The Pros and Cons of Tape Backup Solutions
Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
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Updated: 5 May 2005
Editor's Note: This is the original article which, as you can see, achieved gargantuan proportions and needed to sit down. Check out the sequel: "Even More Pros and Cons of Tape Backup Solutions" to keep up with the latest contributions.
Question: Rick D. wrote: How about a "thread" on Tape backup solutions? I am VERY dissatisfied with Veritas Backup Exec and with Computer Associates ArcServe. I would be very interested to find out what other "Admins" out there are using.
Answer: OPEN CALL: tell us how you're handling tape backup, and we'll pass it along.
- Allen Platt
- Rich Hamel
- Richard Seepaul
- David Kretschmer
- Roger Thomas
- Ray Osburn
- Jake Hinkelman
- David Lee
- Brad Spilde
- Jason Emery
- Rick Bousquet
- Paul Segal
- Jim Luther
- Pierre Yves Van Geem
- Kenneth Fribert
- Jens Wappler
- Paul Fallon
- Randall Diekmeyer
- William Liporace
- Mel Myhre
- Michael Alexander
- Peter Jam
- John Leppert
- Brian Brightbill
- David Benjamin
- Brandon Friesen
- Rene Kokenberg
- Aaron Mills
- Wayne Edens
- David Sentelle
- Patrick Farrell
- George Phelps
- Mike Mitschke
- Greg Nash
- Bill Ross
- Lewis Rosenthal
- Brad Bendily
- Dave Atterbury
- David Sanger
- Michael Busse
- Zeger Wijnands
- Mark Steele
- Supawat Pugkhem
- Andrew White
- Jason Gutierrez
- Rob VanDusen
- Jason Broekman
- Pierre Gelpi
- Simon Loftus
- Jeroen Verburg
- Zorex Villadelgado
- Bryan Thoreson
- Mike Ossing
- Byron Johnson
- John Dias
- Ken Ainge
- Francis Massen
- Geoffrey Carman
- Todd Beaubien
- Fred Brinkdopke
- Steve Falconer
- Hardy Maxa
- Patrick Corrigan
- Brian Mantler
- Royce L. Robinson
- Steve Blanding
- Jim Tetzlaff
- Stewart Taylor
- David Poole
- Claus B. Christensen
- Sherryl Brown
- Christen Holte
- Marsha Clark
- Andy Phillips
- Geoffrey Carman
- Matthew Shuter
- Dan O'Barr
- Ben Weeks
- Roger Linhart
- Lois Unruh
- Gary Zawilinski
- Charles Leclerc
- Tony Stapleton
- David Unwin
- Gary Eves
- Dominicus Björkstam
- Bill Holmes
- Maynard Johnson
- Roman Lenarsic
- K. Ramaswamy
- Greg Obermier
- Mike Carey
- Greg C. Meador
- Lee Taylor
- Trey Ray
- Ernest Goody
- Ryan Irish
- Craig Thorne
- Rob Huggins
- Gene Barnes
- Bill Neumann
- Georg Grabner
- Shane Van Loenen
- Tony Skalski
- Ken Etter
- Lucas van de Pieterman
- Andreas Radecke
- Stuart Beckett
- Laszlo Fischer NEW
- Derek Davlut NEW
- Jon Miller NEW
WOW, what a can of worms this can be.
During our upgrade from NetWare 5.1 to 6.x we were using the Veritas product, but unfortunately they did not support NSS volumes at the time. I was also having major problems with their open file solution as well. We changed our entire Agency to Computer Associates Brightstor product. This too was a huge mistake as the open file solution caused pools to become corrupt and to dismount during snapshots. (A problem that has been ongoing now for three months.) I have been working with CA and Novell engineers during this time with no solution in sight. Many tries and attempts at a solution, but none that actually work.
So, I too would be very interested in a product that would meet our needs.
We are a mixed shop of Arcserve 6.6-7 and BackupExec for NetWare and Windows. All are frustrating in their own rights. We are planning our migration from NetWare 5.1 to 6.x now and open files are an issue. We are thinking of using St. Bernard OF software. We've heard of good results. I would really like to find a solid solution also. My main site is a Windows server running BE backing up Windows servers and NetWare servers. My other sites are NetWare servers backing up themselves using Arcserve or BE.
I agree with the comment that this topic is a can of worms.
The comments that follow apply to environments without SAN solutions like Xiotechs' Magnitude 3D. (Where you can snapshot, mirror disk between sites, boot from SAN any OS, easily support diskless blade servers, etc.)
In our particular case we have been using CA "Arcserve" for many years (our backups have been servercentric). The product entered the domain of "really fugly backup solution" with version 7 for NetWare. It took years for that one to get stable.
Versions 6.x 5.x 4.x and earlier were minor rocket science to tweak and maintain and finally achieve stability. (It was a true art). Support for the product was "reasonable" until support was shipped to the "far east" Supporting version 7 was akin to solving Fermats' Theorems.
They have now re-invented the product as: Brightstor (when your software product starts getting a really bad name rename it.).
We have distributed administration for backup so we always preferred the user interface in CA's product vs Veritas. We have looked at every version of Veritas (formerly Backup Exec) over the years and still don't like the user interface, and from our testing it seems to be just as much a can of worms as the one we have. Better the devil you know than the one you don't.
We learned to live with our choices because: We clearly understood the true meaning of "RAID 1 is your friend, there is no other RAID but RAID 1".
We always stayed away from:
- The open file solutions aka the "grief bundle".
- Agents to backup other OS platforms over the wire aka "yet another grief bundle". (May work ok for 9-5 shops).
Now that we are migrating from 5.1 to 6.5 or OES, we will revisit the backup software "solution" again, this time armed with a good knowledge of how to find holes in the products.
The experiences of others can be a big help here.
Tape backups! Bl**dy hell - what a nightmare we've been having! We've been on Arcserve 9 for NetWare, but suffering from tremendous problems (not to mention bad technical support). We've been a beta site for Arcserve 11 for NetWare for the last 3 months, and have not had one successful backup & restore operation for either NW or GW (but they still think they can put it into public release).
We're about to move across to Backup Exec as a temp solution. We're about to purchase a consolidated storage solution, and we will be asking the successful vendor to implement a working backup solution as well.
We're just so fed up of Arcserve and backups that we're going to get someone else to choose and install our backup software!
So in answer to the question, we are handling our backups with a brick, a thick plank of wood, and a lot of luck!
I have been using the product from TapeWare (also sold by Novastore) for the last two years. I now find that I am in the same position as others, where the product is not keeping up with the features Novell has added to NetWare / NSS. Without making too many negative comments regarding the product, it has two very public issues - they currently do not support beyond NW 6.5 SP0 and they do not use Novell's TSA api.
As with the other posters, I would like to see an NSS-focused backup tool that supports the current (and future) feature set of NSS.
My company is part of a hosptial health care system of 18 hospitals and 100+ clinics. We are using Veritas Netbackup Datacenter 4.5. This product is a bit of work to get setup, but after the initial setup it has been working very well for us. When it comes to restores, if the tape says it has the file on it, it restores within minutes.
The NetBackup Datacenter product is quite different than Backup Exec. This product runs on either the W2K or Unix platforms (haven't checked on Linux yet). They do have an NLM that can run on a NetWare box to run as a media server.
My configuration of this product is 1 master / media server, and 3 additional media servers. I am backing up 3 hospitals from my main facility. In total around 70 NetWare and Microsoft boxes.
We have run Palindrome and Arcserve in the past. This product is light years ahead of those. Arcserve did have a prettier GUI front end, and Arcserve had all functionality through the GUI. NetBackup has gone through a number of companies and versions of growth. It was originally developed around the Unix platform. Because of this there are a number of advanced commands for which you must open a command prompt window and run a DOS oriented utility to accomplish the function. However, 98% of your work will be through their GUI.
I am running version 4.5, but I understand that with version 5.0 that there have been a lot of changes and a lot of the functions that required a DOS window to run have been incorporated into the GUI.
Additions: I have some additional comments to add about my tape backup successes. I read through others' replies and it has spurred on other issues I would gladly add to help others out.
I saw that someone mentioned the OFM that Veritas uses. It has also worked very well. I have applications that by FDA requirements have to have verified perfect backup. The Veritas (St Bernard OFM) has been very successful. I have had no issues of backing up and restoring to NSS volumes.
Hope this helps.
We are running Veritas Backup Exec 9.1 for Windows on a Win 2000 Server and using Veritas remote agents to back up from the NetWare servers. We are using Seagate, now Certance, LTO Ultrium drives.
This solution worked great until upgrading to NetWare 6.5.2 from NetWare 6.0.3. The problem is when Novell shifted to tsafs.nlm, our incremental times plummeted. Normally our incremental time took about 2 hours for about 15-20Gigs of data to around 9 hours. Our Full backup times improved by about 15% to 20% with tsafs.nlm. I'm sure it is how Veritas is submitting the request to the tsa that is the bottleneck. Veritas's suggestion was to revert back to the tsa600.nlm again. That doesn't seem like a viable solution if Novell is going to drop support for it.
We did test Syncsort's Backup Express around a year ago. The speed was comparable and seemed fairly easy to configure. Very basic interface at the time. They said they have updated the interface since then to a web interface. I have not used the product since they have updated the interface, nor have I seen how it interacts with tsafs.nlm. The support for the product seemed very good also. The product techs seemed very knowledgeable about their product.
After evaluating nearly all major vendors for an enterprise backup solution with good cross-platform support, we opted for SyncSort Backup Express. The product fit our needs and had excellent support for NetWare and clustering. We use it to backup three two-node NetWare 6 clusters attached to storage area networks, Solaris, Linux (both flavours!) and Windows. If it fits your budget then it is the best backup software I have used.
We are using Veritas NetBackup Datacenter which uses the same server client as Backup Exec. This seems to work great for us other than the speed we are gettting with our hardware environment. Anyway, Veritas NetBackup DataCenter which uses St. Bernard's open file manager. This essentially takes a snapshot of the volume and then backs up the snapshot to grab open files. Also works with the TSA for GroupWise. We just figured out that when you do a restore of GroupWise you must create a target with the DOS name space. Implementation may take support calls to both Veritas and St. Bernard. Make sure that you have the latest software supported by Veritas. St Bernard may have a newer Veritas build than Veritas has available on their site but confirm with both tech supports.
St Bernard was very helpful with supporting their Veritas vendor licensed software.
We use Rsync to sync changed files everyday to a central dedicated backup server. Rsync is cool in that it can be set to only sync files that have been modified since the last sync. It will be encrypted via SSL and compresses to save bandwidth.
Once on the central server I use Veritas Backup Exec 9.1 which works very well on NetWare 6 to back everything up to tape. What is nice about the central server idea is I don't have to worry about open files as this is an offline backup system. Rsync will actually grab open files as it only takes a snapshot of the file so you don't worry about it on the source either. One other thing nice about Rsync is you can backup cross-platform systems as well to NetWare like Linux and Windows.
I have been doing NW 6 and 6.5 backup solutions for many customers for a long time. It has not always been perfect, but by the most reliable solution I have found is with Veritas. I won't claim there have never been issues but normally the problems have pointed back at a NetWare setting. I have backed up NSS and Traditional without difficulties at this point. Normally the most difficult is optimizing the tsa's.
We work in the Small Business Suite arena, mostly with smaller businesses. The solution we use is TapeWare. Our only grumble is that with NSBS 6.5 using BM in a single server configuration we can't manage it using Windows workstations, neither party can see the other. The excuse I've been given is that managing a BM server remotely with TapeWare is not supported. Our installations tend to be single server so this is not really satisfactory. It would be better if our clients could at least check to see if the back up is working without need to use the server console or pointing them to a text file. We use the null stack so there must be another issue. It used to be OK in NSBS 6.0, we could manage remotely on single server installations. Any suggestions? Suse maybe?
When I was transferred to the department that I now support my initial task was to stabilize the backup system. When I took over, the solution was CA ArcServe -- in my opinion it was a terrible solution that was not Enterprise capable. The backup solution encompassed a Compaq San with a 4-node NetWare cluster (2 file/print, 2 GroupWise) and a 2-node (active/passive) Nt 4 cluster, 5 additional servers (3 NetWare, 2 Windows) in the same data center and 5 remote NetWare servers.
The first issue that I had with ArcServe was that the backup logs detailed successful backups but when it came time to restore, the jobs either failed or there was no data on the tapes (we never did resolve this issue and CA could not give us a valid answer). They had us purchase additional software from CA to enable backups of our cluster servers. After two weeks of trying to get the product to work we contracted with CA to send an engineer onsite. This was a 5-day support contract. After slightly more than three days (40 plus hours of my time) I informed my supervisor to send the engineer home. Even with his experience and inside support, CA could not make their software work.
I was tasked with finding a solution that would work, and began testing solutions from IBM (ADSM), Veritas (Netback and Backup Exec) and Syncsort (Backup Express). Testing was done on the same data for all solutions, a 20 Gig NetWare file volume and a 30 Gig GroupWise PO. ADSM was the corporate standard and as such all backups had to go to the mainframe solution. The initial backup ran at slightly more than 4 Gig's per hour. Restores took slightly longer than backups. We tested streaming data to disk and directly to tape-- the throughput was roughly the same. The issues we had with ADSM, speed, the throughput were not acceptable, especially with a 30 Gig GroupWise PO (approx 350,000 files) and the product was not SAN aware.
We used another division's installation of Veritas Netback to test with. Backup and restores had a throughput of about 9.9 Gig per hour. Cons: very expensive to implement, not fully cluster aware.
Veritas Backup Exec was tested running the data to our SAN attached TL895 library. Backup and restore throughput was around 8 Gig per hour. The software was very easy to install and the GUI was intuitive. Cons: not cluster aware and throughput was considered slow.
Syncsort Backup Express is not the easiest to install and the GUI is kind of old looking (I think this come from the fact that the product has its roots in Unix). This product streamed data to our SAN attached library at 13 to 14 Gig per hour. Restores were even faster; the GroupWise PO restored in just over two hours. Cons: the install is more complex (difficult) than the other products that I had to install. Pros: fast backups, faster restores, fully SAN aware (especially with NetWare). Cost was about 40% ~ 45% less than a comparable installation of Veritas Netback.
This is the only product that we found to be Novell Yes certified and fully SAN-aware. Is it perfect? No, I still have to baby sit backups, only now I only spend 10 or 15 minutes a night, not hours like I had to with ArcServe. The occasional issue that I have encountered has been quickly resolved by their tech support. Once or twice a month a job will initiate but never start streaming data. I cancel the job, restart it and everything works. In the two years that I have used this product I have only failed to completed one restore (a GW PO) and this was due to bad media (the tape broke).
Is there a perfect backup solution, a one size fits all, configure and forget it? In my dreams. In reality implementing Syncsort Backup Express has restored my sanity, eliminated all-niters, and the confidence that I can recover files from tape barring a hardware/tape failure allows me to sleep most nights. I'm sure that all the products mentioned above have changed (including Syncsort) in the two years since I tested, but I will not recommend any product other than Syncsort as an Enterprise solution, especially where NetWare and/or SAN technology is a consideration.
We have had Computer Associates Arcserve (currently Brighstore 9.01) running as a backup solution on our NetWare servers since 1995, and have always had frequent problems with it. I, too, would thus be extremely interested in a product that would do the job in a proper way, and without administrators having to double-check on a daily basis how the backup is behaving, and spend hours and hours trying to fix problems.
We were using Arcserve, but in the process of upgrading our GroupWise to 6.0 we found out that the version we had didn't run well on the version of NetWare we wanted, and thus had to upgrade, and the upgraded version didn't support TSA's.
So we switched to BackupExec. The BackupExec is running on a Windows server, with a tape library, and it's doing pretty good. We did however have several months were backups failed due to this or that problem.
There are caveats with setting the TSA's correctly, both the GWTSA and the TSAFS needs some specific settings to work properly, but it's doing a pretty good job of backing up Groupwise POA's, NSS-pools, Linux drives, Windows servers, so all in all it's working ok. There's still quite a lot of maintenance on it though.
We have just done a review of our Backup Strategy over the next three years and chose to commit to SyncSort Backup Express ver 2.1.5D (Version 2.2 available in US). A solution designed for Unix, Windows, Linux and NetWare environments in ONE product.
However be warned this product is an enterprise solution and for us was three times the cost of Arcserve. Also, the GUI is very Windows 3.11! But you can very easily overlook this if you gain reliability & performance. Oh and I do believe that the next version up will simply use a web browser to do all the management via TCP/IP. Simple but effective.
One final point, I got pushed into reviewing and buying Arcserve/Veritas by the seniors. Stand your ground. Quite simply put, if you want a good night sleep then trial SyncSort Backup Express. You may be surprised.
I was completely fed up with CA and Veritas. Now I use BackupExpress from Syncsort (www.syncsort.com) for my three cluster nodes (NW6) and SAN. It's very fast and there is really good support.
At PepsiCo UK we are just finishing a migration from Arcserve (Brightstor) on internal Dell Vs80 (DLT 1) drives. I can't put into words, the relief of finally getting shot of the product.
Arcserve 9 caused us less problems than 7 but still had a tendency to abend servers, use too many resources, and backup slowly (although the VS80 tapes are probably to blame there). The worst thing about Arcserve, in our experience, is the pain of the management software on Windows when trying to restore files.
In our new backup system, we 'RSYNC' all remote site data to a DR server at the head office during the evening. This means we can decommission remote tape drives, which is great, as the tapes end up being left in the server room and changed infrequently as there is no IT on the sites. The downside to RSYNC is the lack of enterprise logging so we know when problems are occurring.
The massive plus for the DR server, is that a quick change in the login script and our remote users can be working on the DR server while we can fix issues with their local server.
The DR server, and the local file and print servers backup using HP Omni Back (Data Protector) running on a HP-UX machine (HP-9000) The backups go to a LTO 2 drive, either a single direct attached device or a library attached to our SAN.
Omni-bak has a small client which is very straightforward to install-- all that's needed is an eDirectory account to login with. The client doesn't display a screen on the server which is the only downside, you can't tell if the backup is running on the server without checking CPU utilization. The management interface is easy to use, has just about every conceivable option, and is very fast.
We see backup rates of above 30Mb/sec, restores work well, however LTO drives can overpower our aging RAID controller's ability to write to disks. I found turning caching IO on on the controller helped.
We use a 28-day cycle of tapes, all full backups, 7 days a week. Every 4 weeks, on period end (we have 13 per year), a tape is kept for 1 year. The last period (13) is kept as the yearly backup for an indefinite length of time, not less than 7 years.
We have been using NovaStor NovaNET for several years to back up two NetWare servers. It has been reliable, and tech support is good. After a service pack we had a memory leak (more like hemorrhage) and they had a fix quickly. The only down side is that it does not use the NetWare TSA's, but relies on NWASPI. It has not been a critical issue in our shop, although we need to use an OFM for the GroupWise post office.
We dropped Legato due to the pathetic Novell support other than 4.x and 5.x. Our choice was down to either Veritas Netbackup or Syncsort.
There are some issues with Netbackup and clusters, but it will allow you to backup any server running TSA, so the client cost can be greatly reduced. Backing up clusters using TSA with no client works great for us, including a Groupwise Cluster.
Veritas NetBackup has saved us a huge amount of work compared to Legato purely in its better handling of tape rotations and tape expiry.
The NetWare support is very good, especially the way we can choose not to purchase a licence for every server that we need to backup. This works by creating a target on one server that points to the others server, ie: a target to \\SERVER2\DATA is defined on SERVER1
Syncsort looked like a great product at first but we encountered two huge "showstoppers" for us.
First the cost, Syncsort was almost three times the cost of Veritas Netbackup, I would hate to think how much more it costs than a Backup Exec installation. The problem was the cost of the tape library license which alone was more than the entire cost of Veritas.
Secondly and the real kicker, the sales rep. He was unhappy with the fact that it looked like we may be heading towards Veritas, so rather than reduce prices or give more information started emailing our upper management. His emails basically said that our evaluation was flawed and that we were not technically competent to do our jobs properly.
With tactics like that, I wouldn't purchase from Syncsort even if they were that last vendor on earth.
True backup solutions are very complex and there are many issues.
We are using Veritas BackupExec 9.1 for NetWare. We also use the remote agents (NetWare and Windows). All of my NetWare servers are 6.5 SP2. We are doing a Full on Fridays and differential the rest of the week. We do have redundant backup. All NetWare servers are media servers and I have one server that backs up all of the other servers. So I have a bit of security.
There seems to be a major issue with the way NetWare does caching during backup. This is a known issue with major implications (we you need to do a restore). This affects the GWTSA as well as the TSAFS. Found out before is became critical (I think).
The only cure or work around seems to be an modification to the BKS file. I have learned how to do this with a text editor, but can be done via the Windows Console (I do not like the program). The biggest problem I find with Veritas is getting past the first line tech support people to get the real answers.
I do know that Novell is working on a TSAFS that will not cache the files during backup (the problem with backup). I have not received that file yet, but I know our agency has it. Since the line added will not affect anything (it will remain). So as far as I can tell all of the problems are related to NetWare not the programs...
Tape backup. Well, at a large hospital I worked for we decided to move away from tape. We went with a product from Evault that does block level backups of the changed files and stores the backup data to disk. One thing that set Evault apart from other disk backup solutions was that it did not write data to disk-like traditional backup software, sequentially. It instead uses random I/O
We were also disappointed with the performance of Arcserve and Backup Exec. We also have to keep data for seven years due to open records laws (we are local government). This proved to be a challenge due to the fact technologies kept changing and retrieving data from that far back was difficult.
A vendor pointed us to a product that did disk-to-disk backups. The system called the Data Protection Unit and is manufactured by Unitrends. The DPU also comes with a product called "bare metal". This is great for disaster recovery. The system will be backed up within 20 minutes and only took three steps to get there! The unit is a network appliance running Linux. It also can backup multiple systems at once, shorting the backup window. We have a Gig backbone so what took all weekend to backup using Backup Exec and an AIT library, now takes less than a day on three removable hard drives.
We are currently looking at atempo.com. They seem to have taken a fresh look at backup and have some very intriguing features. One feature I hope to see in other backup packages is the ability to manage a SAN snapshot as if it were a backup: configure your SAN to make a snapshot of your production volumes to some cheap SATA drives at night; when you need to restore a file, the backup software pulls it from the snapshot and not tape.
Currently I have servers with their own internal tape drives using Veritas BackupExec. But I have two offices and have to rely on end users to swap tapes at the other office. I'm also running into capacity issues. So I am planning on installing a central backup server with lots of disk space. Then I'll use Avanti's TaskMaster to sync all servers to the backup server. The backup server will have its own tape drive and I'll back it up to tape for off-site storage.
Last week we migrated from Veritas BackupExec 9.0 to Commvault Qinetix. We have around 500GB of data, 300GB of data is located on a HP SAN based on HSG80's and a robotic tape library.
One of the major problems with all backup solutions seems to be the throughput speed the OS can deliver for getting your tape library in streaming mode. It appears you will get around 7Mb per second while the robot should get around 11Mb per second. With our amount of data this means we have major problems with our backup window.
For that reason we now have Commvault installed. It's a wonderful product except for the idea that Microsoft is partially a shareholder.
We bought an HP DL380 G4 with an extra SCSI board. We also bought an HP MSA20 disk cabinet with 8x 250GB SATA disks. The cabinet is attached to the DL380. Unfortunately the Commvault software has to be on a Windows 2000 server, but so be it. As long as it keeps my backup OK, I will have to close my eyes while I am using the Console :-)
The idea behind this is that we first create a copy of the realtime data to an near line storage pool across our network. We are doing five copies at the same time to the disks from five different servers.
The copy job runs full on Friday and incremental during the rest of the week. After the copies have been made to disk we create a secondary copy of the full or incrementals to the tape library. This secondary copy already writes with 11Mb p.second because it's coming from the M##### system.
Our next step is to see if we can write in multiplex mode to the library. This means that data from multiple OS's is going to be written at the same time to the streamer. And this could possibly give you higher throughput.
The product is complex but it could be worth it!
For questions just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a small server farm with NetWare 6.5 (2-node-cluster), a few NetWare 5.1 machines and server with SUN Solaris, Linux, Windows and a SAN. As we introduced NetWare 6.5 we tried different backup vendors. First we had Veritas BackupExec, because it worked a long time in our company. But we had a lot of problems during backup of the NetWare cluster. Especially if cluster-resources made failover from a node to other node, the backup failed. BackupExec couldn't reconnect to the cluster-resource after failover. Same problem we had with Legato Networker.
Then I got a flyer from Syncsort at an exhibition and we decided to test it. The installation of BackupExpress was easy and fast. All of our hardware was supported. Some initial problems were solved by the Syncsort support team in short time. Now we back up all our systems with BackupExpress 2.1.5D. The GUI is not the best, because it's a java application and sometimes crashes it.
Syncsort offers frequent updates and patches. Software agents and open-file manager are available for all operating systems. We back up our systems nightly with a backup-to-hard-disk concept. Over the day all data are transfered to SDLT220 tape libraries. Libraries are connected to the master server (it contains catalog databases) and to a few device servers (for better performance and load balancing).
Our system consists of a dedicated NetWare 6.5 sp 2 backup server running Computer Associates Brightstor ARCserve 9.01 with two HP Surestor 1/9 DLT8000 changers. This unit backs up two Windows 2003 Servers, one Windows 2000 Server, five NetWare 5.1 sp 5 servers, two NetWare 6.5 sp 2 servers, four NetWare 6.5 sp 2 cluster nodes and eight Cluster virtual servers (includes three GroupWise POAs). The total amount of data on a full backup is 2.2 TB. Speeds vary on the remote servers from 250 MB/Min to a painful 33 MB/Min. We run ARCserve in differential backup mode, a full backup on Fridays run for 49 hours or so.
The Windows servers use the CA ARCSERVE client for their backups. The NetWare 5.1 servers use TSA500, and the NetWare 5.1 box that hosts the GroupWise Domain / MTA is running GWTSA. The NetWare 6.5 servers all run TSAFS v6.50.11 ( I think that is from TSA5UP17 ). The trick we found with the TSAFS was to load it with the "/nocachingmode" flag on Monday through Thursday, and with "/cachingmode" on Friday. This increased both the differential speed and the full backup speed immensely. We started loading this by using the NRM Scheduled Tasks so that these parameters are loaded 15 minutes before our backup kicks off. We then moved this to ZENworks for Servers scheduler.
The cluster virtual servers have been the problem children - all of the non-cluster volumes backup with a good speed between 250 MB/Min to about 130 MB/Min. The cluster varies between 170 MB/Min to 33 MB/Min. The 33 MB/Min is on a 90 GB volume that has thousands of small CAD files. For the three GroupWise POAs running on the cluster we use TSAFS with the /EnableGW=yes on its load, we also have the TSA.CFG with GroupWise enabled. This will backup the GroupWise database and will have its own open file management built into it. We are not using GWTSA on the clustered POAs, and when we move the domain we will not be using GWTSA anywhere.
It has taken us about a month to get this configuration running as it is now. The rotations are running correctly, the backups are performing well. We have even run two test restores of the entire system to check that our procedures are working correctly and the data is restored correctly.
The primary two issues we still need to solve are the slow down below 70 MB/Min on the backups, and the occasional lockup of the backup engine. We have looked at ARCserve r11.1, but only have run it in the test environment.
For almost four months we have been working with Veritas Netbackup. We are backing up Novell NetWare 6.5 and several Windows servers (nt4,w2k and 2003). Also we are backing up a SAN (ndmp backups). The mixed environment can be managed within one console.
The setup wasn't easy, the Novell servers gave some headaches but with skilled help from Veritas we finally got it to work (tip: use target method instead of the ipx non-target method). For the command line freaks: it's full of command line options which I couldn't find in the gui, this could be mentioned as a disadvantage. Previously we used Backup Exec which had some strange errors which sometimes occurred and then disappeared. So compared to that, Netbackup is a far better product.
We used to have problems using Arcserve and Veritas but since we dropped this solution our lives are much better now. The way we handle tape backups is through a company called Evault which backs up our information over the internet using a very simple yet powerful backup agent/software. If you are having problems with tape backups then I recommend this solution.
Well I must admit this has been a sore in my backside for many years. As a systems integrator we service and support a lot of the clients we have and backup has always been a headache. We've used Arcserve for NetWare, Windows and Linux, Backup Exec for NetWare and Windows and Retrospect for Windows.
The issues are with Brightstor its open files that are not backed up and this of course causes problems. So what we try to do is run a script to close down any open files (however there are some that cannot be closed).
So far to date BS Arcserve support has been the best (once you pay them, the e-mail support sucks big time).
It never fails that when you apply a service pack, all hell breaks loose then you have to start all over with the tech support folks to get fixes for the backup.
I'll be keeping an eye on other solutions, but so far I like the one that is using rsync as this is what we are about to introduce to our clients.
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