AWS, Cloud Computing

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Securely Store Your Data Backups in the Cloud with AWS Tape Gateway

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Introduction to Tape Drive

A tape drive is a device that stores computer data on magnetic tape, especially for backup and archival purposes. Like a regular tape recorder, tape drives record data on loops of flexible material like celluloid that can be read and erased.

Tape drives differ from hard disk drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD) in how they read and write data from the storage medium. Tape stores data sequentially, while HDDs and SSDs use spinning disks with fast-moving seek heads, stationary flash memory, or similar technology to transfer data.

Strengths of Tape Drives

  • Using tape drives has multiple benefits, especially for backup and archival.
  • Capacity for storing data when compared to HDDs.
  • It has a cost on the lower side to store media.
  • It can last a decade if stored in a suitable environment
  • Tapes can be moved and transported easily as they are offline storage
  • Tapes support encryption as Advanced Encryption Standard-256 and provide different levels of protection for Data.

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Limitations of Tape Drives

  • It uses a Sequential storage approach, so while reading and writing, the same approach comes into the picture for accessing data in Sequence.
  • When data is needed to be transferred, the tape must stop and back up to the point where the data is. This back-and-forth process may continue until the desired location is reached. The motion of drive resembles the back-and-forth action of a shoe shining.
  • Data saved to tape is typically buffered before being streamed to tape. If the buffer is not full, the tape can be stopped and positioned for the next delivery of data from the buffer. This affects the overall processing efficiency of the drive.

AWS Tape Gateway

AWS Tape Gateway is a durable, low-cost option for storing data in the Amazon Web Services Cloud. You can store data on virtual tape cartridges you create on your Tape Gateway by utilizing its virtual tape library (VTL) interface and your existing tape-based backup infrastructure.

A media changer and tape drives are preconfigured on each Tape Gateway. As iSCSI devices, these are accessible to your current client backup applications. Tape cartridges are added as data is archived.

AWS Tape Gateway Components

  1. Virtual Tape

A virtual tape is like a physical tape cartridge. The Amazon Web Services Cloud, on the other hand, is where virtual tape data is stored. Virtual tapes, like physical tapes, can be blank or contain data. You can programmatically create virtual tapes using the Storage Gateway API or the Storage Gateway console. Up to 1,500 tapes or 1 PiB of tape data can be stored simultaneously in each gateway. Each virtual tape can be set to be between 100 GiB and 15 TiB in size when created.

2. Virtual Tape Library

A virtual tape library (VTL) is analogous to a physical tape library accessible on-premises and features tape drives and robotic arms. The collection of virtual tapes that are stored as part of your VTL. One VTL is included with each AWS Tape Gateway.

The virtual tapes you create are visible in the VTL of your gateway. Amazon S3 serves as a backup for the VTL’s tapes. The gateway stores data locally and then asynchronously uploads it to virtual tapes in your VTL—Amazon S3—as your backup software writes data to the gateway.

  • Tape Drive:

A physical tape drive that can I/O and seek on a tape is analogous to a VTL tape drive. Each VTL comes with ten tape drives that your backup software can use as iSCSI devices.

  • Media Changer:

A VTL media changer is like a robot that moves tapes around in the storage slots and tape drives of a real tape library. Your backup application can use the media changer with each VTL as an iSCSI device.

3. Archive

An off-site tape storage facility and an archive are similar concepts. Tapes can be archived from the VTL of your gateway to the archive. Tapes from the archive can be returned to the VTL of your gateway if necessary.

  • Archiving tapes:

Your gateway moves the tape to the archive for long-term storage when your backup software ejects it. The Amazon Region in which you activated the gateway is where the archive is located. The virtual tape shelf, or VTS, is where tapes in the archive are kept. S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval or S3 Glacier Deep Archive, a low-cost storage service for archiving, backing up, and long-term data retention, serves as the VTS’s foundation.

  • Retrieving tapes:

Archived tapes cannot be directly read. Using either the Storage Gateway console or the Storage Gateway API, you must first retrieve an archived tape to your Tape Gateway before you can read it.

Step to Create AWS Tape Gateway

Step 1: Open AWS Console in Search Bar Search Storage Gateway.

Step 2: Click on Gateway and click on Create a Gateway.


Step 3: Enter the Gateway name and Choose the gateway option


Step 4: Choose the platform option. I choose Amazon EC2 Select settings for this, VPC and Key Pair. Click on Launch Instance.


Step 5: Select Backup Application and Click on Next


Step 6: Select Endpoint Options and click next


Step 7: Review it and click next


Step 8: Set up log group


Step 9: Set up the cloud watch alarm and click on configure


Step 10: Select Gateway and Click on Create Tapes


Step 11: Select Gateway, then in tape configuration, Select tape type, Number of types, Capacity, Prefix, and Pool, Click on Create Tapes


The media changer and virtual tape drives are mounted as iSCSI devices on your on-premises application servers following the deployment and activation of a Tape Gateway. Virtual tapes are created as needed. After that, you write data to the virtual tapes using the backup software that you already have. For read and write operations, the media changer loads and unloads the virtual tapes into the virtual tape drives.


AWS Tape Gateway is a reliable and efficient solution for businesses looking to store data backups in the cloud. It offers a range of features to ensure data durability, security, and cost-effectiveness, making it an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes.

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Drop a query if you have any questions regarding AWS Tape Gateway and I will get back to you quickly.

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1. What are the benefits of using AWS Tape Gateway?

ANS: – Some benefits of using AWS Tape Gateway include cost-effectiveness, durability, security, and ease of use. It allows businesses to store their data in the cloud without replacing their backup infrastructure. It also offers data compression, deduplication, and encryption to optimize storage and enhance data security.

2. How secure is AWS Tape Gateway?

ANS: – AWS Tape Gateway offers several security features, including data encryption, network isolation, and access controls. Data is encrypted both in transit and at rest to protect it from unauthorized access. AWS also complies with several industry standards and regulations to ensure the security of customer data.

3. What are the pricing options for AWS Tape Gateway?

ANS: – AWS Tape Gateway offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model based on the amount of data stored and the amount of data transferred. Customers only pay for their storage and data transfer, with no upfront costs or long-term commitments.

WRITTEN BY Dhruv Rajeshbhai Patel

Dhruv Patel is a Research Intern at CloudThat. He has completed his Master's in Computer Application and Cloud Certification in Azure and AWS. His area of interest lies in Cloud and Mobile Development Solutions. He loves to take ownership of the work that he is doing.



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