Legato Agent hanging with MS SQL Server 2000.. backup advice?

Hi folks,

I'm the sysadmin for my company, and we host most of our production servers at an external NOC. This NOC does our backups on a separate network using Legato.

Many times a backup job for a not so huge database takes over 10 hours -- much longer than it should. I believe it's because it is hanging. Since Legato is the only way for us to interface with their backup site, the Legato SQL Agent puts a real huge toll on our database, and I'm looking for options (and assigning BIG points for this).

Anyways, as I understand it the native SQL backup utility isn't enough, because it doesn't allow us to restore a single table but rather, the entire database. I'm not a DBA, so I can't speak to the truth of this but I would like to have some information to bring to my boss to get an alternative solution, because Legato hangs constantly and we can't be without some of our DBs, they are the core of our business.

I would appreciate, given our situation, a proper backup strategy for databases. We have a DBA here as well but I just want to get independant answers without involving him (thus tainting my question) and then discuss it with him to come up with the best solution we can present to the boss. Keep in mind, doing our own tape backups is rather impossible because we are limited to the rack space we have and getting tape libraries to back up all of our databases, and additionally worry about tape swaps and off site storage -- this is all taken care of us for by the NOC.

I would really appreciate any help you folks can give.

Thanks!
overworkedopsAsked:
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Connect With a Mentor Billing EngineerCommented:
>Anyways, as I understand it the native SQL backup utility isn't enough, because it doesn't allow us to restore a single table but rather, the entire database.
you won't get any better in non-native SQL Server backup utilities. at most, filegroup restore is possible, however with that, putting each (large) table into it's own filegroup, you can simulate a table restore.
usually, i restore to a separate database anyhow, and use update/delete/insert statement to sync the table from the restored table.

if legato hangs on the online backups, ensure the RETRY setting is set to 0 and the TIMEOUT setting is set to a high value.
Also, ensure that you backup the transaction log regulary, but at different times from the full backups.
if you have really big and multiple databases (what are your sizings?), you should create 1 schedule per database for the full backups, and 1 schedule per database for the transaction log backups.

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overworkedopsAuthor Commented:
Is that RETRY setting and TIMEOUT value set on the SQL server, or on the Legato server? We do not have access to the Legato server -- it's all in the hands of the NOC.

Thanks!
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
>Is that RETRY setting and TIMEOUT value set on the SQL server, or on the Legato server?
that are settings on the client definition for the backup.
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overworkedopsAuthor Commented:
Okay I'm in the networker Administrator... can you walk me thru where I might find these settings? I looked under "Manage Clients" but found no settings like those you mentioned.
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
first, what version do you have?
do you have activated to see the advanced settings in the options menu (need to reconnect after changing that setting).

Actually, the retry is in the group, not the client (sorry for that). I don't work with the settings every day...
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overworkedopsAuthor Commented:
Networker Administrator
Version 7.1.2.Build.325

What we have installed is NetWorker Administrator, Networker User, and Networker User for SQL Server.

I still don't see those settings under the 'group' but like I said, most of this is managed by the NOC... should I just request they fix that on their end?

Also, any other advice as far as backups go? The file backups work fine, I was thinking for Legato to do backups of the .BAK files that the SQL Server does, but I'm not sure... we can't restore a single table that way. True or not?

Thanks again!
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
>I was thinking for Legato to do backups of the .BAK files that the SQL Server does, but I'm not sure... we can't restore a single table that way. True or not?
true, but you cannot restore a single table in the sql agent neither.


>I still don't see those settings under the 'group' but like I said
did you set the show hidden settings already?

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overworkedopsAuthor Commented:
Which hidden settings are these?

And what do you mean you cant restore a single table with the sql agent? Can you go a bit more in depth? I would be more comfortable switching off to Legato backing up the full SQL native .bak backups.. anything wrong with that, as opposed to using the SQL Agent to do the backups?

Thanks again!
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
>And what do you mean you cant restore a single table with the sql agent?
correct. I explained above already (see filegroups)

I do prefer the combined method: have both legato perform the full backup online, plus the backup to disk.
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overworkedopsAuthor Commented:
So using the Legato agent, there's no way to restore a single table? (Sorry for the repetition... just trying to understand). If that's the case, what is the point of doing a SQL Agent backup versus backing up the native SQL .BAK file?

And I still haven't found those 'hidden' settings...

Thanks!
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
>So using the Legato agent, there's no way to restore a single table? (Sorry for the repetition... just trying to understand). If that's the case, what is the point of doing a SQL Agent backup versus backing up the native SQL .BAK file?

well, doing a backup to .bak and then a backup to tape requires additional space on the server itself, and requires additional IO on the server, which is to be avoided on some environments.

>And I still haven't found those 'hidden' settings...
in the legato OPTIONS, click "CUSTOMIZE"
in the windows configuration, ensure the "display hidden attributes" is checked
if it was not checked, check it, close and reopen the legato administrator

in the group, choose to Edit.
the settings are
"Client Retries" -> should be 0
"Inactivity timeout" -> should be a high value, like 120 (minutes)

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overworkedopsAuthor Commented:
Won't a retry of 0 give us crap backups constantly though?

Thanks again!
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overworkedopsAuthor Commented:
Okay I am displaying hidden attributes.... I find nothing under any field ... I clicked NetWorker Groups - Manage Groups, and there's no option for client retries. Same under Client Operations - Manage Clients.

Thanks for any more help!
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
>Won't a retry of 0 give us crap backups constantly though?
no. actually, for online backups the retry value should be always 0, because those online modules don't usually implement the retry.
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overworkedopsAuthor Commented:
Any documentation that could verify that as far as the retry value?

And I still can't find that setting, as I mentioned just now :)
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
did you restart the legato administrator?
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overworkedopsAuthor Commented:
Yes, I did. Nothing that I could see.
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
Well, Possibly you don't have the permissions to see those settings anyway.
As I never used the security settings of legato, I don't know about how far that could apply
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overworkedopsAuthor Commented:
That is likely it then... I will check with the backup engineers who monitor our servers and see what they have to say about it.

Thanks again, you win the points :)
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