When exclude lists using wildcards are used on NetBackup 7.0 clients on UNIX/Linux, extra files and directories may be incorrectly excluded from a backup. (updated July 21, 2010)


When exclude lists using wildcards are used on NetBackup 7.0 clients on UNIX/Linux, extra files and directories may be incorrectly excluded from a backup. (updated July 21, 2010)


Document History:
updated 7/21/10: Added link to 7.0 fix for this issue

An issue has been identified with the processing of exclude lists in NetBackup 7.0 GA.  If the asterisk ("*") wildcard is used in an exclude list, NetBackup may incorrectly exclude files and/or directories from backups using that exclude list.  This can happen when a file or directory name partially matches a wildcard pattern in the exclude list.  For example, an exclude list entry of *.dbf would not only exclude the expected matches of files ending in .dbf but also "match" - and exclude - files and/or directories matching the patterns *.db, *.d or even *., all of these being substrings of the exclude list entry.  The result is a backup which does not contain all of the files and/or directories that are expected to be protected by the backup, and those files or directories which were incorrectly excluded from the backup will not available for restore.

Note: This issue similarly affects include lists, causing more data than expected to be backed up when paths match substrings in the include list, but this document is limited to discussion of the potential data loss issue caused with unexpected exclusions.

What is affected:
Every NetBackup 7.0 GA UNIX/Linux client using an exclude list including asterisk wildcards is potentially affected by this problem.  Windows and VMS clients are NOT affected.

Entries using the asterisk as the final character in the exclude list entry are also NOT affected if it is the only wildcard in the entry.

Exclude lists can either be managed from the NetBackup administration GUI, or by directly creating/modifying the exclude files located in /usr/openv/netbackup on the client.  Please refer to the NetBackup 7.0 Administrator's Guide for UNIX and Linux Volume I (linked below) for more information on how to use exclude lists.

Note: Master and media servers are also clients when they are backed up by a NetBackup policy.

How to determine if affected:
The bpbkar log should be examined for exclusions that are taking place, but which would not be expected to happen.

To demonstrate the problem, here is an example of an exclude list on a client, containing the following entries using an asterisk wildcard:


The bpbkar log on the client may contain messages similar to the following:

10:53:16.574 [24681] <4> is_excluded: Excluded /etc/rc0.d by exclude_list entry r*.dbf
10:53:18.305 [24758] <4> is_excluded: Excluded /usr/lib/libc.a by exclude_list entry *.arc
10:53:18.469 [24758] <4> is_excluded: Excluded /usr/X11R6/include/X11/Xaw/Template.c by exclude_list entry *ctrl

In the example above, the three files/directories shown have been excluded from the backup when they should NOT have been excluded.  It is clear that each file/directory name only matches a substring of the corresponding exclude list entry and is not a true match.

This issue can affect both directories and individual files, as shown in the example above.

The easiest method for obtaining a list of all files and directories excluded from a backup is to enable bpbkar logging on the client by creating the /usr/openv/netbackup/logs/bpbkar directory, perform the backup(s), and then run execute grep is_excluded log.<mmddyy> against the relevant bpbkar log file(s).  Verify that no files/directories are being incorrectly excluded from the backup(s).

Formal Resolution:
The formal resolution to this issue (Etrack 2072855) will be included in the following patch release:
  • NetBackup 7.0 Release Update 1 (7.0.1), currently scheduled for release in the third quarter of 2010.
When NetBackup 7.0.1 is available, please visit the following link for download and readme information:

Remove any wildcard entries from exclude lists.

A fix for this issue has been posted for NetBackup 7.0 and can be obtained by accessing this TechFile:

Best Practices:
Symantec strongly recommends the following best practices:
1. Always perform a full backup prior to and after any changes to your environment.
2. Always make sure that your environment is running the latest version and patch level.
3. Perform periodic "test" restores.
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