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Improving the throughput of my backup process

Created: 28 May 2013 • Updated: 29 May 2013 | 5 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

As I have previously stated, I am now in charge of our nightly backup to tape. We actually replicate all our file server data from various places overnight and backup from a local file server to a directly attached tape system during the day. The process was actually offline when I started messing around trying to fix it. Replication is back online. We were originally using Microsoft's DSFR but switched to a third-party product called Vice-Versa.

Now I am ready to begin committing the files to tape. I prefer to do a 100% full backup nightly because it reduces compleixty when trying to restore. Unfortunately, my backups are taking way too long -- in the area of 20-22 hours. I am not sure why because the backup process is 100% on the local server so network speeds aren't an issue. I understand that the bottleneck could be anywhere so here is what I know:

  • Software Version: Backup Exec v14 rev 1798 (64-bit)
  • Total backup set = 1.3 TB (currently fits on one LTO5 tape)
  • Currently reported throughput by Backup Exec: about 1,013 MB/minute
  • Tape system: Quantum Scalar i40 with HP Ultrium-5 tape drive (single unit) -- potential throughput is 140 MB/second?
  • SAS card: LSI SAS2 2008 Falcon; Driver dated 2/20/2009; Provider: LSI; Digital signer: Microsoft Windows
  • Windows Version: Server 2008 R2 Standard, 64-bit, SP1
  • Computer: Dell Precision T7400 with Intel 5400 Chipset, 1600 MHz frontside bus
  • Processor: Intel Xeon Processor, E5420 @ 2.50GHz (four core with a 1333 frontside bus)
  • RAM: 8.00 GB (max is 128 GB which I can add if it would help)

OK, this is about everything I can think of. Let me know if anything is missing or what needs to be addressed to decrease my backup window to roughly 12 hours or less. Thanks!

Operating Systems:

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ZeRoC00L's picture

Do you have antivirus installed on your Backup Exec Media server ?
If so, check if you can exclude the backup processes from scanning and/or disable antivirus to check if that slows down your backups.

On the other side, you don't mention what kind of files you are backuping. If these are lots of small files, backups will be much slower than only large files.

If this response answers your concern, please mark it as a "solution"

Larry Fine's picture

SAS card: LSI SAS2 2008 Falcon

Is that a RAID HBA?  Assuming this is the right LSI link, I think that it is a RAID HBA, which means that it isn't supported.

If you find this is a solution for the thread, please mark it as such.

Bhouck's picture

Thanks for the advice about the anti-virus. I had completely overlooked it (rookie mistake). We will do a test with AV diabled and if performance is better then I'll figure out how to configure it. Our fiel sizes are all over the place from small MSG files all the way to 400 MB+ model files (we are an architectural firm).

In ragards to the SAS card, I cannot confirm or deny if it is an HBA card. I couldn;t find that specific model listed anywhere and unless I crack the case open, wn't know the model number. The t7400 has a SAS port on board and the performance was just as bad as with the card. I'll do some more looking into alternatives if the AV doesn't yield a change. Thanks!

pkh's picture

In the Windows Device Manager, make sure that your tape library is listed as an Unknown Medium Changer  with a Microsoft driver.  If not, change the driver using

How to uninstall the Original Equipment Manufacturer driver for the medium changer in a robotic library so as to make it "Unknown medium changer" on Windows 2008 Server.

Also, you might want to tune your tape drive.  See my article below

Although it is written for LTO4, the principle is applicable to LTO5.

Bhouck's picture

Well, after testing last night, it looks like the problem was related to the anti-virus software. I disabled it for a session and my throughput jumped from just over 1,000 MB/sec to over 8,000 MB/sec. The backup went from over 22 hours to just under six hours! I am a happy camper. Thanks to everyone for your assistance and advice.