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Question: How can I save on tape usage?

Created: 22 Oct 2012 • Updated: 17 Dec 2012 | 5 comments
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Hi everyone,

I am kind of puzzled by the amount of tapes my setup is using. Can someon shed some light on me on how can I optimize my backup setup to use the least amount of tapes? Or, point me to any documentation that shows how?

I have 1 master (running on SLES 10 SP3) plus 3 media servers (2 SLES 10 SP3, and 1 Win2k8R2). 9 LTO5 drives + 3 LTO4, inside a Quantum i6000. I also using some of those drives for NDMP of 3 NetApp filers. 45 policies, 590 clients, and 3 storage unit groups.

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Marianne's picture

Couple of ways to save on media usage:

Media Sharing: either via unrestricted media sharing or Media Server groups. (See Admin Guide I for details). Media servers do not share media by default.

See if Maximum Patially Full media in a pool will work for you. This setting is enabled on Volume Pool properties. Although this setting reduces media usage (if used in combination with media sharing) but may cause jobs to be queued while waiting to append to media currently being used. (See Admin Guide I for more info.)

Cut down on amount of pools. There is hardly ever a need for lots of pools, unless you need to charge departments for media usage.

Double-check retention levels - there should hardly ever be a reason for 4 weeks and one month retentions (as an example).

Supporting Storage Foundation and VCS on Unix and Windows as well as NetBackup on Unix and Windows
Handy NBU Links

mansoor.sheik's picture


Adding to Marianne's comment,

Please explore on the Tape Report option under Reports in Java console.The Reports provide an overview on tape managemnet and performance in your environment.

Kindly refer media usage under master and media server host properties.

Allow multiple retentions per media --- allow to have multiple retention backup in a single media. By default this option is disabled.But please explore the option before implementing.

Please dont try the compress option in NBU. Please look for the compression in OS and driver level.

RonCaplinger's picture

How often are you ejecting tapes to go offsite?  Depending on your requirements (backing up to disk/replicating to another site/duplicating to tape...), you might be able to reduce the number of times per week you send tapes offsite.  Keeping them onsite and allowing NBU to potentially append more data to them would help.

But, if you are only backing up data at one location, ignore my suggestion.  You need to move your backup data offsite as soon as possible to protect it from loss within your data center.

Marianne's picture

I have to disagree with 'Allow multiple retentions per media' advice.

Although this feature saves on tapes in the short term, it creates major headaches in the long term.

Consider this: 
One tape is used for Daily backups with 2 week retention period.
On Friday a Weekly backup with 6 month retention kicks off and fills up the tape.

What happens after 2 weeks when Daily backups start expiring? Can this expired space on tapes be written to? 
All images on media must expire before media can be overwritten. 
We need to wait till the Weekly backup expires after 6 months to re-use this tape.

See this blog:

Supporting Storage Foundation and VCS on Unix and Windows as well as NetBackup on Unix and Windows
Handy NBU Links

luisvidal's picture

Thanks, Marianne. Going to read that part of the Admin Guide.

Thanks, Mansoor, I'll look into these suggestion. They are very good.

Ron, I am doing daily eject of tapes (company regulations), but I am only duplicating some of my policies, due to the amount of restore requests and the urgency of them. I have no disks on my layout.

NetBackup v7.5.0.6

SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP 3