Deploying your free VTL for testing

Sometimes you run test backups to different mediums before you decide which backup product to buy? And sometimes you want to test that your chosen backup product will integrate with Virtual Tape Libraries (VTL)? Is there a free VTL that you can use in your lab to easily accomplish these tasks and more? The answer is YES

Introduction

On this blog post, I will take you through the deployment and configuration of a free VTL from StarWind.  I used the StarWind VTL Free in my lab to demonstrate the Veeam backup product integration with Tape and Tape Libraries. Veeam will soon offer VTL as a Service for Service Providers; but more about that on a future blog post.

When I started writing this blog, I intended to demonstrate another free VTL product, called Quadstor; but issues with a kernel presented some challenges with the deployment and Quadstor support working hard with me to solve this issue (Please note, the issue related to my envirument only). I did some more research and switched to StarWind VTL Free. The free VTL products that I use in my lab are:

The first two free VTL products are Linux based, and of these, my preference is the Quadstor. I have had more experience with it, and like mhVTL, it offers emulation of many tape libraries from well known vendors such as HP, IBM and more, and the configuration is very easy to follow.

The third product, StarWind VTL Free, is an MS Windows based product, and after a quick registration, you will receive an email with all the details for download, deployment instructions, and additional instructions to use the license key. To my surprise, the deployment is very easy to follow and most importantly, it runs on an MS Windows OS.

Deployment

After downloading the StarWind VTL Free, run the setup file and follow the setup wizard. Keep the default selected components:

Configure the Library

The setup will take approximately five minutes to complete. When it is complete, run the StarWind Management Console and add the local server:

And connect

And start the configuration by pressing YES to configure the storage pool:

Next, select the Add Device (advanced) from the top menu; then select the Tape Device radio button for type:

Virtual Tape

Next, select Virtual Tape:

Virtual Tape Library Location

Next, select Virtual Tape Library Location.  In my lab, I added a VMDK file to the VTL server and mounted it as V: Drive to use it to host my VTL file images. (Remember this V:Drive, you will come back to it down the page):

The configuration process can create the Tape media automatically; but, as I have a restricted space of 200 GB to use for my testing, I will uncheck the tickbox for Fill Storage Slots with Empty Tapes after Create:

Last, I will configure the iSCSi Target Parameters to be used to connect to the newly created VTL Server.  The option to Create Tape is on the following screens, after a little more configuration:

Create Tape

On the steps I have just completed, I chose not to create the empty Virtual Tapes. Now our library is created, but I must add some tapes to it. As I configured only 200 GB to be used to store my virtual tape images, I will configure each virtual tape as a 20 GB tape. This configuration will give me 10 virtual tapes, enough tapes and size for testing. To create the tapes, all that is required is to Create Tape:

Then, select the folder, the previously configured V: drive, and then specify the Number of Tapes and their size. Select the Tape Type from the drop down menu:

That is all it takes to deploy the StarWind VTL Free. Now we have to connect it to our Veeam Server.

Connect to the StarWind VTL Free

Run the iSCSi Initiator configuration (run – iscsicpl) and then connect to the VTL server:

Then from the device manager, install the tape library driver. You can download the tape library driver from this link: HPE StoreEver Tape Drivers for Microsoft Windows

Summary

Well, by following those steps, you will be able to deploy a local StarWind VTL Free for testing and learning. The good news is that it is also free of charge. After the StarWind VTL Free is deployed and configured you will be able to connect to it from any server using an iSCSI connection. If you choose to use a Veeam backup product, then the deployment is straightforward. You can find out more details about the configuration steps on this link.

2 thoughts on “Deploying your free VTL for testing

  1. Hi, I’m experimenting with Quadstor VTL on Ubuntu 16.4, it seems to be a very interesting product.
    I have had very good response through iSCSI but my interest is to use FC HBA connection, I have read on the Quadstor website that only supports FC Qlogic family qla2xxx controllers, I have Emulex LP120002 8g and it is clear that something is not right with this brand .
    Any experience on this point would be helpful.
    Best regards. Felix

    • Hi Fleix, Thanks for your question and your interest in my blog article.
      Unfortunately, my experience with Quadstor VTL is with an iSCSI connection. But I have a great experience with their support. Quadstor support is very responsive and always willing to go the extra mile to help. Give it a try maybe they have something to help you with. (worth checking).

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