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Schedule Job Based on the Tape Name

Created: 02 Nov 2013
Brian Stevens's picture
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For years I have been supporting small business customers who use using NTBackup on Windows SBS 2000 and 2003 servers. By itself NTBackup is pretty basic however with a little VB Scripting I came up with something that my customers really like: read the tape label to decide which backup job to run!

Small businesses don't spend money on tape changers and often will take a tape offsite (home) with them every day. Their time is precious and they want it to be easy. So if 3 days after the month end the accounting department wants to run a monthly backup because they just closed off last month's work they stick the OCTOBER tape in the drive for instance and a full monthly backup is run that night. My VB Script also sends an email notification and ejects the tape after the backup is run so I tell my users that if the tape is already ejected in the morning then the backup was likely successful and if not they better give me a call. It is true that most of the time when the backup fails the script doesn't complete and the tape remains in the drive.

I usually have my customers buy 20 tapes for a three tiered backup and label them MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY1, THURSDAY2, THURSDAY3, THURSDAY4, FRIDAY and JANUARY through DECEMBER. The Weekly backup tape is inserted on Thursdays since in Canada most holidays are on Monday or Friday. The weekday tapes I just backup data, while the weekly (Thursday) and monthly tapes are usually full server backups although sometimes the weekly and monthly selection lists are different. The backup is scheduled to run at the same time every day, read the tape label then decide what to backup. What could be simpler?

With Backup Exec the best I can do is schedule the monthly job on the first Thursday of the month and the weekly backups on the other Thursdays. If the user forgets then the monthly or weekly backup is on the wrong tape which can cause problems.

Bottom line here is the user is often the business owner and the last thing they want to do is logon to the server to schedule which job they want to run. They don't have the time and will likely make a mistake anyway.