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Veeam AWS VTL tapes configuration steps

Veeam Backup & Replication includes the capability to manage tape libraries from a single console. These can be both Physical and Virtual Tape Libraries (VTL). This article as part of the series dedicated to the AWS Storage Gateway integration with Veeam now covers the Veeam AWS VTL tapes configuration. In a previous article the initial setup of the AWS Gateway appliance and VTL tapes configuration was covered. As a next stage these tapes should be presented and configured to the Veeam Backup server. It’s a one time process and very easy to complete. The entire tape management can then be accomplished from the Veeam console. This includes the option not just to create backup and files to tape jobs but also to configure and manage with ease Media Pools, Media Sets, Online and Offline tapes, Retention and Vault. All these option will be covered in high details in the rest of the article series.

How are AWS Gateway VTL tapes connected to the Veeam Backup Server?

The VTL tapes are presented from the AWS Gateway as iSCSI, FC or SAS targets. This example covers the iSCSI type. Veeam Backup Server uses a Tape Proxy (a Windows machine) where Veeam installs the Tape Proxy role. Once the Proxy role is installed it’s a matter of starting the iSCSI initiator on the Tape Proxy machine. Tape Proxy machine connects to the AWS Gateway and will “hold” the VTL tapes available in the Tape Library. Including the information for the Media Changer emulated by the AWS appliance. All the tapes in the Tape Library will be presented to the Veeam console. In the Veeam console the machine with Tape Proxy role is called the Tape Server. In the AWS Storage Gateway it is possible to add max 10 tapes in one go up to a maximum of 1500 tapes. Should new VTL tapes be added to the AWS Gateway these will appear with a manual or automatic tape Import job which refreshes the details and information on the current tapes.

Let’s take a look on how to configure Veeam AWS VTL tapes integration in more details.

Configure Veeam AWS VTL tapes integration

From the Veeam Backup Console Tape Infrastructure > Add Tape Server let’s add a new server to help managing tapes.

The Wizard starts and it is possible to choose either an existing “Veeam Managed Server” or simply create a new one. I would advice adding a simple description in case of planning to add multiple Tape servers for several Tape Libraries.

In the traffic section if required it is possible to add throttling and encryption for the network traffic just between Veeam components. In this case the Tape Server and the AWS appliance.

At this point the wizard is ready to verify and install the missing components.

The Tape Server wizard is ready to proceed with the installation which takes a very few seconds to complete.

First part of the configuration is now concluded. In the next part the steps to configure the connectivity between the Veeam Tape Server and the AWS Storage Gateway.

On the machine designated as Tape Server the iSCSI Initiator client connects to the AWS Storage Gateway. By default this service is not running and can be simply called from the “run” box with “iscsi initiator”. A link to the service is also available in the Administrative Tools from the control panel. If this is the first time running the service let’s opt for the yes to keep this service running.

Ideally there is a DNS name already assigned to the AWS Gateway or simply all needs to be done is to enter the IP address of the appliance.

The iSCSI initiator will connect at this address using standard port 3260. Let’s make sure no firewalls are blocking this port on the AWS Gateway.

At this point a successful connection will show all the iSCSI targets.

In this case this would be the Media Changer and the configured VTL tapes. 10 as per previous article. For each Target if required it is also possible to view and add advanced settings like adding sessions and even specify an iSCSI target Portal. These extra features are not required at the moment as only one iSCSI initiator is connecting to these VTL tapes.

Each one of the iSCSI Targets should be connected starting from the top one which is the Media Changer. Also let’s make the first checkbox is selected.

Marking a target in the favourite list allows automatic reconnection at every computer restarts. Which is a very handy option. Of course for this option to work it is necessary to leave the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator service with “Automatic” start and running.

At this point the Favourite Targets tab should show all the relevant iSCSI targets pointing at the AWS VTL tapes.

From the Device Manager it might be required to install the drivers to manage the new device called “Unknown Media Changer”. Windows already includes some of the drivers for a wide variety of devices. According to AWS documentation the emulated Media Changer can be installed using the Sony TSL-A500 as the most compatible with the device emulated from the AWS Gateway.

Let’s do a right click on the device and install driver. Let’s browse the Windows drivers catalog.

Next just uncheck the option “Show compatible hardware” and browse the manufacturer list to Sony and choose the Sony TSL-A500C Autoloader.

In case of warning, let’s accept the message and continue.

The driver for the Media Changer in the Tape Server is now installed correctly.

From the Device Manager we can also review the associated Tape Drives. As per creation on the AWS Gateway it shows IBM ULT3580 tapes.

Most importantly in the tape drives properties the Drivers tab should show “Microsoft” in the Driver Provider. This is important as Veeam Backup uses the standard Microsoft protocol to manage tapes. More in general when tape drivers are available the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) drivers are recommended.

In this final part is just a matter of discovering or importing the tapes information into the Veeam Backup console. From Tape Infrastructure > Servers a Rescan option will collect the necessary details.

This is a fairly quick task. At completion a new Server, Library, Drives and Media will appear. Including a default “Free” Media Pool which groups all the VTL tapes available for jobs.

At this point everything is ready to create desired Media Pools and Media Sets that will be used for File and Backup to tape jobs as covered in the next article.

About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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