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Arcserve 11.5 SP4 Backup does not start on first tape in group

Posted on 2010-08-23
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi

We are running Arcserve 11.5 SP4 on a 2003 server SP1, destination is an overland Neo 2000.
Our weekly backups are split into 3 jobs.
Job 1 only uses 1 tape.
Job 2 group has access to use the rest of the slots in the first magazine (slots 4-14).
Job 3 group has access to use all of the slots in the second magazine (slots 15-28).

The backups have been running fine for a while, but a few months back Job 2 started using the tape in the 2nd slot in it's group (slot 5) as it's first tape and then if necessary running over to slot 2.
This wasn't a big issue, it doesn't usually run over so I was inserting the first tape for the backup job into slot 3.
Recently though Job 3 has started doing something similar, but instead of starting on slot 16 it starts on slot 25 and then runs through 28, begins again on 15 and then finishes on slot 22 or 23!

We're at a loss as to why this would be.
All of the weekly tapes are formatted on a Thursday and ejected once that is done.
The daily backup which use slots 1 & 2 don't have this same problem, but the way things are going I am expecting this to start any time soon!

Any suggestions anyone can make would be most appreciated.

Thanks
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Question by:KP360Desktops
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by:dax_bad
ID: 33499222
Hey KP360Desktops

Your issue happens as a mix of media pool retention time / the split groups / Available scratch media locked to media pools. This creates a complex setup with no room for error with regards to handling the tapes. The job jumps to another slot because the tapes in the previous slots are locked by retention time on its media pool and thus wont be used untill Database pruning job releases the tape. (You do have the Pruning job running right?)

What are those 3 jobs doing? 1 for daily, 1 for weekly and the 3rd? To me it looks like you've made the setup a lot more complex than need be.

How many tape streamers are connected to the Neo2000

I'd recommend to enable the globalscratchset and 1or more GFS (daily, weekly and monthly, incr mon - thu and full on fri) job and set the destination on tape library group level rather than on slot level (create one parent group with all slots instead of 3 split groups). Use the retention time on the mediapools to control when a daily/weekly/monthly tape can be overwritten.

Cheers
Daniel
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Author Comment

by:KP360Desktops
ID: 33499377
Hi Daniel

Thanks for the fast response.

I'm only just getting into the backups so am not sure of every aspect but I will get the info I am not sure about and let you know.

I do know that the Database pruning job runs daily at midnight.

The 3 jobs I mentioned are just the weekly / monthly jobs.
We have a different backup job for the daily's.

Job 1 backs up the exchange and sql and has its destination set to group 1
Jobs 2 & 3 back up various data servers and have their destinations set to groups 2 and 3 respectively.
We split the data backup into 2 jobs so they could run simultaneously and get the backups done faster.

The issue with job 2 starting on the wrong slot has also been happening on the monthly backups. These are always run with brand new tapes.
I have yet to see if the issue with job 3 also happens with the monthly backup, but I will test as soon as I can and respond.

Thanks

Matt
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by:dax_bad
ID: 33499444
Hey Matt

Since you split the jobs to let them run simultaneously im guessing you have 2+ tape streamers.

Do you have the global scratch set enabled? Or can the jobs only use scratch media belonging to specific media pools(default)?

Im almost positive that eventhough you assign a group of slots to a group in ARCserve, then you can never be sure which slot it will use first. It sends a SCSI cmd to the library and will use the slot the library tells the system to use. I dont know of anyway to set a preferred order which is what you want. That is why i suggested the above setup because this eliminates that specific issue + less maintenance for you (you can put any scratch tape anywhere in the library).

You don't have to use 3 different groups. Create one with all slots, then enable global scratch set if not already enabled and you just have to set the options for the jobs to overwrite same media name,blank first then any media for first and additional media (only required to set this for non-GFS jobs). Set the media retention time on the mediapools and use the globalscratchset report to see which tapes can be reused, very easy to administrate this way.

The above setup is running on 5 of our minor sites and works like a charm

For bigger sites, it becomes a bit more complex.

also if possible attach the <Install dir>\Log\Brighstor.log and the tape.log if its not too big.

Cheers
Daniel
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Author Comment

by:KP360Desktops
ID: 33499614
Hi Daniel

As we don't use media pools we don't have either of these options set.
The backup should just send the data to to backup groups.

I remember a while back we did have 1 group for the whole backup, but this was changed I believe to make the admin easier and because we found issues when running jobs simultaneously to a single group.

I've removed all entries prior to Wednesday from our log file and attached.

From what you say though, it sounds as though our tape library could be giving the wrong tape when the backup starts?

Matt
BrightStor.log
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Expert Comment

by:dax_bad
ID: 33499868
Hey Matt

Ok i dont really see any specific errors related to this issue in the log, i need the tape.log for that.

I dont understand why you're not using mediapools and globalscratch as this really eliminates human error. Anyway, since you're not using this what are the global options for each job on the Backup media tab like, the default will result in an issue with your setup?

options.png
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Author Comment

by:KP360Desktops
ID: 33499945
Thanks Daniel

We have the Overwrite Same Media Name, or Blank Media set for both First and Additional media.

Tape log fine attached.
TAPE.LOG
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Accepted Solution

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dax_bad earned 500 total points
ID: 33508969
Alright

From the logs it looks like the system is choosing a "Random" tape because of the "overwrite same media or blank media" option and by the looks of it there's no barcode reader right? Which means that ARCserve identifies the tape by its media name header and the RID (also called media ID). This ID is random generated on a format request by a job, so ARCserve will look for the first tape in the sequence and use that first, this means that it will appear to be random tape it picks when you insert tapes into a specific set of slots, because you can't see these IDs. However, ARCserve should also use tapes in the first sequence of slots in the group at some point, there's just no way to control it in your setup.

I still strongly recommend that you set your system up to use mediapools and global scratch media  (if you dont have already,.enable the barcode reader and use barcodes on your tapes). There wont be a problem with just 1 group if the jobs doesnt overlap mediapools (2 jobs cant write to the same medialpool at the same time).

We actually had a similar setup done by CA on one of our small sites before we took it under control. First thing i did was to scratch the entire setup and used the above. our Local admin at the site agrees its a lot less work. Al you do is export and import tapes to the system.

Cheers
Hope that explains it a bit.


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Expert Comment

by:dax_bad
ID: 33528883
Hey Matt,

Did my above explanation make any sense to you? :-)

/Daniel
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Author Comment

by:KP360Desktops
ID: 33540057
Hi Daniel

Some sense yes :)

I'm just waiting to discuss with the team lead to see what he thinks and will let you know how we get on.

Thanks

Matt
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Expert Comment

by:dax_bad
ID: 33540297
Alright,

Let me know if i can be of any further assistance :-)

Since you're at it, i would also encourage you to upgrade to R12.5 or R15 as these support windows 2008 R2 (R12 is enough for win2k8 SP2) and have alot better funtionality like better reports, dashboards and AD integrated logins to name a few.

Cheers
Daniel
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