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What do I need? NetBackup Client or Server?

Created: 07 Nov 2012 • Updated: 18 Dec 2012 | 5 comments
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We have a customer that puts data on an LTO-4 tape using NetBackup. They send the tape to us.

We have a linux box running Cent OS with a tape reader attached to it. We tried using the tar command to read the tape but were unsucessful because of the varialbe block size of the data on the tape. After several attempts (and google searches) we decided to move on.

The customer also sends an identical tape to another company that has NetBackup. They are able to read the tape no problem. We would like to be able to read the tapes, too, so we are now going to purchase NetBackup. However, I've run into issues trying to determine what I need to make this happen. I found the following but it appears to only be a client version. Someone told me I'd need both a server and a client?

All we would like is to be able to read LTO-4 tapes that were created with NetBackup. We have no intention of using NetBackup to backup any of our data. I realize it seems silly to buy this program just to read tapes but that's where we're at.

Any help/links/suggestions on what I need to accomplish this task are very appreciated!



P.S. I called Symantec tech support and they referred me to this I've already tried that option.

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Marianne's picture

You will need 1 Netbackup server license. no client license.

"About reading backup images with tar" topic is covered in NBU Admin Guide II.


NetBackup for UNIX uses a modified GNU tar for reading backup images. The
modified tar is located in /usr/openv/netbackup/bin/tar. By using the modified
tar, NetBackup can understand compressed files, sparse files, long pathnames,
and ACL information. It offers features similar to those in cpio.
Although non-NetBackup versions of tar can be used to restore files, they provide
only limited restore capabilities.
Consequences of using a non-NetBackup tar
Non-NetBackup versions of tar do not supply all of the restore capabilities that
the NetBackup /usr/openv/netbackup/bin/tar provides. Possible problems
The following is a list of consequences that can occur if using a non-NetBackup
■ Compressed backups cannot be recovered.
■ Multiplexed backups cannot be recovered.
■ Solaris extended attributes cannot be restored to a client.
■ VxFS named data streams cannot be restored to a client.
■ Backups cannot be recovered that contain raw partitions. (Includes FlashBackup
■ NDMP client backup images cannot be restored, though NDMP vendors may
have tools or the utilities that can perform a restore directly from the media.
■ Non-NetBackup versions of tar may have trouble with sparse files and often
skip sparse files.
■ HP CDFs are restored with non-NetBackup versions of tar. The directory is no
longer hidden and the name of the directory has a + appended to it.
■ If the backup spans more than one piece of media, you must read and combine
the fragments from the media to give to tar. To combine the fragments, the
system’s dd command may be useful.
Another possibility is to use tar on the fragments. To use tar on fragments
can allow recovery of any file in the backup other than the one that spanned
the media.
Some versions of the HP9000-800 /bin/tar command are known to give a
directory checksum error for the second fragment of a backup that crossed
■ Some versions of Solaris tar combine the atime, mtime, and ctime strings with
the file name and create the file paths that are not desirable.

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

Joe Smith - Sendmail's picture

Ask your client whether they are using the Enterprise edition to create those tapes.

Chances are, they are not.  In that case, go with the simple Server License.

Marianne's picture

Apologies for late response.

You need NetBackup Server only, even if backups were done with Enterprise License. No difference in NBU binaries. 

PS: Please Contact Symantec Customer Care w.r.t DR Licencing policy.

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

MikeW11's picture

Thanks for the responses everyone! We've ordered NBU Server and I'll comment here once we test it out on the tapes.