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I need help understanding Backup Exec and Robotic Tape Library

Created: 14 Jan 2013 | 4 comments

Hi everyone,

I started a new role recently and have been given the task of working out how to use Backup exec 2010 R3 and our IBM TS3100 tape library to backup our Veeam backup's so we can store them in a safe/offsite.

Unfortunatly our predecors did not leave us much information on how to use the tape library and never having used one myself I am struggling to get my head around how it all works.

This is our situation, in a little more detail......

We currently have Veeam backing up a number of VM's on a daily/weekly basis.  This works well but the files are all backed up to a SAN located in the on-site server room.  If there is a fire/disaster in the server room we would have no off-site backup of these files created by Veeam.  We would like to backup these files to our IBM TS3100 tape library (also located in the server room) so that we can on a daily basis take the relevant tapes out of the library for safe/off site storage.

In theory this all sounds quite straight forward, however I am really confused about the removal of the tapes from the library.  It seems to me as though the library is not really designed to regularly have tapes taken out for off-site storage and it is more designed for them just to constantly stay in the library permantly rotating and being reused.  This is of course crazy if your library is located in the same location as the servers you want to backup.

I have discovered the I/O station (which I understant is more commonly known as the mail slot), but it seems like a crazy amount of effort to use the library's web ui to manually move each tape to the I/O station for storage.

Any words of advice, pointers or guides regarding using BE and tape library's would be appreciated

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CraigV's picture


Well you remove tapes as, and when needed. I had daily tapes swopped out each week, along with a weekly tape. This was done on a Monday when the 2nd set of Daily tapes was inserted into the library, and this worked well.

So swopping tapes out depends on how many tapes per set (Daily, Weekly, Monthly if running a GFS policy) you have. Designating a mail slot would allow you to import/export tapes as needed. You don't need the web UI to do this daily, or however often you do so. This is done within BE. Select the tape and choose Export for instance.

Check the TNs below for information on BE and robotic libraries:

The 2 TNs below explain media sets and Append/OPP settings if you don't know how they work:


Alternative ways to access Backup Exec Technical Support:

pkh's picture

If you have enabled the mailslot, then you can use BE to import tape from the mailslot to a regular slot or to export tapes from a regular to a mailslot for removal.  You don't have to use the webUI to do this.

For the export step, you can have a policy with a backup and an export template.  This will allow you to automatically export the tape to the mailslot after it is used for the backup.  You don't have to identify the tape to export.  BE will do that for you.

For import, you can either schedule an import job to import the tape to a specific slot or schedule my script below to import the tape to the first available slot

mjgreen81's picture

But what happens if there is more than one tape that needs to be exported?  I think I have read that you only have a 20 min time slot to pick up the tape before the job fails.

pkh's picture

If you have more tapes than mailslots (some libraries have more than 1 mailslots) and you respond to the media intervention prompt and remove the tape(s) in the mailslot(s), then the rest of the tapes are exported to the now-empty mailslot(s) and the cycle continues.  If you do not respond and remove the tapes, then you are right.  The export job fails, but this failure does not affect any thing.  The backup is done and the tapes are written.  It is just that you have to identify which tapes should have been exported.