IDC has predicted that the worldwide virtual tape library (VTL) market will be worth $1.4bn by 2011 and VARs are already reporting a strong increase in demand. Many firms are struggling to manage their data within backup windows and the cost of storage is rising, so there is a reason for storage resellers to revisit customers where tape libraries have been installed, to offer disk-based VTLs.
With regulatory compliance and the boom in digital communications increasing the storage burden, VTLs can help firms respond to the need for increased storage power. VTLs marry the speed and convenience of disk storage with the backwards compatibility of tape emulation. They are a straightforward sell for the channel because of the demonstrable benefits to be gained from the technology.
Any IT manager who is facing problems in meeting their backup window, or who wants to eliminate labour-intensive tasks, or who is having to deal with compliance issues, is looking for this kind of offering.
Creating a backup library built on disk rather than tape allows IT managers to perform tasks such as instant backups and instant restores that were not possible with a tape library. VTLs are quick and easy to install and they integrate seamlessly into existing environments, so the step up the technology ladder is non-disruptive and does not require old systems to be discarded.
Many organisations still depend on technologies that were developed in the early 1960s for their complex data-management processes. VTLs can bring a whole storage environment up to date, slashing restore times to seconds, improving the overall performance and cost of data storage and preparing the data for intelligent applications.
But that is just the first step. Over time VTLs can be further complemented by applications to provide useful long-term backup and recovery, replication, data de-duplication, regulatory compliance, search and instant restore, and data mining functions.
The price of disk-based storage is constantly coming down. Companies of all sizes are able to afford the benefits of VTL, so this market is ripe with opportunity for VARs that are willing to help customers understand the benefits of virtualisation.
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