Resource Library

FAQs

IBM (IBMi)

What is virtual tape?

A virtual tape system is a storage device that uses rotational disk to emulate physical tape drives and tape libraries. It is desirable to use disk as a storage media because it is much faster than traditional tape drives and also more dependable and flexible. Virtual tape systems look just like tape drives and tape libraries to the operating system; tapes can be mounted, scratched and used just like a real tape. Virtual tape systems come in many different form factors Dynamic Solutions International sells both self-contained appliances and head units that attach to external RAID disk systems and use either Fibre Channel or iSCSI to attach to servers or storage networks.

How much faster is virtual tape than real tape?

A high performance tape drive, such as LTO6, is rated at over 1.4TB/hr but with tape marks, I/O block size and systems utilization, these speeds are rarely if ever achieved. A DSI virtual tape system is built on a high performance RAID disk system with an average access time of 3-4 milliseconds. Because it is emulating tape, its performance characteristics are not the same. Tape marks and I/O starvation do not require the performance killing repositioning that actual streaming tapes require. A DSI virtual tape system is up to 25 times faster than the tape drives that it emulates.

What kind of storage do you use in your virtual tape appliances?

DSI virtual tape systems are currently deployed with 4TB SATA RAID6 plus one arrays.

Why is virtual tape a better choice than traditional tape?

There are several reasons that a virtual tape is a better solution than tape alone in a backup environment. Here are some of those reasons:
1. The DSI virtual tape is RAID protected. The virtual tape volumes stored on disk are ensured by disk I/O write protection and by RAID6 plus one data striping and mirroring.
2. Ensures backup/restore success by eliminating media/mechanical errors and manual intervention associated with traditional tape.
3. Remote offsite replication of virtual tapes provides disaster protection.
4. A virtual tape system centralizes management & consolidates backup resources.
5. Support for multiple concurrent sessions promotes faster backup and facilitates rapid data recovery.
6. Disk-to-disk is faster than traditional tape backup.
7. All DSI virtual tape solutions come standard with at rest encryption of physical disk drives.
8. Data movement between the virtual tape systems disk-based virtual tapes to physical tape media is accomplished as a secondary task; this process can be completed at any time of the day without impacting application performance.
9. Integrates seamlessly with existing backup software and policies.
10. Easy to deploy in your current network.

Will I lose data if a system has a catastrophic failure?

We have engineered a lot of redundancy into our DSI virtual tape systems. The systems have hot swap power supplies, hot swap and RAID protected backup hard disk drives, redundant fans, a spare drive and support for redundant controllers (with active-active failover). In the unlikely event of a catastrophic system problem, the data is still safe on the RAID protected drives.

Can I monitor the DSI virtual tape system with my SNMP monitoring software?

Yes. The DSI virtual tape systems support SNMP monitoring programs and provide a MIB for download. All items monitored in the DSI virtual tape system are provided over SNMP.

Will virtual tape work with my operating system?

Our virtual tape systems are tested with many operating systems including: Windows, Linux (Red Hat, Suse), Unisys, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, IRIX, Tandem, and AS400. For all of these environments, the DSI virtual tape is just another tape drive to the operating system.

Will virtual tape work with my backup package?

Our virtual tape systems are tested with many backup systems including: Symantec, Legato, CA, Backbone etc. For all of these environments, the DSI virtual tape system appears as just another tape library and drives to the operating system.

Will virtual tape work with my Host Bus Adapter or Switch?

If a host bus adapter company (ATTO, Cambex, Emulex, LSI Logic, QLogic, Unisys, IBM) or server manufacturer makes a FC host bus adapter or iSCSI toe card to support open systems, then odds are we will work with it. If a switch company (Brocade, Cisco, Emulex, McData, QLogic) makes a Fibre Channel or IP switch for open systems environments, then odds are that we will work with that switch also.

I don’t have Fibre Channel, can I attach your virtual tape system?

Yes, the DSI virtual tape systems also support SAS so that you can leverage your existing network infrastructure. If you need additional speed, the DSI virtual tape systems support Fibre Channel which is as simple to install and connect.

Do I need a special driver or software to install your virtual tape system?

No. The DSI virtual tape systems will work with the standard drivers for the tape drives that are being emulated.

Do I need to modify my backup software to work with the virtual tape?

Our virtual tape solutions are engineered to be plugged into your existing backup software deployment with little to no changes required.

How long has Dynamic Solutions International been in business?

Dynamic Solutions International was founded in 1973 and is on its fourth generation of virtual tape based systems. The company is not venture backed and operates without debt.

Do you have any competitors?

Yes. There are many manufacturers of virtual tape systems. However, our nearly 45 years in the storage business and the fact that we also have our own backup and media management system for mainframes leaves us uniquely qualified to handle the requirements of a mission critical backup environment.

Do you sell DSI virtual tape systems in my country?

Almost certainly, unless you live in a country that is prohibited from buying technology products from U.S. companies. Even more importantly, because of our relationship with Unisys, our virtual tape systems can be supported in most global locations. Please check with DSI for availability.

What kind of support and warranties do you offer?

DSI virtual tape systems ship with a one year return to factory warranty.

Do you offer leasing options?

With our storage as a service pricing, you can roll the cost of your data storage into your operating costs. All of the benefits of a lease!

How do I buy a virtual tape system?

Please call us at 303.754.2000 and ask for DSI storage specialist or complete our web form to have a DSI representative contact you.

What emulation is an option for the IBMi market?

Native emulation of all IBMi tape drives and libraries, LTO-1, LTO-2, LTO-3, LTO-4, LTO-5, LTO-6, and IBM3583, 3584, and 3590 libraries.

What backup tools are available?

Supports all IBMi backup tools and methods (ROBOT/SAVE, BRMS, LXI MMS, SAVLIB, media policies and IPL) without any process change.

Can I also use the VTL in my distributed environment?

Yes, DSI can support a mixed open system, IBMi, and mainframe environments.

Does the VTL allow for bare metal restores?

Yes. DSI ensures business continuity through IPL, bare metal reboot from virtual or physical tape.

How fast is the VTL?

The DSI VTL offers higher performance (write and restore) with connectivity across 8Gb/sec FC (fibre channel).

Does the VTL support tape consolidation?

Yes. The support for tape stacking allows multiple smaller virtual tapes to be consolidated onto larger physical tape media.

Software

With so many different backup software packages available, how do I select an application that is right for me?

When choosing a backup and restore application, you have to first determine the requirements of the application. Will the application be used for backup, or will it be used as secondary storage where rapid recovery is a requirement? Will you be backing up small quantities of data once or twice a day or will the tape system be constantly active. Do you have any database structures that can not be shut down and must be backed up while they are still hot? When choosing a backup software package it is not only important to be concerned with the cost of the application but also consider the corporate or regulatory polices that must be addressed, flexibility options, maintenance costs and ease of use. Dynamic Solutions International sells a backup application for every budget and requirement offering Symantec BackupExec and NetBackup as well as our own TapeManager for Unisys mainframe environments.

What is DSI TapeManager?

TapeManager is the media manager for Unisys MCP and MCPvm systems. TapeManager is host based software which tracks all backup media, both real volumes and virtual volumes in real time. DSI TapeManager works in conjunction with DSI LibraryManager to control virtual or physical tape library systems.

What is DSI LibraryManager?

LibraryManager is the robotics handler for Unisys MCP and MCPvm systems. LibraryManager is host based software which communicates through an appliance, DSI LibraryController, to control virtual or physical tape library systems.

What is DSI LibraryController?

LibraryController is a Windows based appliance which translates robotics commands from LibraryManager for MCP and MCPvm based virtual or true automated tape library systems. LibraryController is available in LVD, HVD and Fibre Channel configurations for connectivity to any MCP or MCPvm qualified system.

Will TapeManager control an automated environment?

Yes, TapeManager works with DSI LibraryManager to control an automated library environment or virtual library environment, allowing tapes to be moved in and out of drives and library systems.

Will the backup software handle both virtual and real tape simultaneously?

Yes, the backup applications provided by DSI will allow you to use both virtual tape and real tape systems in conjunction with one another, thereby allowing you to move data to either virtual or real tape depending on corporate policy or regulation.

Will DSI TapeManager work with my operating system?

Our DSI TapeManager media management application works with only Unisys MCP and MCPvm hosts. DSI TapeManager will not work with other operating systems including: Windows, Linux (Red Hat, Suse), Unisys OS2200 or any UNIX releases.

Will DSI LibraryManager work with my operating system?

Our DSI LibraryManager robotics management application works with only Unisys MCP and MCPvm hosts. DSI LibraryManager will not work with other operating systems including: Windows, Linux (Red Hat, Suse), Unisys OS2200 or any UNIX releases.

Will DSI backup and robotics management system work with my virtual or real tape drive or library?

Our DSI management application software is designed to work with all Unisys MCP and MCPvm qualified tape drives and tape library systems including DSI and StorageTek library systems

Will TapeManager work with Unisys TapeStack and Encryption?

Yes, DSI TapeManager will work with the Unisys TapeStack product allowing you to automate the tape stacking and encryption process. TapeManager will provide management for all media including virtual and real tape and media stored in a library and on or offsite. TapeManager also provides key management for Unisys TapeStack Encryption.

Will Symantec work with my operating system?

Yes, Symantec backup applications are designed for open systems and are tested with many operating systems including: Windows, Linux (Red Hat, Suse), and many UNIX releases.

I have a Unisys MCP environment and an open systems network, can I use TapeManager to manage both environments?

No, TapeManager is for use on Unisys MCP and MCPvm systems only.

I have a Unisys MCP environment and an open systems network, can I use LibraryController to manage both environments?

No, LibraryController is for use on Unisys MCP and MCPvm systems only. If you want to share a virtual or real tape library resource, the system must be capable of partitioning or zoning.

How long has Dynamic Solutions International been in business?

Dynamic Solutions International was founded in 1973 and has been supporting enterprise tape systems since the days of the round reel. The company is not venture backed and operates without debt.

Do you have any competitors?

Yes. There are many backup application providers. However, our 43 years in the storage business and the fact that we also have our own backup and media management system for mainframes leaves us uniquely qualified to handle the requirements of a mission critical backup environment.

Do you sell DSI software in my country?

Almost certainly, unless you live in a country that is prohibited from buying technology products from U.S. companies. Even more importantly, because of our relationship with Unisys, our software can be supported in most global locations. Please check with DSI for availability.

How do I buy DSI software?

Please call us at 303.754.2000 and ask for a DSI storage specialist or complete the web form to have a DSI representative contact you.

Tape Systems

With so many different tape technologies available, how do I select a system that is right for me?

When choosing a new tape technology, you have to first determine the requirements of your backup application. Will the tape system be used for backup, or will it be used as secondary storage where rapid recovery is a requirement? Will you be backing up small quantities of data once or twice a day or will the tape system be in constant use? When choosing a tape technology it is not only important to be concerned with the cost of the drive but also consider the roadmap of the technology, price of the media, maintenance costs and reliability statistics. Dynamic Solutions International sells a technology for every budget and application offering 4mm, SDLT and high performance LTO.

With virtual tape available, why do I need real tape?

Virtual tape systems can not service all of the requirements for deep archive of data. Traditional tape, with its infinite expandability will allow you to grow your storage one cartridge at a time. Virtual tape systems are limited to the space available in the disk array. Traditional tape can also be carried and stored off site. Tape systems come in many different technology types with different form factors and automation configurations. Dynamic Solutions International sells stand alone, autoloader and library tape systems with either SCSI or Fibre Channel options to attach to servers or storage networks.

What kind of tape technologies does DSI offer?

DSI tape systems are currently offered in DDS5 4mm, SDLT320, SDLT600, LTO2HH and LTO3 configurations.

Can I monitor the DSI tape system from my network?

Yes. Many of the DSI tape automation systems are available with GUI management support.

Will DSI tape systems work with my operating system?

Our tape systems are tested with many operating systems including: Windows, Linux (Red Hat, Suse), Unisys, and many Unix releases.

Will DSI tape systems work with my backup package?

DSI tape systems are tested with many backup systems including: Symantec, Legato, CA, Backbone, etc.

Will virtual tape work with my Host Bus Adapter or Switch?

If a host bus adapter company (ATTO, Cambex, Emulex, LSI Logic, QLogic, Unisys) or server manufacturer makes a FC host bus adapter to support open systems, then odds are we will work with it. If a switch company (Brocade, Cisco, Emulex, McData, QLogic) makes a Fibre Channel for open systems environments, then odds are that we will work with that switch also.

I don’t have Fibre Channel, can I attach your DSI tape system?

Yes, the DSI tape systems also come in SCSI configurations so that you can leverage your existing infrastructure. If you need additional speed or cabling distance, some of the DSI tape systems also support Fibre Channel which is as simple to install and connect as SCSI yet offers better performance and configuration capabilities.

Do I need a special driver or software to install a DSI tape system?

No special drivers are required. DSI tape system work with standard device drivers provided by HP and Quantum.

Do I need to modify my backup software to work with the DSI tape?

In many cases no. Your backup software does not care what technology the data is stored on.

How long has Dynamic Solutions International been in business?

Dynamic Solutions International was founded in 1973 and has been supporting enterprise tape systems since the days of the round reel. The company is not venture backed and operates without debt.

Do you have any competitors?

Yes. There are many manufacturers of tape systems. However, our 43 years in the storage business and the fact that we also have our own backup and media management system for mainframes leaves us uniquely qualified to handle the requirements of a mission critical backup environment.

Do you sell DSI tape systems in my country?

Almost certainly, unless you live in a country that is prohibited from buying technology products from U.S. companies. Even more importantly, because of our relationship with Unisys, our tape systems can be supported in most global locations. Please check with DSI for availability.

What kind of support and warranties do you offer?

DSI tape systems ship with a one year return to factory warranty.

Do you offer leasing options?

Dynamic Solutions International can work with our sister leasing company to provide you with competitive leasing rates.

How do I buy a DSI tape system?

Please call us at 303.754.2000 and ask for a DSI storage specialist or complete our web form to have a DSI representative contact you.

Virtual Tape

What is virtual tape?

A virtual tape system is a storage device that uses rotational disk to emulate physical tape drives and tape libraries. It is desirable to use disk as a storage media because it is much faster than traditional tape drives and also more dependable and flexible. Virtual tape systems look just like tape drives and tape libraries to the operating system; tapes can be mounted, scratched and used just like a real tape. Virtual tape systems come in many different form factors Dynamic Solutions International sells both self contained appliances and head units that attach to external RAID disk systems and use either Fibre Channel or iSCSI to attach to servers or storage networks.

How much faster is virtual tape than real tape?

A high performance tape drive, such as LTO3 is rated at over 100MB/sec, but with tape marks, I/O block size and systems utilization, these speeds are rarely if ever achieved. A DSI virtual tape system is built on a high performance RAID disk system with an average access time of 4-5 milliseconds. Because it is emulating tape, its performance characteristics are not the same. Tape marks and I/O starvation do not require the performance killing repositioning that actual streaming tapes require. A DSI virtual tape system is up to 25 times faster than the tape drives that it emulates.

What kind of storage do you use in your virtual tape appliances?

DSI virtual tape systems are currently deployed with 400MB, 500MB and 750MB SATA RAID5 arrays.

Why is virtual tape a better choice than traditional tape?

There are several reasons that a virtual tape is a better solution than tape alone in a backup environment. Here are some of those reasons:
1. The DSI virtual tape is RAID protected. The virtual tape volumes stored on disk are ensured by disk I/O write protection and by RAID5 data striping and mirroring.
2. Ensures backup/restore success by eliminating media/ mechanical errors and manual intervention associated with traditional tape.
3. Remote offsite replication of virtual tapes provides disaster protection.
4. A virtual tape systems centralize management & consolidate backup resources.
5. Support for multiple concurrent sessions promotes faster backup and facilitates rapid data recovery.
6. Disk-to-disk is faster than traditional tape backup.
7. Data movement between the virtual tape systems disk-based virtual tapes to physical tape media is accomplished as a secondary task; this process can be completed at any time of the day without impacting application performance.
8. Integrates seamlessly with existing backup software and policies.
9. Easy to deploy.

Will I lose data if a system has a catastrophic failure?

We have engineered a lot of redundancy into our DSI virtual tape systems. The systems have hot swap power supplies, hot swap and RAID protected backup hard disk drives, redundant fans, and support for redundant controllers (with active-active failover). In the unlikely event of a catastrophic system problem, the data is still safe on the RAID protected drives.

Can I monitor the DSI virtual tape system with my SNMP monitoring software?

Yes. The DSI virtual tape systems support SNMP monitoring programs and provide a MIB for download. All items monitored in the DSI virtual tape system are provided over SNMP.

Will virtual tape work with my operating system?

Our virtual tape systems are tested with many operating systems including: Windows, Linux (Red Hat, Suse), Unisys, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, IRIX, Tandem, and AS400. For all of these environments, the DSI virtual tape is just another tape drive to the operating system.

Will virtual tape work with my backup package?

Our virtual tape systems are tested with many backup systems including: Symantec, Legato, CA, Backbone etc. For all of these environments, the DSI virtual tape is just another tape library and drives to the operating system.

Will virtual tape work with my Host Bus Adapter or Switch?

If a host bus adapter company (ATTO, Cambex, Emulex, LSI Logic, QLogic, Unisys) or server manufacturer makes a FC host bus adapter or iSCSI toe card to support open systems, then odds are we will work with it. If a switch company (Brocade, Cisco, Emulex, McData, QLogic) makes a Fibre Channel or IP switch for open systems environments, then odds are that we will work with that switch also.

I don’t have Fibre Channel, can I attach your virtual tape system?

Yes, the DSI virtual tape systems also support iSCSI so that you can leverage your existing network infrastructure. If you need additional speed, the DSI virtual tape systems support Fibre Channel which is as simple to install and connect as iSCSI yet offers better performance.

Do I need a special driver or software to install your virtual tape system?

No. The DSI virtual tape systems will work with the standard drivers for the tape drives that are being emulated.

Do I need to modify my backup software to work with the virtual tape?

In many cases no. Your backup software does not care if data is stored on a virtual tape or a real tape.

How long has Dynamic Solutions International been in business?

Dynamic Solutions International was founded in 1973 and is on its fourth generation of virtual tape based systems. The company is not venture backed and operates without debt.

Do you have any competitors?

Yes. There are many manufacturers of virtual tape systems. However, our 33 years in the storage business and the fact that we also have our own backup and media management system for mainframes leaves us uniquely qualified to handle the requirements of a mission critical backup environment.

Do you sell DSI virtual tape systems in my country?

Almost certainly, unless you live in a country that is prohibited from buying technology products from U.S. companies. Even more importantly, because of our relationship with Unisys, our virtual tape systems can be supported in most global locations. Please check with DSI for availability.

What kind of support and warranties do you offer?

DSI virtual tape systems ship with a one year return to factory warranty.

Do you offer leasing options?

Dynamic Solutions International can work with our sister leasing company to provide you with competitive leasing rates.

How do I buy a virtual tape system?

Please call us at 303.754.2000 and ask for DSI storage specialist or complete our web form to have a DSI representative contact you.

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