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Backup Exec Tape Library - media rotation question

Posted on 2011-03-02
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I have  server with an IBM TS3100 (23-slot) library connected and an LTO5 tape drive.

The B2T is for off-site DR.  It seems like it's a royal pain to figure out which tape to eject and get it out of the library to put in the safe.  Many people suggest running a full week backup and taking a whole week out at a time.

My users are used to a single drive with one tape per day and either ejecting it manually or having the job eject - then they put the tape in the safe and get the tape for the scheduled backup.

My problem with this approach is that by the end of the week, my tapes in the safe are 5-7 days old.  Not a good DR plan in my book.

Can someone point me to a good strategy for end users who don't want to have to do a lot of clicking or extra work to get tapes off-site every day?
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Question by:snowdog_2112
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Expert Comment

by:joshbula
ID: 35022939
Switch to external hard drives if you have the capacity.  Three drives--one primary backup that stays connected, and two rotate for off-site or in the safe.  Backup exec (I use 2010... not sure about earlier versions) will automatically copy the backup to whichever off-site drive is connected (or FTP them somewhere).  Every night or so, swap out the off-site copies.
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Aaron Tomosky earned 500 total points
ID: 35022955
My personal opinion is to move to disk. My users also didn't want to remove 7 tapes at a time. So I setup a slow inexpensive raid 6 nas Offsite and do a synch every night. I feel that tapes are too small to hold the amount of data I'm storing to be rotated out constantly.

However in defense of tapes, I believe they are good for keeping a snapshot of the data from a month, quarter, or year ago. I just don't like them for dr.
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Author Comment

by:snowdog_2112
ID: 35023439
I've been tasked with making the tape work, so I'm looking for case use doc on the gear my customer already has (which wasn't cheap to begin with).
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by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 35027912
Is the library off site or the safe?

If the library is offsite then why bother with the safe, if not consider putting it offsite.

If you are doing the traditional Grandfather-Father-Son tape backup, then keep the latest two versions in the safe (plus any archives) and eject ALL of the latest backup and refill with the oldest backup. If you are using LT05's i can't imagine that you are using very many tapes per backup? If you are then consider using Incrementals-forever and synthetic fulls
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Author Comment

by:snowdog_2112
ID: 35111253
connollyg:

The library is onsite in the same server rack as the resources getting backed up.  I can fit a full backup on 1 LTO5 tape for now, but that may grow past the capacity within a year.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to have the most recent tape(s) offsite/safe.

I'm looking for a set of procedures I can give the users - including how to physically get a tape out of the Library. I don't see how I can even eject a tape without going to the web interface on the library.  (In another issue, the web gui shows me the same barcode in *every* slot that has a tape, but that appears to be a separate issue).

Do I need to partition the library for, say 3 partitions of 7 days, and then the remaining slots for cleaning and miscellaneous one-off backup jobs?

I appreciate your time and insight!
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by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 35128163
What Backup software are you using as it should be able to automagically eject the tape for you.

Bit dubious about your use of the "partitioning" word. In my vocabulary it means keeping separate pools of tapes for different independantly connnected servers, not for different days, the tapes for one server would normally be in one pool.

Are the tapes physically labeled with the same barcode? if so thats an issue you need to resolve, hopefully the label on the media is different.

Don't worry about your backups going onto more than one tape as your backup software should handle that.
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Author Comment

by:snowdog_2112
ID: 35189051
Software: Backup Exec 2010
The "paritioning" is a term used in both the IBM and Symantec docs.  It was my understanding that I would create pools of tapes for different weeks, and link the media sets in BE to the partitions in the library.

Again...I'm new to libraries, I've used single drive installs since before Seagate owned Backup Exec.

The tapes have unique barcode labels (they came with the 5-pack carts), but at the moment, both BE and the library say I have the same barcode label in the 5 slots containing tapes.

I appreciate the input!
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Author Closing Comment

by:snowdog_2112
ID: 36229765
Not the answer I was looking for, but using a Tape Library seems counter to all Best Practices for DR planning - why would you leave the most current tapes in the library, sitting right next to the physical server?  In a physical disaster, you'd be screwed!
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