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What is needed to backup an EMC Isilon? (nfs shares)

Created: 24 Sep 2012 • Updated: 02 Oct 2012 | 8 comments
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I have been using the user defined selection to backup about 2 TB of data with sketchy results.The job stops partially through so I divided it up into 4 jobs. I see there is an NDMP option and it looks like the Isilon is one of the devices supported. Is there another box needed to make this work? My backup server is connected to the Isilon through the network which is a gig  connection but it is 50 miles away. This is BE 2010 R3.

Sorry to look confused but info is sketchy.

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CraigV's picture

Hi mac,

You can either use the NDMP option (you need the license) or you can try backing up user-defined shares by enabling this option within BE. You'd also need a remote agent license to be license-compliant.

Not sure if you have seen any of the links below, but take a look and see if they help you at all:


Alternative ways to access Backup Exec Technical Support:

EricS_Isilon's picture

Just adding to CraigV's useful remarks with a link to Isilon/Netback Best Practices which should provide some good info for you as well.

macpiano's picture

Here is my question. Do I need the Isilon NDMP box to make this happen? I have been using the user defined selections however there is no way to do a remote agent.

teiva-boy's picture

The NDMP accelerator from Isilon is a Fiber Channel appliance that allows you to backup an Isilon system, without affecting the current nodes.  It's a dedicated box to route data through.  It's also ONLY a FC connection, thus the BE server and tape unit needs to be LOCAL to it.

NFS is your best route, though ideally your backup server would be local.

There is an online portal, save yourself the long hold times. Create ticket online, then call in with ticket # in hand :-) "We backup data to restore, we don't backup data just to back it up."

EricS_Isilon's picture

@teiva, thanks for jumping in this with correct info on Isilon!!

Isilon Backup Accelerator nodes are peers in the cluster that use NDMP to backup to tape via FC.

Best practice would be to put a small Isilon cluster in the remote/backup location and use snapshot and SyncIQ to replicate data that needs to backed to that site, then back it up.

macpiano's picture

Hooray @tevia-boy. Now I get it. First off, what they bought was not FC but 4 one gig ports (they have 4 Isilon boxes I believe and it does round robin dns) so that rules the hardware box out. Also I want the files off site since any type of disaster in the rack would affect the backup files. Another Isilon box etc. and then replicating would probably be pretty expensive.

What I ended up doing since the Isilon was not capable of doing a 40 -50 hour backup job was to do the user-defined selections and break it up into 4 jobs. The bad part is we have 600 staff and I had to click the 150 staff in each of the 4 jobs and if new users are added I will have to look for them by hand and checkmark their folder. I am not allowed to put them in 4 folders, they have to be in a giant list.

Not the best scenario but it is working and we have had to restore tons of user files because the Isilon keeps losing them. Since these are all Macintosh notebook home drives we think the Mac synching deletes the files off the Isilon if it doesn't complete the synching.

EricS_Isilon's picture

@mac, just a couple more thoughts. Have you considered snapshots of these directories as well as remote backup? If you are needing constant restores due to the Mac sync issues, snapshots would provide a much faster, local restore process (could even be user initiated) that would not then not need to come from tape. The tape would then be the DR solution instead of being used to constantly restore due to the sync issue you are experiencing.

And in regards to Isilon-Isilon replication, I know an additional cluster for the remote site adds cost but it the NFS based backups are not consistent, and you truly need to provide for a DR scenario, it could be a life-saver (or data-saver, anyway). The remote cluster could be as small as 3 nodes/~18TB.


macpiano's picture


Well you have Isilon in your moniker so I'm going to keep that in mind. Our cluster is only 18TB (lol) so we are already bottom line. I do not use tape, all is backed up to a dedupe folder on a Dell Equallogic 50 miles away. We have turned off Mac synching for the moment and I have been able to restore everything. I want to stay away from snapshots as this isilon is used for all the VMs and the whole Citrix environment etc.

Knock on wood I have not had a failure since September 25 on the nfs shares. Our data is fairly static and I'm using a 26 week retension time because the staff is not there in the summer.

So far 6 TB of data has consumed about 3 Tb on the Equallogic which has about 10.5 TB of space.

Let me ask you another question. The Isilon and the backup server are all on gig connections (even though they are 50 miles apart) but I only get what would be equal to about 20% of that gig connection. By contrast I backup from our school buildings and they consume a 100MB connection to the Equallogic at almost 100% of the WAN connection. Is it the nature of the Isilon or the fact that these are fairly small files? Is it because I have no remote agent on the Isilon? Sorry to ask a lot of questions but you obviously have experience with the Isilon.

thanks for your info, very helpful.