What is our primary use case?
We were looking for physical tape backups to protect against DR situations but were concerned about the fact that it would require manual intervention, with respect to the changing of tapes and sending them offsite. This is something that we could easily forget.
Luckily, I came across Starwind VTL. This product is the same as having a physical tape library without the hassle of changing tapes. The whole process is automated and we have the option of choosing between multiple cloud storage providers such as Amazon, Wasabi, Azure, etc.
It's been six months and it has been working well without any issue. The jobs are completed within 24 hours, which meets our RTO.
In regards to the cost, we ended up saving a few thousand dollars as well, due to the high cost of the physical tape library.
How has it helped my organization?
We are using StarWind's VTL to upload virtual tapes to Amazon and Wasabi simultaneously, in addition to having local virtual tape backups via Veeam. We did not have to purchase a new backup solution, as Starwind integrates seamlessly with Veeam.
Also, by integrating with Veeam, we are able to leverage deduplication and compression features with the virtual tapes. This allows for the uploads to finish quicker, as well. Because of this, we are able to meet our disaster recovery objectives within a 24 hour period.
We also avoided the costs of a physical tape library, as well as having to need users to change tapes and schedule offsite pickups.
What is most valuable?
I like the fact that we can simultaneously upload the virtual tapes to different cloud providers, and the settings can be adjusted to speed up the upload times even further. This helps with our RPO objective, which is within 24 hours.
The cost is also much lower, as uploading to cloud storage providers such as Wasabi is very cheap. This is unlike physical tape libraries that can cost thousands of dollars in addition to tape costs.
The virtual tapes themselves are also in linear tape-open (LTO) format, which means they are air-gapped.
What needs improvement?
The main thing that I felt could be improved was having an estimated time of completion for the virtual tape uploads to the cloud.
There is no easy way to determine how long an upload took to complete without looking into the logs, which is very cumbersome. I spoke with their support and was able to add it as a feature request. Starwind VTL is in constant development and after my discussion with them, I found out that they are planning to include this feature in the next release.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using this solution for almost six months.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We did not have any previous solution for offsite backup other than file-level cloud backup such as iDrive, which didn't meet our needs.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The initial purchase already includes one year of maintenance support. The initial setup and deployment are also covered in the purchase at no additional cost.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at physical tape libraries but we soon found out the cost was much higher, and moreover, users did not want to manually change tapes.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?