IBM to Resell DSI’s VTL In Its IBM i Cloud
November 1, 2021 Alex Woodie
IBM last week announced that it is now reselling Dynamic Solutions International (DSI)’s virtual tape library (VTL) technology with its IBM i cloud offering. By running DSI Restore in its Power Virtual Server, IBM is giving its public cloud customers another option for backing up and recovering data sets of all sizes.
DSI Restore is a Linux-based VTL solution designed specifically to back up and recover IBM i environments of varying sizes. It’s based on DSI’s popular VTL appliance, and emulates LTO drives while integrating with common backup and recovery tools for IBM i, such as BRMS, HelpSystems Robot/SAVE, LXI MMS, and its own entry-level media management system (MMS), called DSI Tracker.
Like its big brothers, DSI’s hardware-based VTLs, the software-based DSI Restore offering supports a range of backup capabilities that are common in today’s IT environments, including encryption, de-duplication, and replication. The software, which was designed to run on Oracle Linux in a VMware hypervisor, connect to IBM i hosts via iSCSI and Fibre Channel and can support upwards up to 256 virtual libraries and over 1,000 drives. It can scale to support petabytes’ worth of backups.
In a cloud setting, DSI Restore offers several options. It can be deployed next to an on-prem IBM i server and replicate data to object storage in the cloud. It can also backup and restore production workloads that exist entirely in the cloud.
DSI debuted DSI Restore back in 2016 as a “fortified virtual storage appliance” that was designed to be a more affordable option compared to expensive VTL offerings, such as IBM’s ProtecTIER, which ran directly on the Power Systems box and required a Linux LPAR and VIOS. IBM subsequently killed ProtecTIER and decided to resell DSI’s VTLs back in 2018, so that says something about what IBM saw in the DSI VTLs (as well as its own VTL offering).
According to IBM’s October 26 announcement (pdf), IBM is now reselling DSI Restore for use with its Power Virtual Server system. Instead of using Oracle Linux, however, DSI Restore can be deployed “into your Power Virtual Server account using similar methods as with any other Linux partition,” IBM says in its announcement.
Customers running DSI Restore in the IBM Cloud will benefit from an “integrated…option for self-provisioning and billing,” IBM says. Pricing is based on the size of the data being backed up, and can scale from terabytes to petabytes, the company says.
There are some IBM i PTFs required to enable iSCSI support for backups to VTLs, which IBM appears to have added specifically to support the DSI VTLs. See this webpage for information about which PTFs are required to enable iSCSI support for IBM i versions 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4.