Working With Tapes - AWS Storage Gateway

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Volume Gateway documentation has been moved to What is Volume Gateway?

Working With Tapes

Storage Gateway provides one virtual tape library (VTL) for each Tape Gateway you activate. Initially, the library contains no tapes, but you can create tapes whenever you need to. Your application can read and write to any tapes available on your Tape Gateway. A tape's status must be AVAILABLE for you to write to the tape. These tapes are backed by Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)—that is, when you write to these tapes, the Tape Gateway stores data in Amazon S3. For more information, see Understanding Tape Status Information in a VTL.

The tape library shows tapes in your Tape Gateway. The library shows the tape barcode, status, and size, amount of the tape used, and the gateway the tape is associated with.

Storage Gateway tapes library page.

When you have a large number of tapes in the library, the console supports searching for tapes by barcode, by status, or by both. When you search by barcode, you can filter by status and gateway.

To search by barcode, status, and gateway
  1. Open the Storage Gateway console at

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Tapes, and then type a value in the search box. The value can be the barcode, status, or gateway. By default, Storage Gateway searches for all virtual tapes. However, you can also filter your search by status.

    If you filter for status, tapes that match your criteria appear in the library in the Storage Gateway console.

    If you filter for gateway, tapes that are associated with that gateway appear in the library in the Storage Gateway console.


    By default, Storage Gateway displays all tapes regardless of status.

Archiving Tapes

You can archive the virtual tapes that are in your Tape Gateway. When you archive a tape, Storage Gateway moves the tape to the archive.

To archive a tape, you use your backup software. Tape archival process consists of three stages, seen as the tape statuses IN TRANSIT TO VTS, ARCHIVING, and ARCHIVED:

  • To archive a tape, use the command provided by your backup application. When the archival process begins the tape status changes to IN TRANSIT TO VTS and the tape is no longer accessible to your backup application. In this stage, your Tape Gateway is uploading data to AWS. If needed, you can cancel the archival in progress. For more information about canceling archival, see Canceling Tape Archival.


    The steps for archiving a tape depend on your backup application. For detailed instructions, see the documentation for your backup application.

  • After the data upload to AWS completes, the tape status changes to ARCHIVING and Storage Gateway begins moving the tape to the archive. You cannot cancel the archival process at this point.

  • After the tape is moved to the archive, its status changes to ARCHIVED and you can retrieve the tape to any of your gateways. For more information about tape retrieval, see Retrieving Archived Tapes.

The steps involved in archiving a tape depend on your backup software. For instructions on how to archive a tape by using Symantec NetBackup software, see Archiving the Tape.

Canceling Tape Archival

After you start archiving a tape, you might decide you need your tape back. For example, you might want to cancel the archival process, get the tape back because the archival process is taking too long, or read data from the tape. A tape that is being archived goes through three statuses, as shown following:

  • IN TRANSIT TO VTS: Your Tape Gateway is uploading data to AWS.

  • ARCHIVING: Data upload is complete and the Tape Gateway is moving the tape to the archive.

  • ARCHIVED: The tape is moved and the archive and is available for retrieval.

You can cancel archival only when the tape's status is IN TRANSIT TO VTS. Depending on factors such as upload bandwidth and the amount of data being uploaded, this status might or might not be visible in the Storage Gateway console. To cancel a tape archival, use the CancelRetrieval action in the API reference.