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SDR and DR files

Created: 25 Jan 2013 | 22 comments
Bulbous's picture

Can you use .DR files created from previous backup sets when you do an SDR recovery?

For example, if you are restoring Wednesday's backup, can you use an SDR file that was created Tuesday?

I'm asking because it seems the .DR file is created after the backup is run, and therefore not backed up until the following job.

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pkh's picture

No.  Each .dr file is related to the particular backup set.  You don't have to be concerned about it being backed up.  A copy of the .dr file is also kept in the backup set itself.  You can also go to the BE settings and set a secondary path, then another copy of the .dr file will be kept in the secondary path.

Bulbous's picture

Thanks for the quick reply. Any idea how I would access the .dr file that is kept with the backup set?

The scenario I am envisioning is that the entire infrastructure is gone, and all I have is a single backup tape - and maybe an SDR restore disk.

pkh's picture

If I am not mistaken, to access the .dr file kept with the backup set, you would need to have BE up and running.  To restore the media server using SDR, you would need to have the .dr file pointing to a backup set.  If you update your SDR, it will contain the latest .dr file.

Do set up a secondary path to store another copy of the .dr file on another machine which is not the media server.  I use a share for this purpose.

Bulbous's picture

So, where would the .dr file be kept?

If you are talking about the regular location, the problem is that .dr file is created AFTER the backup is completed - so it isn't backed up until the following job. This is my concern.

Example:

1) Tuesday a full SDR backup is created, including the C: drive
2) the backup concludes and a .dr file is dropped on the C: drive (and an alternate location if configured
3) Wednesday a full SDR backup is created, including the C: drive (which also includes the .dr file for TUESDAY'S backup).

So, my concern is that any given SDR backup would only have the .dr file from the PREVIOUS SDR backup.

If you have a scenario where everything is lost but the single backup tape which was taken offsite, then you will not be able to do an SDR restore because your .dr won't match your backup set.

pkh's picture

If you have only the tape, then you cannot do a SDR restore.  However, you could specify a thumb drive as an alternate path for the .dr file and ship that off-site together with the tape.

Bulbous's picture

You'd think it would be a relatively simple matter to create the .dr file before the backup of the C: drive.

Maybe I should just create another backup job, running after the full backup, just to backup the .dr to same tape!

pkh's picture

You'd think it would be a relatively simple matter to create the .dr file before the backup of the C: drive.

What is the point of creating this .dr file if the backup is bad and cannot be used for a SDR recovery.  This is probably why the .dr file is only created after a successful backup.

Maybe I should just create another backup job, running after the full backup, just to backup the .dr to same tape!

How are you going to access this .dr file witthout a media server?  You would need a media server to restore this .dr file. If you have a media server, you can use the .dr file that is saved with the backup set.  Likewise, the same thing applies if it is possible to save a .dr file in your day's backup.

Bulbous's picture

First of all, thanks, PKH for discussing this with me.

It looks like the .dr file is created during the "System State" portion of the backup. Too bad we don't have the ability to order which part of the backup comes first during a *.* backup - then we could have the .dr file created and then backed up during the C: portion of the backup. Maybe we can add this as a feature request.

If I add a seperate job after all the backups just to backup the .dr files, then I have everything I need on the one tape. If everything else is lost, I can install a new media server, catalog the tape and extract the .dr file, then proceed with an SDR restore.

pkh's picture

Without  the system state, how are you going to restore a server?  This is why SDR is not possible when you exclude the system state from a backup and it is why your proposed feature request is mieaningless.

If you have a media server up and running, you can already use the .dr file that is stored with the backup set to do your SDR restore.  There is no need to back up the .dr file separately.

Bulbous's picture

Hi PKH,

I think you completely missing my point.

When you backup the system state, the .dr file is created, in the default path. But it is NOT BACKED UP.

Imagine a single-server environment:

When you back up this server, the backup runs, completes, and then creates the .dr file. But because the .dr file is created AFTER the backup completes, it is not part of the backup set.

If the server dies, you have no access to the .dr file.

pkh's picture

You kept missing the point that the .dr file is written out together with the backup set.  I think I have said it a couple of times previously.  You cannot restore the .dr file, but if you have a media server running and have cataloged the backup set, you can use SDR to restore the server from this backup set.  Obviously, this server to be recovered would not be the media server itself.

In your single server example, if you backup the .dr file onto your tape, you cannot use SDR to restore that single server because you do not have the .dr file.  If you are going to install the OS and BE on that server to get the .dr file, then there is no need for SDR.  You are doing a normal recovery.  If you want to use SDR to recover this single server, then you need to have the .dr file which is why having it on a thumbdrive would be the most convenient.

Bulbous's picture

I think I see what you are saying, but I don't quite grasp the steps to do this. The SDR process prompts you for a .dr file - I don't see how you can get around this. Maybe you can elaborate a little on how this is done?

If I back up the .dr file in a seperate job, I can extract it using a different media server (i.e. my server home or the office) and carry on with the SDR restore. I would want to do an SDR restore as opposed to a normal recovery because the chances are I am going to have to restore to dissimilar hardware or to a VM.

pkh's picture

You put the ,dr on a thumbdrive and plug this into the machine to be recovered before you boot up the SDR bootable image.  SDR can then access this .dr file.

You seem fixated on backing up the .dr file using BE.  This only add to your recovery process.  What is wrong with saving the .dr file on a thumbdrive so that it is ready to use?  Backing up something does not mean that BE has to be used.

I would strongly suggest that you try out the SDR recovery process in a test environment.  This will aid your understanding of the process and what needs to be done.

Bulbous's picture

The thumb drive idea would work, too. But this requires more administrative effort. It's hard enough getting clients to remember to change tapes - let alone adding an extra component into the mix. I think simply adding an extra backup job may be my solution - if we can't figure out how to use the .dr file that you suggest is kept with the backup set.

I am actually doing an SDR restore right now - which is what brings up my question. You are prompted for the .dr file during the process, so I have no idea how we would get it out of the backup set.

pkh's picture

As I said many times before, you cannot use the .dr file embedded in a backup set if you do not have a media server.

Colin Weaver's picture

What pkh is trying to state and you appear to be misunderstanding is that if you put the .DR file on a tape that you will run into a problem i.e. you need the .DR file to recover from the tape but the DR file is on the tape (kind of a 'Catch 22' situation)

What this means is that there is no point in putting the .DR file on a tape as it just adds massively to your overheads when it comes to a restore and makes SDR pointless. Using an alternate location with maybe the odd manual/basic extra step (depending on individual requirements) is definitely a much simpler option.

I will try and out line the recovery differences when recovering a media server (basic steps only)

Restore with .DR file on a USB stick (or available drive)

1) Boot media server from SDR DVD

2) Provide .DR file path

3) Let media server recover itself

4) Reboot

5) Recover the bedb to last dumped version using BEUTILITY

 

Restore with .DR file on a tape

1) Install and patch operating system

2) Install Backup Exec

3) Inventory and Catalog the tape

4) Restore the .DR file

5) Copy the restored .DR file to a USB disk or remote share

6) Reboot media server onto the SDR DVD

7) Provide .DR file path

8) Let media server recover itself

9) Reboot

10) Recover the bedb to last dumped version using BEUTILITY

 

Recovery of media server when backup target was a disk

In BE 2012 the .DR file is also stored in the disk storage device that contains the backup set as such the disk based SDR recovery is relatively simple, i.e if backup set is still online the .DR file also is.

 

Recovery of remote servers

If your media server still exists then remote SDR actully uses the catalogs on the media server instead of the .DR file. Although again if disk based storage is involved and the media server is not available but the disk storage is then I suspect it may be possible (not confirmed or tested this ) to do a recovery of the remote server directly using the SDR disk.

 

 

Bulbous's picture

Hi Colin,

PKH was saying that he believed a copy of the .dr file was kept with the dataset and could be used for a restore from the media server. As I understand what you have written, a restore from the media server uses the existing catalogs and does not actually require a .dr file. That may be where the confusion came from.

In the scenarios you have outlined above, I would probably skip steps 1) and 2) (installation of OS and BE) by bringing the tape elsewhere with an existing media server to extract the .dr file.

You are both absolutely right in that a USB device to be removed and stored with the tape would greatly simplify my restore, but I am thinking it might be harder for the clients to deal with as opposed to just dealing with the single tape.

In this scenario, the entire infrastructure has been destroyed, so an alternate location (on the LAN) is not helpful. (And, yes, it has happened to me in the past!) Unless we could send that via somewhere remote i.e. via FTP!

And again, the reason I would want to use SDR instead of a normal recovery procedure would be to leverage the "bare-metal" capabilities - assuming we needed to get up and running as quickly as possible with whatever hardware was available.

Colin Weaver's picture

Well valid points I just explained how it currently works.

 

BTW I have already asked for ability to either SMTP or FTP .DR files as further secondary location choices. I am not sure it has been taken on board though so would suggest you fill in a Idea via the create content menu - Ideas are in effect places for customers to submit enhancement requests for future versions.

pkh's picture

PKH was saying that he believed a copy of the .dr file was kept with the dataset and could be used for a restore from the media server.

I never say that.  I always maintain that you need a separate .dr file is needed for a SDR restore of the media server.  The reason why SDR can use the existing catalogs is that a .dr file is kept together with the backup set.  This .dr file can be used to recover remote servers.  I always say that you need a media server to use the .dr file kept together with the backup set.  See this comment.

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/forums/sdr...

Previously, for IDR (prior to BE 2012), you cannot do a IDR restore from the catalogs for remote servers because a .dr file is not kept in the backup set.

You are both absolutely right in that a USB device to be removed and stored with the tape would greatly simplify my restore

This is what I have told you previous, but you have rejected the idea.

Colin Weaver's picture

In the case of a Disk based backup set (from 2012) I believe the .DR file is kept with the data set as well as in the specified .DR file locations. This is not true for tape based sets.

Also in the case of disk based sets if the media server still exists (or has been recovered first) that remote .DR of other servers actually uses the catalogs on the media server and not the .DR files anyway. .DR files are only used where media server and / or catalogs do not exist. This is a change from how 2010 and earlier functioned.

Bulbous's picture

Thanks! I have a conference call with some BE Managers in about two hours to discuss this issue - I will definitely request a "remote" alternate location.

Bulbous's picture

I spoke with an engineer in charge of SDR and he advised me that they had considered adding the ability to email the .dr file out or add FTP or similar as a network location, but that those ideas didn't take root because of potentially large numbers of .dr files being generated for lots of servers.

My environment is small businesses, 1-3 servers, so this wouldn't be an issue. Hopefully, we will see some help on this front for those who have only a single server to back up!