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I would like to know if VTL is really a valid option nowadays? Is anyone here using it and why actually? Does it have any benefits compared to a regular server stuffed with SATA drives in RAID6/10?

Let me explain my curiosity: Our environment consists of 4 x DELL R730 servers powered by VMWare VSphere 6.0 + VEAAM Backup and Replication. We’ve been searching for a suitable backup solution and landed by VTL for VEEAM as proposal. We do not have any tape-related infrastructure in our environment, furthermore other guys told me it’s an old-school steampunk technology for freaks/hipsters. So I am rather scared to go that way and would like to know more.

Thank you in advance!

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Veeam can backup to iSCSI and SMB3 natively. I don't see any viable points in using VTL within your particular scenario. Just an opposite: by not implementing VTL layer you just remove one level of complexity! Probably your VAR is trying to make few extra $s up selling you something you don't really need. On your place I'd get something like Dell R730(xd?) low on CPU and RAM and throw in 8 6-8TB NL-SAS or Enterprise SATAs in RAID10. RAID6 may also work but be careful with Veeam because it does in-place updates when builds reversed snapshots and hammers I/O subsystem with tons of small writes. RAID6 is by far not the best choice here because of resulting 4x write amplification. I'd however suggest to talk to your Veeam support engineer having your exact scenario nearby.

Back to your original question people tended to buy VTLs before just to have seamless incremental upgrade of their backup infrastructure built entirely around tapes. Also regulatory requirements, say they have to use tape and they are looking forward being able to put more and more data into backup window. As you have no existing tape-aware backups and you're not tightly linked with regulatory requirements I see no points in using VTL again.

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VTL is a viable option if your LT Drive cannot cope with speed. But a VTL must be embedded in a Target backup application to give you a serious benefit. I discovered Fujitsu CS800 as very appealing: The TBA CS800 takes the backup, keeps some versions for fast restore, de-duplicates, compresses internaly and has a Tape Library connector on the other end.

Result: much less tape changes required, tape is not deduplicated, so you can read from and other system data back, and it fully integrated to Veeam. connectors: NAS Share, OST and VTL. It de-duplicates accross all channels, and this is extreme sexy. and it hanldes multiple backup streams. You can then replicate the compressed, deduplicated data to a second CS800 (up to 8 replicate to 1 ratio) and have only there a consolidated backup tape library.

I had a chance during a training to see it live working. It is like a backup black box, has a own web interface and runs on Linux embedded OS. Dedup is from Quantum licensed. With OST AIR @ Backup Exec the replicated backup shows up at target site without first read in the new file, as the catalog is directly sent to the media server on target site. finally they hold 4 full and 6 incremental backups in the box and reduced the tape activity to one write out per month. Data is stored on Raid 6 FR.

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