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Netbackup VLS Pros/cons

Created: 12 Feb 2011 | 16 comments

Dear All,


We are planning to implemet VLS in our current NBU 7 envoirnment. I have few querries.

1.After enabling VLS the storage will be presented as Tapes and we are taking Exchange 2010 GRT backups which is only supported on storage will GRT still happen or it cannot be.

2. We are also planning a DR site and that DR site will be functional too so we will duplicates our backups from primary to dr and dr to primary (Dual site/single domain) scenario if we go for nbu 7 puredisk option will it work with VLS or not.


Can any one also point me to a doc with disadvantages and advantages of using VLS (it will be better if it will be compared with simple storage) as far i think netbackup dedup will not work on VLS.

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ElGringo's picture


As stated in Netbackup for MS Exchange guide GRT require a temporary staging area for restore ... In fact you need to manually duplicate your backup image to this area prior to process the normal GRT restore operation

So it will be eaisier to deal with MSDP or PDDO for such need :) MSDP/PDDO support GRT with NBU 7.0.1 and EEB


Disk space free faster with standard disk or OpenStorage. A tape can be erased only if all image on it have expired.

Need to specify virtual tape size

VLS is easy to integrate with NBU

Same limitation with VLS as with real tape library : basicaly tape are really well emulated : only sequential access, exclusive access, need to maintain drivers ... suffering same limitations as real tape drive

VTL is not compatible with intelligent capacity management

You really should consider using OpenStorage device (such NetBackup 5000 series appliance, DataDomain, Sepaton) or in its software form (Puredisk/MSDP)


You should also read and


please, note that SharedDisk is no longer supported begining with NBU 7.0

I hope this help


Riaan.Badenhorst's picture

Hi Rizwan,


  1. GRT is not supported on tape (physical or virtual). Its only supported on Basic, Advanced, and now PureDisk / Media Server duplication. There are specific recommendation for PureDisk / Media Server duplication though, see this note

    GRT has to be able to access the backup image by mounting it as a file system. In basic and advanced disk this is not an issue. With PureDisk there are some consideration with regards to performance as the backup image is de-duplicated (split into millions of smaller pieces), which has to be reconstructed when you do the restore (mount operation). I've not tested it on PDDO/MSDP but I would imagine it might be slower than advanced disk (not sure about this).

  2. VLS and PureDisk will work together in the sense that the two don't have anything to do with each other. Both are storage destinations. You can send data to PDDO/MSDP and you can send data to VTL (VLS as you call it). Data on the VTL will not be deduplicated (by NetBackup), data on PDDO/MSDP will.

    You can duplicate your data in PDDO/MSDP with built in replication functionality or you could duplicate it with Vault between a PDDO/MSDP device in PROD, and a VLS in DR (or vice versa). Depending on your device you could possible duplicate / replicate the data on your VTL to another VTL in DR. Whether NetBackup is aware of this duplication/replication depends on the vendor/model you're planning to use. You can check the HCL to see what features are available on your device.

If you'd like to provide more detailed information we can give you more detailed advice.

Rizwan Ahmed Siddiqui249's picture

Hi Riaan,


thanks for the input is very helpful.


What details you will require to give from me for details advise .


Riaan.Badenhorst's picture

Hi Rizwan,


The specific model of VTL/Openstore Device you're planning to use. There are a lot of vendors selling devices like these, some of them can even be configured with multiple configurations i.e. OST storage as well as VTL.


They also have different levels of integration with NetBackup. Some devices, mostly the OST devices can do perform duplication to a DR site (and some of them can do this under control of NetBackup). Some VTLs can perform stacking or direct copy to tape, once again also integrating with NetBackup. To have NetBackup know about these operations is handy as it then knows that you have multiple copies of your data. In the years gone by a lot of the devices could do these operations, but NetBackup didn't know about it.

Rizwan Ahmed Siddiqui249's picture

Hi Riaan,


You can see the specification

all the hardware purchased already but we have not configured VLS yet we are using Simple SAN so far .





Riaan.Badenhorst's picture

Hi Rizwan,


Thanks for the information.


With regards to your original questions about GRT, you cannot send GRT backups to this device. You'll have to reserve/keep your storage area currently used by GRT. You can send a 2nd copy to the VTL for long(er) term storage.


The device does support deduplication so you will save on the amount of space required to store all your backups. This is called target deduplication as it occurrs on the VLS. On a performance side, your clients will still send all (the full dataset undeduplicated) to the media server so your backup window will probably remain the same unless you do performance tuning or redesign the NetBackup environment (add more SAN clients or San Media servers)


I see the device does support replication so you should be able to replicate the vritual medias to another site. NetBackup will not be involved in this operation so you'll always have one copy of the media (according to netbackup).


You could also use Vault to duplicate between sites and VTLs. In this scenarion NetBackup would be aware of the additional copies.


I hope this answers all your questions.

Rizwan Ahmed Siddiqui249's picture

Do we require to purchase a different licencse for VTL ?? do there any other license to enable VTL on netbackup

Andy Welburn's picture

"In addition, You may use NetBackup Library Based Tape Drive to support physical tape drives only.  If you wish to acquire backup support for virtual tape drives or any device that simulates the behavior and functionality of a physical tape drive, You must obtain the appropriate number of NetBackup Virtual Tape Option licenses."

Rizwan Ahmed Siddiqui249's picture

is it still the smae for NBU 7.01 ?? can you also let me know whereyou get this is it in license guide ??

Andy Welburn's picture

A hard copy actually came with my NB7 media kit & I believe I found the "soft" copy somewhere on one of the DVDs (but I couldn't tell you specifically where, I will look ....)

Rizwan Ahmed Siddiqui249's picture

can you tell me the name of the document ??

Andy Welburn's picture


& promptly found after that that I'd bookmarked said URL after the last time this was requested!

teiva-boy's picture

The license is called Enterprise Disk.  This is needed when you are backing up to a storage device that acts more than just a JBOD.  Basically any dedupe device, VTL or replication appliance requires an Enterprise Disk license.  

There is an online portal, save yourself the long hold times. Create ticket online, then call in with ticket # in hand :-) "We backup data to restore, we don't backup data just to back it up."

Riaan.Badenhorst's picture

Hi Rizwan,


All the comments above are correct, you need the enterprise disk feature. This feature however can be unlocked in two ways and it depends on the licensing method. If you're using the NetBackup Platform per Terabyte model you already have access to the enterprise disk feature.


If you're using the Traditional NetBackup licensing model where you would have bought Enterprise Server, Enterprise Client, SSO, Standard Clients etc, then you need to buy the Enterprise disk license separately. The License is bought per front-end terabyte, i.e the amount of data protected on the clients, or basically the sum of a full backup from all clients.

Rizwan Ahmed Siddiqui249's picture

Thanks Riaan for quick responses regarding this and now I have a much clear picture.