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How to schedule automatic restart of Symantec Backup Exec Services after USB drives are exchanged

Posted on 2009-05-18
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
We are running Symantec Backup Exec 12.5.  We have a dedicated backup server running Windows Server 2003 with Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 installed.  The server has local 4TB raid array.  Nightly backups are made to this local array.  Weekly, we push a complete nightly backup to an external USB drive.  The day after the external backup runs, an employee is assigned the duty of swapping the drives and securing it in an offisite location.  This insures that we have an offsite backup of our data in the event a fire or major disaster distroys our backup array.  All of this works perfectly except that the Symantec services must be restarted before Symantec attempts to run the offsite backup job or the software will not recognize that the drives have been swapped.  

Symantec apparantly has recognized the problem and instead of fixing the program to see the hotswap drives as windows does, Symanted has provided an application called hotswap.exe that is in the Program Files\Symantec\Backup Exec directory that can be run to restart the services and detect any hotswap devices that are installed.  It works and is an easy way to restart the services without actually having to go stop and start each service manually.  The problem is that the someone has to log in to the server each time a drive is changed out and run the hotswap program.

Is there a fix out there that will solve the problem with Backup Exec recognizing hot-swappable drives automatically?  Or, is there a fix that will provide for the restarting of the Backup Exec services to be set up on a schedule and restarted automatically?  I have tried to do it with a batch file configured as a scheduled task, but it is unreliable and if it fails to restart correctly my backups fail.  What I would really like is some kind of Symantec supported solution for the problem such as an update or hotfix of some kind, but any comment or idea would be appreciated.
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Question by:wpsindustries
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13 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:steveoskh
ID: 24423087
I was going to suggest the windows schedule, but it looks like you already went there.
Do I understand that the person doing the HD swap is doing it without checking the status of the backups?  I would think that part of the Offsite procedure would be to make sure the backup completed and then restart the service.  If the person doing this does not have logins to the server, you can run the console from another machine which will also tell you if the service is running or not.

I no longer use it, but there was a job you could run that would test to see if the backup had the tape and space needed to run the next job.  I had the results emailed to me or sent to my cell phone.  I did this during a time when the person changing the tapes was not very reliable.   Not a fix, but not getting the email would let you know there is a problem.
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Author Comment

by:wpsindustries
ID: 24423648
The user that swaps out the drives doesn't have access to the server console.  Backup Exec sends him an email when the backup completes and reports whether the backup was successful or fails, so he knows that it is OK to swap out the drives.  That process works well and I prefer to not change that.

We run complete backups nightly to the local drive array, but the external backup is configured to run weekly each Wednesday night.  It usually completes around 4:00am, emails him that it was successful, and he swaps the drive sometime Thursday morning.  The external backup will not run again unitil the following Wednesday.  The problem is that Backup-Exec doesn't recognize that the drives have been changed unitil the services are restarted.  When I attempted to automate the restart of the services with a scheduled task batch file, it would sometimes fail to work properly and was causing my nightly backups to fail.

Currently, I have an outlook reminder that pops up and tells me to restart the services before the next scheduled backup.  This works, but I would like a reliable method to automate that process, or preferrably, fix Backup Exec to recognize that the drives have been changed.
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Expert Comment

by:SelfGovern
ID: 25049726
Can you put an autorun.inf on the backup drives so that it runs when they're connected?

If not, can you put together a CD with an autorun.inf and set it up to do the stop/start of services... possibly with a notification to you and this user that the job did or did not complete successfully?
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Expert Comment

by:steveoskh
ID: 25056837
wpsindustries,  Just a long shot.  You said you did not want to give access to the server console to this person.  You can run the BE software console on a remote machine that this user could access.  I am not sure if the services restart will work when run from a remote machine or not.
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Expert Comment

by:SelfGovern
ID: 25225999
FWIW, I suspect that SteveOSKH's second answer is the correct one, and he should get the points.
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by:steveoskh
ID: 25226478
Thanx SelfGovern,  I will respect the admins decision either way.  Too bad so many users fail to follow up on questions they post.
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Accepted Solution

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wpsindustries earned 0 total points
ID: 25226526
I have received several good ideas and have tried them.  The idea of the autorun.inf was promising, but I haven't been able to make it run correctly.  The other solutions were good ideas and appreciated, but they all required some kind of user interaction with the server, and the main idea of the original posted question was to attempt to automate this process.  

I think the answer to the question is that there is not a firmly reliable way to automate the changing of external USB drives and their recognition to BackupExec without some kind of user interaction with the server to restart BackupExec services, or at least to verify that they have restarted correctly.

I think this post has merit and although there wasn't a definitive solution to the proposed question, I think the members and public can benifit from this exchange and I don't see why the question should be deleted.
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Expert Comment

by:SelfGovern
ID: 25227419
"I think this post has merit and although there wasn't a definitive solution to the proposed question, I think the members and public can benifit from this exchange and I don't see why the question should be deleted."

The way that this site works, you might have to 'accept an answer' and assign points if you want the discussion kept.
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