DOCUMENTATION: The Benefits of Catalog Archiving with NetBackup 6.x and 7.x

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  • Article ID:000032180


DOCUMENTATION: The Benefits of Catalog Archiving with NetBackup 6.x and 7.x


VERITAS NetBackup (tm) 6.0 System Administrator's Guide for Windows, Volume 1
VERITAS NetBackup (tm) 6.0 System Administrator's Guide for UNIX, Volume 1
VERITAS NetBackup (tm) 6.5 System Administrator's Guide for Windows, Volume 1
VERITAS NetBackup (tm) 6.5 System Administrator's Guide for UNIX, Volume 1
Symantec NetBackup (tm) 7.0 System Administrator's Guide for Windows, Volume 1
Symantec NetBackup (tm) 7.0 System Administrator's Guide for UNIX, Volume 1

Modification Type: addition

It is no secret that exponential growth within data centers is making open systems backup more and more challenging. As the backup grows, so does some of the micro-problems within the backup environment, such as the tightening of backup windows, increased network congestion and exponential catalog growth. This document is targeted at helping customers solve one of the many micro problems noted above, catalog growth.

Symantec's NetBackup Software has a catalog command set aimed at decreasing the size of the managed on-line image catalog. This technology can help customers quickly identify and relocate parts of the catalog database to a secondary storage medium. Once relocated, the catalog space once used by these entries is now immediately available for other uses.  The relocation process can also be reversed at anytime, placing the moved entries, back into the original catalog state and storage space.

Catalog Archiving offers many benefits identified in the Key Points section below. The Primary benefit is that once parts of the catalog are properly identified and archived, this technology will greatly decrease the overall size of any catalog disk storage partition and reduce the backup and recovery times of the catalog itself. Symantec Software recommends this technology in environments where customers are experiencing exponential catalog related growth and/or recovery problems due to sheer size of the catalog.

This technology is also very effective at controlling online catalog growth where infinite retentions are a must for legal related reasons, especially in the area of e-mail. Infinite e-mail retention policies do not let the catalog manage its own expiration of older data. Rather, the data piles up indefinitely, changing the normal catalog growth from a marginal growth formula to a linear growth formula. Catalog archiving can reduce the overall catalog growth impact of infinite policies.

Key Points

Catalog Archiving has four Primary Benefits:
1.  It reduces overall storage required for the catalog - this aids in ease of search, backup, manageability and disk storage costs.
2.  Decreases disaster recovery times and increases disaster recovery options including the possibility of replication and snapshot methods.
3.  It reduces growth impact of policies with infinite retention (may be required for legal purposes).
4.  Catalog Archiving is a safe catalog reduction approach that does not make an organization choose what policies will have to be trimmed in terms of retention.

Note: Retention trimming or early expiration can greatly impact the integrity of a backup environment and the recoverability of data.
Real world example
Consider, for example, a NetBackup customer suffering from large year-over-year growth of their environment. Growth has driven the micro problems high as expected with a catalog in excess of 80GB. Before NetBackup Catalog Archiving was implemented, the 80Gig catalog was over taking several hours to backup. This presented a window challenge with 500+ clients and time constraints at Disaster Recovery (DR). After implementing Catalog Archiving, the catalog was decreased to less than 35GB.  It now it takes less than an hour to backup and makes recovery a breeze. By keeping only three months worth of catalog data on-line (the rest is archived to tape), the needs of the business are still met, with all the benefits of a small catalog.

DR Testing is the best case example of why this technology makes the most sense. If it takes 3 to 4 hours to backup the catalog, it will take at least that long to restore. This is bad situation to be in when limited on time for DR testing, or in a real disaster when time is critical.

How to Setup Catalog Archiving
Catalog archiving decreases the size of your catalog database by implementing a relocation policy that relocates the .f catalog files from disk to a secondary storage medium (Tape). Here is a step-by-step process to establish a Catalog Archiving Policy:
1. Open NetBackup Administration Console
2. Create a Volume Pool named catarc
  • Assign 2 media IDs to the pool (1 to be kept onsite and 1 offsite)
  • You may want to document the tape numbers for future reference
3. Create a policy named catarc
  • Select the Policy type
  • Select the Policy storage unit
  • Policy volume pool should be catarc created above
  • Make sure you uncheck the Active field. This policy must remain inactive at all times. The bpcatarc command will activate this policy when it performs a catalog backup and then deactivate the policy once it is complete.
  • Under the Schedules tab, create a new schedule
  • User Backup must be the Type of backup schedule created
  • Check the Multiple copies box ( this will allow you to keep 1 primary tape onsite for ease of restores and 1 secondary tape offsite for disaster recovery purposes)
Click the Configure button and select 2 copies
  • Select your Storage unit,
  • Select your catarc volume pool,
  • Retention must set to a length of time that is equivalent to your longest retention period of backups being archived
  • Select your window of time you want the archive to run
  • Under the Clients tab, add your master server as the client
  • A Backup Selection is not needed as these are user-directed backups, but this would help make the purpose obvious: install_path/NetBackup/db/images
4. Before running the archive command:
  • Make sure your designated catarc tapes are in your tape library; primary copy - onsite and secondary copy - offsite
  • Check the catarc policy and make sure it is deactivated
5. In order to archive the catalog, run the following:
  • install_path/NetBackup/bin/admincmd/bpcatlist -client all -before Jan 1 2009 | bpcatarc | bpcatrm
(change the date range to the date you want the archive to begin)
Note: If you run bpcatlist -help it will give you all the options available.
  • The bpcatlist command queries the catalog and gives a list of .f files.
  • The bpcatarc command backs up the selected list of .f files and kicks off the catarc policy.
  • The bpcatrm command removes the .f files once backed up.
  • The bpcatres command restores the archived .f files you select to the catalog.
Note: For all of the examples listed below; the date/time entries will need to be changed to match the dates and time of the images being managed.
6.  In order to restore an archived catalog, you will need to pull your primary copy (onsite) of your catarc tapes before running the command;
  • Install_path/NetBackup/bin/admincmd/bpcatlist -client all -before Sat Mar 1 00:00:00 2008  | bpcatres
    When finished with the restore, you need to run the following command to again backup the files files and remove them from the image database:
  • Install_path/NetBackup/bin/admincmd/bpcatlist -client all -before Sat Mar 1 00:00:00 2008  | bpcatarc | bpcatrm
7.   In order to restore an archive catalog for a specific date and time range, you need to add the -since command to the above syntax:
  •    Install_path/NetBackup/bin/admincmd/bpcatlist -client all -before Sat Mar 1 00:00:00 2008 -since Wed Apr 31 11:59:59 2008  | bpcatres
When finished with the restore, you need to run the following command to archive the files files again:
  •    Install_path/NetBackup/bin/admincmd/bpcatlist -client all -before Sat Mar 1 00:00:00 2008 -since Wed Apr 31 11:59:59 2008  | bpcatarc | bpcatrm

What Does the bpcatlist output mean?
See TECH36412 in the Related Articles.

Terms of use for this information are found in Legal Notices.



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