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What software can you use to backup data on SFW

Created: 19 Mar 2014 | 2 comments
mikebounds's picture

According to the Windows 6.0 SCL, I can't see any non-Symantec software you can use to backup your data when using SFW and even for Symantec software, there is no "Tested and Supported" solution - only:

Product Version SFW 6.0
Veritas NetBackup 6.5.2-6.5.5 Compatible and Supported, but not tested by Symantec
Veritas NetBackup 6.5.6 Supported with Limitations
Veritas NetBackup 7.0, 7.0.1, 7.1 Supported with Limitations
Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery 2010 Not Supported

 

So what backup software do customers use when they are using SFW and is there any offically fully supported backup software

 

Mike

 

Operating Systems:

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Marianne's picture

As a NetBackup 'person', you will understand that this is where 99% of my experience comes from...

NetBackup does not care about the Volume Management software - only about the filesystem. Since NTFS is the filesystem on SFW volumes, there are no issues with backups of filesystems.

The only issue that may exist is with BMR (Bare Metal Restore) option. 

Bare Metal Restore File System/Volume Manager Support is covered in NBU 7.x SCL:  http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH76648

Another feature in NBU where SFW and filesystem plays a role is with Snapshot Client Feature.
(Here FlashSnap option is automated via NBU policy to perform diskgroup split, deport, import on backup server, backup, deport, import on source machine, diskgroup join and re-sync.)
Support is listed in NetBackup 7 Snapshot Client (CL):     http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH126901

 

I would guess that most other backup products will have the same basic support for NTFS filesystems - regardless of Volume Manager.

PS:
Apologies for only seeing your post today - I have been on leave...

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

mikebounds's picture

Thanks Marianne,

My view is the same as yours, that unless backups need access to VM, like BMR or database raw volumes, then as they are accessing the NTFS filesystem, then they should work and "be supported" and this applies to ANY application.

The reason I asked is that I have a customer who was using Microsoft DPM and they were told by Microsoft and Symantec that the 2 products are not compatible.

After investgating further is seems VSS is the problem and I am certainly no expert on VSS.  On UNIX, backups of snapshots are straightforward as this is scripted with the basic steps being:

  1. Quiese application (put in a consistent state)
  2. Take snapshot
  3. Unquiese application
  4. Back up snapshot

As I understand, the problem with windows is that these steps are all bundled up into an API and I THIINK it works something like:

  1. Application provides a VSS API (VSS Writer) to Quiese and Unquiese it
  2. Microsoft produce an API (VSS Provider) that uses application API in 1 along with code to snapshot a partition to provide a "consistent snapshot"
  3. Symantec produce an API (VSS Provider) that uses application API in 1 along with code to snapshot a VOLUME to provide a "consistent snapshot"
  4. Backup software has a VSS Requestor API which calls Microsoft VSS Provider API to take a consistent backup

This is how I THINK it works, so then issues would be:

  1. A given application may have a Microsoft API to take a consistent snapshot, but not have a Symantec API or may not be supporte to be used with Symantec API.  I am basing this on the SFW Admin guide which says SFW provides support for taking snapshots of Exchange, SharePoint, Enterprise Vault and SQL, so usually when applications are listed as specifically supported, then any not listed are implied as not been supported.
     
  2. The backup software may not allow you to configure it to use the Symantec API instead of the Microsoft API.

If my analysis is correct above and the issue is 2, then I guess you may be able to write your own script which:

  1. Uses vxsnap which will use Symantec API to take a consistent snapshot
  2. Backup the snapshot using your chosen software.

In addition, the SFW admin guide says:

COW snapshots are supported in a VCS environment running only on Windows Server 2008 x86 and Windows Server 2008 x64.
COW snapshots are not supported in a Microsoft Failover Cluster environment

So if I am right in all of the above, then it would seem whether a particular backup software can backup your application depends on if:

  1. The backup software allows you to configure it to use Symantec VSS Provider
  2. The Application VSS writer is supported by Symantec
  3. Microsoft Cluster, VCS is non-clustered system is being used
  4. A COW snapshot or full snaphshot is required.

I could be completely wrong on some of the above - so any clarification on the above is much appreciated.

Also input from anyone who does NOT use Netbackup to back up their application on SFW as it would seem if you are using SFW, then you need to use Netbackup.

Mike

UK Symantec Consultant in VCS, GCO, SF, VVR, VxAT on Solaris, AIX, HP-ux, Linux & Windows

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