Definition

virtual tape library (VTL)

Contributor(s): Sarah Wilson

A virtual tape library (VTL) is a storage system consisting of hard disk drives (HDDs) that looks and acts like a physical tape library. 

VTLs are typically used for backup and data archiving purposes. The array of disks is presented to the backup software as tape. Data is written sequentially, just as it would be as if it were being written to rotating tape, but can be written and read more quickly because disk is the underlying media. In addition to providing faster backup and recovery times, VTLs are scalable, can reduce operating costs and are compatible with other storage features such as deduplication.

Both virtual tape libraries and disk-to-disk backups are frequently packaged together with data deduplication. The difference between the two disk-based backup technologies is that while a VTL has additional technologies in it to emulate the physical actions of tape, a disk-to-disk backup platform acts as a network-attached storage (NAS) device that can be mounted with a storage of backups. Both will typically attach to a backup media server and be managed by that media server.

This was last updated in April 2014

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