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VSP Questions

Created: 05 Jul 2007 • Updated: 21 May 2010 | 4 comments
Hi all,
I hope some people can help me understand how VSP works in Netbackup 6 MP4 and maybe gives me some advice about some issues that I have. I will list here the questions and also the issue that I am trying to solve.
I have let say 2 servers A and B. A and B have each 2 drive c: and d:
Of course, the drive d: is larger than the c: on the 2 servers.
The job backup are already defined.
- What is really VSP?
 I have read several posts here and the documentation but I want to be sure that I understand correctly what VSP is and used for. For me, VSP is in fact the netbackup way to manage the backup of open files. Microsoft use VSS but by default in netbackup it is VSP, their own engine. What it does is that it create a virtual drive in conjunction of a temp file (in the folder <drive>:\NBU_VSP_Cache) to store a state of openfile so that it can be safely backed up (hmm don't know if this word exist... sorry i'm french)
 
- How it is setup from the client and the server?
It seems that VSP is automatically activated on the client. Some people talk about a VSP_USER YES/NO registry parameter but I have check on my server and can't find it... If I want to disable a client, should I have to create it and what is its type? What are the consequences of disabling VSP on a client?
I have not really understand yet why there is some options in Netbackup Mamangement
-> Host properties -> Master servers -> <master> -> client attributes. concerning
the use of either VSS or VSS, global or individual drive snapshop. anyway
A and B are not listed here but VSP seems to be used on those servers anyway.
 
- Like a lot of users I have a problem with the way some drives are filled up
by VSP... When netbackup do his snaphot operation, it fills my c drive almost
to the point where there is very few space left. I have checked some info
about this but it seems that there is no way to use d: as my VSP cache drive
and still do a snapshop of my c: and d:, am I right?
What I want is to set d: as my prefered drive to put the NBU_VSP_Cache folder.
What I have understand so far is that setting d: in the cache file volume
list field and in the VSP volume excluse list means that d: will be used
to snaptshop C: (the folder NBU_VSP_Cache will be created on d:) but the
d: could not then be backuped up using VSP snaphot. Again, am I right?
 
What I don't understand is why this temp file grow so fast? If I want to set the maximun cache file size, what should I take into consideration so set it the right way, meaning not too small but large enough to make the backup successfull.
 
Here it is for now, I really hope that some of my questions could be answered here and well as some good advices to set and use VSP.


 

Comments 4 CommentsJump to latest comment

mbozarth's picture
The way to set it up is in your master server properties.  On the Netbackup console go to host properties, master server, and then open your master server.  Go to the client list.  Add the client into the client list (which amazingly isn't populated automatically.)...
 
Now go to the Windows Open file backup tab.  This is where you can choose your poison.  Here is what I have found.  If you are using a Windows Server 2003, especially with SQL, you want to use VSS.  For Windows 2000, which doesn't have the same services as Windows Server 2003, you have to use VSP. 
 
Generally I have found VSP does not play nice when you limit the size its cache files can grow too.  Your best bet is to make sure you have a ton of disk space on the drive it is placing them on, and try not to run too many jobs at once as it will kill your throughput and put a load on the machine.
 
Also of note, if you use VSP on a Server 2003 which is a SQL server you can end up with what I call "The grey screen of nothingness."  Stuff will still be running on the server, but you will be unable to log in from the main terminal.  Make sure and use VSS on these servers. 
Stumpr2's picture
mbozarth,
excellent post.
 
 

VERITAS ain't it the truth?

Romain's picture
Thanks for your reply.
Just few more questions, if you don't mind.
You said that VSS is better than VSP when using Windows 2003. Is this statement based on your own use of this product and functionalities or because it is a recommended setting with Netbackup and Windows 2003? What I really want to know is :
- Is VSS used more often than VSP by Netbackup administrator around the world? (like a 'standard' setting)
- When and why VSP should be used? In which scenarios?
 
I am also worried about that fact that there are more settings that I can configure for VSP than for VSS and I always be a little stressed when I have to trust an MS solution without having any control over it... ;-)
 
 
Also,
- I have noticed that it seems that if a client is not listed in the master server properties/Client properties then VSP will be used by default, is it correct and/or a normal behaviour?
- If I add a client in the list, I have to set it up to use VSS instead of VSP but after that, is there any settings for the client that I need to setup or will VSS will manage all the settings by its own?
 
Thanks and hope to read you soon.
 
Omar Villa's picture
About the Windows 2003 question:
 
VSP Overview
NetBackup uses VSP to back up open and active files on Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 (32- and 64-bit) clients. To make backing up open and active files possible, VSP first captures a snapshot of each volume that needs to be backed up. After creating a snapshot of the volume, a virtual drive representing a static copy of the volume in a point-in-time is created along with a corresponding VSP cache file. NetBackup backs up files using the virtual drive instead of the actual drive. For each snapshot that is created for a volume, a VSP cache file is created to maintain the integrity of the snapshot. The original data corresponding to the changes that occur during the backup is stored in the cache file that was created along with the volume snapshot.
 
I will recomend you to read the Netbackup Admin Guide for Windows I, under the VSP chapter you will get all what you need, is very clear.
 
Hope this helps.
Regards

Omar Villa

Netbackup Expert

Twiter: @omarvillaNBU