Some hardware vendors offer so-called virtual tape libraries (VTL) in their portfolio. A VTL is a server, usually run with a proprietary operating system. Those servers offer a defined amount of internal storage that they present over the network. They do this by simulating a tape library to the backup server. Most of the machines give you the possibility to define the number of virtual tape drives that are presented to your server. Besides this, many of these systems offer a possibility to deduplicate the data stored on their disks.
Fair enough. But where is the advantage for us as Backup Exec administrators? What is the benefit over a backup to disk storage or a deduplication storage created within Backup Exec?
I really can’t answer this question to you and until today, I haven’t found someone, who could.
Nevertheless, there must be a good amount of customers buying those systems, since Symantec has brought a special license into life for using virtual tape libraries, the „Virtual Tape Library Unlimited Drives Option“.
Some of the VTLs offer a possibility to run not in VTL mode but rather present their storage via an interface called “Open Storage Technology (OST)”.
This technology works great with Backup Exec and we’ve made really good experiences using OST appliances in various setups.
I’ll write about this technology at a later point.