New – Offline Tape Migration Using AWS Snowball Edge

Over the years, we have given you a succession of increasingly powerful tools to help you migrate your data to the AWS Cloud. Starting with AWS Import/Export back in 2009, followed by Snowball in 2015, Snowmobile and Snowball Edge in 2016, and Snowcone in 2020, each new device has given you additional features to simplify and expedite the migration process. All of the devices are designed to operate in environments that suffer from network constraints such as limited bandwidth, high connections costs, or high latency.

Offline Tape Migration
Today, we are taking another step forward by making it easier for you to migrate data stored offline on physical tapes. You can get rid of your large and expensive storage facility, send your tape robots out to pasture, and eliminate all of the time & effort involved in moving archived data to new formats and mediums every few years, all while retaining your existing tape-centric backup & recovery utilities and workflows.

This launch brings a tape migration capability to AWS Snowball Edge devices, and allows you to migrate up to 80 TB of data per device, making it suitable for your petabyte-scale migration efforts. Tapes can be stored in the Amazon S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval or Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive storage classes, and then accessed from on-premises and cloud-based backup and recovery utilities.

Back in 2013 I showed you how to Create a Virtual Tape Library Using the AWS Storage Gateway. Today’s launch builds on that capability in two different ways. First, you create a Virtual Tape Library (VTL) on a Snowball Edge and copy your physical tapes to it. Second, after your tapes are in the cloud, you create a VTL on a Storage Gateway and use it to access your virtual tapes.

Getting Started
To get started, I open the Snow Family Console and create a new job. Then I select Import virtual tapes into AWS Storage Gateway and click Next:

Then I go through the remainder of the ordering sequence (enter my shipping address, name my job, choose a KMS key, and set up notification preferences), and place my order. I can track the status of the job in the console:

When my device arrives I tell the somewhat perplexed delivery person about data transfer, carry it down to my basement office, and ask Luna to check it out:

Back in the Snow Family console, I download the manifest file and copy the unlock code:

I connect the Snowball Edge to my “corporate” network:

Then I install AWS OpsHub for Snow Family on my laptop, power on the Snowball Edge, and wait for it to obtain & display an IP address:

I launch OpsHub, sign in, and accept the default name for my device:

I confirm that OpsHub has access to my device, and that the device is unlocked:

I view the list of services running on the device, and note that Tape Gateway is not running:

Before I start Tape Gateway, I create a Virtual Network Interface (VNI):

And then I start the Tape Gateway service on the Snow device:

Now that the service is running on the device, I am ready to create the Storage Gateway. I click Open Storage Gateway console from within OpsHub:

I select Snowball Edge as my host platform:

Then I give my gateway a name (MyTapeGateway), select my backup application (Veeam Backup & Replication in this case), and click Activate Gateway:

Then I configure CloudWatch logging:

And finally, I review the settings and click Finish to activate my new gateway:

The activation process takes a few minutes, just enough time to take Luna for a quick walk. When I return, the console shows that the gateway is activated and running, and I am all set:

Creating Tapes
The next step is to create some virtual tapes. I click Create tapes and enter the requested information, including the pool (Deep Archive or Glacier), and click Create tapes:

The next step is to copy data from my physical tapes to the Snowball Edge. I don’t have a data center and I don’t have any tapes, so I can’t show you how to do this part. The data is stored on the device, and my Internet connection is used only for management traffic between the Snowball Edge device and AWS. To learn more about this part of the process, check out our new animated explainer.

After I have copied the desired tapes to the device, I prepare it for shipment to AWS. I make sure that all of the virtual tapes in the Storage Gateway Console have the status In Transit to VTS (Virtual Tape Shelf), and then I power down the device.

The display on the device updates to show the shipping address, and I wait for the shipping company to pick up the device.

When the device arrives at AWS, the virtual tapes are imported, stored in the S3 storage class associated with the pool that I chose earlier, and can be accessed by retrieving them using an online tape gateway. The gateway can be deployed as a virtual machine or a hardware appliance.

Now Available
You can use AWS Snowball Edge for offline tape migration in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), US West (N. California), Europe (Ireland), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (London), Asia Pacific (Sydney) Regions. Start migrating petabytes of your physical tape data to AWS, today!

Jeff;

Originally posted on AWS News Blog
Author: Jeff Barr

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