set in place to ensure that your business operations are unaffected. As a result, employees must undergo training and certification for the new hardware before the transition takes place to ensure reliability of the archiving process is not compromised. This task can become extremely difficult without in-house expertise or a new set of tools provided by software.

Once the entire team is up to speed, you’ll need a comprehensive data management and backup platform, like like the ClearPath Solutions suite, to keep the system under control. A robust software will provide extra help every step of the way, providing a straightforward means of transitioning data from tape to hard disk without forcing your employees to to learn new ways of organizing data archives. Once the transition is complete, your data management software can be used to automate the process while still taking advantage of the perks that make traditional backup storage so attractive.

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