Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Tape Library

In the past few years, there has been no innovation in the IT industry that can match the countless benefits of virtualization. Many people mistake virtualization for its components such as virtual machines, hypervisors or OS based implementations but virtualization is much more than that. Virtualization is now an industry of its own and companies are rapidly adopting technologies, strategies, and capabilities of this revolutionary technology in order to refine their processes. In simple terms, it is the science of creating a virtual fully functional instance of a physical entity that can either be a server, network or even a storage device. Virtual tape libraries (VTL) are also part of the virtualization umbrella and in this post, we will talk about what are VTLs, their performance and cost. So, without any delay, let us begin.

What is Virtual Tape Library (VTL)?

A virtual tape library (VTL) is a data storage virtualization technology that is used for the purposes of data backup, archiving and recovery. The backup software is provided with a tape in the form of an array of disks. The data on the tape is sequentially written as if it were a rotating tape. VTLs rival the magnetic tapes and data formats with additional features and benefits. The virtual tape library is scalable and faster in recovery time as well as backup creation. With the fast speed of virtual tape libraries, issues related to data streaming, caused by slow speed data transfers via tape drives, can be avoided altogether. They are fully compatible with sophisticated storage features e.g. deduplication and can greatly reduce OpEx related expenses. Disk drives that can be removed physically are not under this technology because in VTL the powered drives and data sources are always connected to each other. This makes physical removal of the drives impossible as the disks can suffer great damage if there is any sort of fluctuation in the electricity. This makes storage to a safe location not possible even in the case of a disastrous event.

Performance of a Virtual Tape Library

The backup speed of a virtual tape library is ten times more than the conventional tape speed. By speeding up the backup process with VTLs, the server availability can be increased greatly and backups of the second tier and third tier servers can also be scheduled easily. VTLs also provide significantly speedy data recoveries. A virtual tape library can recover a file faster than the time traditional tape libraries require for locating and loading of a tape. Multiple tapes based full backups are also recovered at an extremely slow pace as compared to a VTL. In normal tape libraries data of one tape is located, loaded and read one by one whereas in case of VTL all this process is skipped and data is streamed directly from the disk as all the loads are immediate in VTLs. Majority of the virtual tape libraries have storage that is RAID protected which is one of the reasons why backups or recoveries that use VTL never experience any failure because of lost or corrupt tape. VTLs are free from traditional tape library failures.

Cost of a Virtual Tape Library

The cost of a traditional library can be lower than that of a VTL in the beginning but if the cost of ownership is taken into account over a time period of three to five years then virtual tape libraries prove to be a cost-efficient option.


So, this was our take on virtual tape library and its general overview. If you are interested in deploying this cost-effective virtualization technology in your company then we would recommend StarWind Virtual Tape Library. StarWind VTL is the perfect replacement for expensive tape related backup processes. It comes with ransomware resistant virtual tapes that provide the necessary security to your backup data. It can replicate the backups on public clouds for optimum efficiency and is flexible in scalability.