Five Reasons IBM i Shops Are Considering VTL Solutions

Laurie LeBlanc, iTech
By Laurie LeBlanc

It’s plain and simple. You must execute backups daily. No excuses!  It’s not just about being able to recover in a disaster; you also need to be able to recover a file that is accidentally overwritten or deleted.

If you have high availability and you think you don’t need to back up every day, you really should reconsider your strategy.  Replication ensures that your target and source data are in sync, but if you delete a record or several records you need, you can’t get them back with replication.  Backups protect your business data, which is a valuable asset.

Many IBM i shops use tape as their medium for backups and this is a good solution.  However, for some companies, it makes sense to consider moving from physical tape to a Virtual Tape Library.  A Virtual Tape Library looks like a tape drive hooked to your IBM i, but it’s disk, which means it’s faster and easier to manage.  Let’s look at the five most common reasons why companies are considering VTL solutions over tape backup.

[Watch the VTL Webcast with Cybernetics]

#1 – Shrink your backup windows

Time is of the essence,  and the business is asking you to reduce downtime windows.   We all already agreed that you have to do a backup, so that’s not an option.  You can always invest in a faster tape drive, and a faster Power System to be able to shrink the backup windows or you can invest in a VTL which significantly reduces your backup windows.  Our customers see a significant reduction in the backup window with VTL’s.

#2 – Reduce tape handling

To use tape, you have to handle that tape.  Someone needs to take the tapes out of the tape drive and take them offsite.  Whether that is someone in your office who does it or you pay a service which handles it, you are paying for tape handing today.

VTL’s eliminate tape handling with the use of replication.  The replication is what ensures that your tapes are also offsite in a second location, which is how you truly protect your data.  Which leads right into the next reason.

#3 – Replicate your backups offsite

If your backups are not stored offsite, then you are exposed.  If your building were on fire, you would have no way to access your backups to restore your environment, which is why tape handling is an issue.  VTL’s can replicate between two units.  The replication is automatic and is an easy way to get your backups offsite.

What’s even better is having deduplication with your VTL, which increases the speed of your replication and reduces the amount of space you need on your VTL.  Since the VTL only needs to send the changed objects the amount of time it takes to replicate is reduced and this also reduces the amount of space you need on the target. Unlike tape, you don’t have 52 copies of the same file each week.  You have one copy and the changes for each week, which are much smaller units.

#4 –Encrypt your backups

Compliance is impacting more and more companies.  As a result, more companies need to encrypt their backups to comply.  Implementing tape encryption can be more difficult and time-consuming than using a VTL device.  There is no need to use SKLM unlike tape, which requires software to encrypt.  The device can encrypt the backups at rest and also encrypt any media you create.  This approach simplifies the process of being able to encrypt your backups.

#5 – Reduce the time it takes to restore data

The reason why we do backups is in case we need to restore data.  It happens all the time; someone accidently deletes a critical file or record, and you have to scramble to get it restored.  The amount of time it can take to restore a file can be longer than a user is willing to wait.  With a VTL, you can restore your system in a fraction of the time.

Want to learn more about VTL’s and what they offer?

We did a recent webcast with Cybernetics on their VTL solution which you can access here, as well as a podcast episode discussing the topic.

virtual tape library webinar

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