What is StarWind Tape Redirector and how does it work? I'll try to explain the product and its functionality in my blog post. StarWind Tape Redirector is a free tool that is part of StarWind Virtual SAN Free functionality. It is distributed without any hidden payments, additional required licenses or time bombs, no strings attached. Tape Redirector is good for immediate download and use.
StarWind Tape Redirector works by installing it on a server with the attached tape drive, creating an iSCSI “gateway” to a tape library. Thus, any backup application located on a remote server can transfer the data to the tapes over LAN or WAN using SCSI over TCP (iSCSI) protocol. StarWind Tape Redirector utilizes the iSCSI uplink protocol to establish a connection between backup servers and tape drives, transferring backup data over any IP network. There is no more need to have tape drives and libraries in every office.
StarWind Tape Redirector provides VMs with direct access to the tape library via iSCSI as if it’s attached locally and interacting with tape drives and loaders. It brings physical tapes as close to virtualization as possible before virtualizing them completely. StarWind Tape Redirector preserves the existing logical backup infrastructure when performing P2V migration and building a virtualized backup system. It seamlessly integrates into the system and makes physical tape backup more virtualization-aware.
Screenshot from StarWind
How to install and use StarWind Tape Redirector?
To install and use StarWind Tape Redirector, you need to follow these steps:
Download the MSI package from the official website (or rather wait for the link in the email) and run it on the server that you want to use as a gateway. You can also use PowerShell or other deployment tools to automate the installation process. You can install StarWind Tape Redirector on a Windows Server 2016, 2019, or 2022 with desktop experience or Server Core.
In StarWind Tape Redirector Management Console, you can add, remove, and manage your tape devices and targets. You can also configure some settings, such as extensions, gateway, PowerShell, and updates. You can find more details about these options in the white paper. To connect your backup application to the tape library, you need to use Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator on the server where the backup application is running. You need to discover the gateway server, select the target, and connect to it. Then, the tape drives and medium changer devices will appear as the local ones on the backup server. You can find more details about these steps in the installation guide.
Screenshot from StarWind
Now, you can use your backup application to backup your VMs to the tape library as usual. You can also use StarWind Tape Redirector to monitor the health and performance of your tape backup.
What are the benefits of using StarWind Tape Redirector?
By using StarWind Tape Redirector, you can enjoy the following benefits:
- You can eliminate the distance limitations of tape interfaces and backup your data to tapes over any IP network.
- You can provide your VMs with direct access to the tape hardware and perform backups directly to the tape library via iSCSI in loopback.
- You can turn the bulky tape infrastructure into a virtualization-aware flexible backup system and simplify the management of tape backup in a virtualized environment.
- You can preserve the existing logical backup infrastructure when performing P2V migration and building a virtualized backup system.
- You can use a free tool that is 100% software based and requires no dedicated hardware to run on.
Why using (old) tapes or tape libraries?
Well, you don't have to use hardware tape library. A software tape library can be actually much faster and keep the same functionality. Tape libraries are traditionally devices that store data on magnetic tapes, which are removable and offline storage media. But they can also be virtual like the ones from StarWind, called StarWind VTL. Tape libraries can be helpful to fight ransomware.
Some of the reasons why tape libraries can be helpful are:
- Tape libraries provide an airgap, which is a physical separation between the primary data and the backup data. This prevents ransomware from accessing or infecting the backup data over the network or the internet.
- Tape libraries preserve the data integrity, which means that the data cannot be modified or corrupted by ransomware. Tape libraries use write-once-read-many (WORM) technology, which prevents data from being overwritten or erased.
- Tape libraries enable long-term retention, which means that the data can be stored for a long time and recovered from any point in time. This allows users to restore data from a clean and malware-free copy, even if the most recent backups are infected by ransomware.
Therefore, tape libraries can be a reliable and cost-effective way to store data for backup and recovery purposes, and to protect data from ransomware attacks.
StarWind Tape Redirector resolves the distance limitations issue between the backup server and tape drive, transferring backup data over any IP network using iSCSI. It also preserves the existing logical backup infrastructure when performing P2V migration and building virtualized backup system. VMs have direct access to the tape library via iSCSI as if it had been locally attached, and interacting with tape drives and loaders.
Another Free tool from StarWind. StarWind Tape Redirector is a free tool. It is a software solution that acts as a translation layer between VMs and the tape library, providing VMs with the interface for accessing the tape hardware. It also eliminates the distance limitations of tape interfaces and integrates with your existing backup infrastructure. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can download it for free. You can also provide your feedback and suggestions to the StarWind team and help shape the future of the product.
More posts about StarWind on ESX Virtualization:
- 5 Easy Steps to be more resilient with Two Hosts only – StarWind VSAN
- How StarWind VSAN solution can save you money and energy in ROBO environments
- 2-Nodes clusters without Witness – StarWind VSAN Heartbeat Failover Strategy
- You can’t extend backup window – Check NVMe Backup Appliance from StarWind
- Replacing Aging Hardware SAN Device by a Software – StarWind VSAN
- StarWind V2V Converter (PV2 Migrator) FREE utility
- Cluster with 2-Nodes only – How about quorum?
- StarWind VSAN Latest update allows faster synchronization with storing synchronization journals on separate storage
- How to Update StarWind VSAN for VMware on Linux- Follow UP
- Protect your Backups with Wasabi Immutable Storage Buckets and StarWind VTL
- StarWind SAN & NAS software details for VMware and Hyper-V
- Free StarWind iSCSI accelerator download
- VMware vSphere and HyperConverged 2-Node Scenario from StarWind – Step By Step(Opens in a new browser tab)
- StarWind Storage Gateway for Wasabi Released
- How To Create NVMe-Of Target With StarWind VSAN
- Veeam 3-2-1 Backup Rule Now With Starwind VTL
- StarWind and Highly Available NFS
- StarWind VSAN on 3 ESXi Nodes detailed setup
- VMware VSAN Ready Nodes in StarWind HyperConverged Appliance
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