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Old backup sets on tape not being groomed

Created: 17 Oct 2013 | 9 comments

On a new BE2012 setup (now on SP2 and the first post-SP2 hotfix), we have gotten to the point where we've rotated through the tapes we have and are re-using the first tapes. Expired backups on those tapes are not being groomed and we are running out of space.

Backup jobs are set to "Append to media, overwrite if no appendable media is available." When the job runs out of space, shouldn't it start overwriting expired backup sets? I think it always has, on other systems.

As I understand it, the new DLM applies only to disks.

Why is BE not overwriting the expired backups?

Operating Systems:

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Jaydeep S's picture

Check in the Global settings (BE Icon -> configuration and Settings >Backup Exec Settings -> Storage) if you have configured 'Overwrite scratch media before overwriting recyclable media contained in the targeted media set'

http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH5459

Colin Weaver's picture

Also don't use a media set with Append  Infinite at the same time as all job starting with Append as first option.

The default media set is Overwrite protecetd for 4 weeks Append Infinite and the default job start type is Append the Overwrite if no Appendable media is available - these setting will mean that tape will only be overwritten once they are 4 weeks beyond the time the tape COMPLETELY FILLS UP. What this means is don't leave your settings on default.

Using teh default settings, as the first rotaion may not have completely filled the tape, but not left enough space for the second rotation on the end of the tape, the append choice then starts the job in the second rotation, fills the remaining space and then expects you to give a different tape in the middle of the job (or to have a library where a different overwritable tape is available mid job)

JRV2's picture

Thanks, Jaydeep.

But wouldn't that option only apply to libraries? This is a standalone tape drive; no scratch media are ever available.

FYI, overwrite protection is set to Partial.

Jaydeep S's picture

Oh! Then all you need is to move the tape in Scratch Media and use it with the next backup.

JRV2's picture

Looking for a solution that doesn't require manual intervention beyond inserting a tape. In particular, the client sometimes has to do this, and they should not be getting involved with Backup Exec.

I thought the default (Append first, overwrite second) meant BE would fill the remainder of the tape and then go back and delete overwritable backups on the tape before requesting a new tape. That's not what happens?

So if 1 byte of space remains unwritten, BE will fill that and then immediately request a new tape? And until the last overwrite protection period of every backup set on the tape has passed, even if it's just that one last byte that hasn't expired, no backup sets on that tape will be overwritten?

Jaydeep S's picture

Are those Tapes overwritable? if not then you might want to change the retention and append settings to match as to when you need the tape to be overwritable.

JRV2's picture

Thanks for your reply.

Overwrite protection is 3 weeks, append is allowable forever. Tapes rotate every 6 months, so the backups are long since expired by the time the tape is reused. They show in the interface as being overwritable. They just aren't being overwritten.

Colin Weaver's picture

Did you check if your tapes are both overwritable AND appendable? If a tape is overwritable and appendable and you start your job with append first then it will not overwrite the tape it will append to the free space at the end of it. Then when the tape fills up because the next tape has to be an overwrite and because with tapes overwrite applies to the whole of the tape we won't let you write the rest of the backup job to the start of the same tape as if we did that you would lose the backed up data from the start of the same job leaving you with a broken backup set. i.e. we are trying to stop you creating a snake eating it's own tail scenario

As such please get rid of the append infinite setting or set some of your jobs to start as an overwrite (or perhaps do both) to fix your problem and make the Backup job in effect start as an overwrite.

Larry Fine's picture

I thought the default (Append first, overwrite second) meant BE would fill the remainder of the tape and then go back and delete overwritable backups on the tape before requesting a new tape. That's not what happens?

No, tape is sequential.  Therefore, it cannot expire or delete backup sets from the middle of a tape.  Basically, "all or nothing" as the Overwrite & Append rules apply to the tape, not each backup set.

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