DOCUMENTATION: Unexpected results, up to and including data loss, may occur if changes are made to active Storage Lifecycle Policies (SLP).

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DOCUMENTATION: Unexpected results, up to and including data loss, may occur if changes are made to active Storage Lifecycle Policies (SLP).


Veritas NetBackup Administrator's Guide for Windows, Volume I (p.249-262)
Veritas NetBackup Administrator's Guide for UNIX and Linux, Volume I (p. 253-266)

Modification Type: Supplement

Great care should be taken when editing an active Storage Lifecycle Policy (SLP).  If an SLP is edited while images are in process, the previous SLP configuration is "forgotten" and the new settings may apply not only to new images, but also to those images which have already been created but which have not yet completed the lifecycle process.

This can potentially lead to duplications taking place with settings which are unexpected.  In some cases, this could lead to data loss - for example, suppose an SLP originally called for two copies:  one short-term staging copy and a subsequent long-term copy.  If this SLP was changed to create just one long-term copy, it is possible that for in-process images only a short-term copy would exist.  When that copy expires, the backup would be lost.

What is Affected:
All environments where SLPs have been configured have the potential to be affected by this issue.  This includes all supported operating systems running:
  • NetBackup Enterprise Server 6.5 and above
How to Determine if At Risk:
Before editing an SLP, check the duplication status of images.  The nbstlutil list -U -lifecycle <SLPname> command can be used to check the status of images managed by the SLP.  Observe the value in the Storage Lifecycle State line for the Image - possible values are 1 (NOT_STARTED), 2 (IN_PROCESS), 3 (COMPLETE) or 4 (DELETED).

For example:
# nbstlutil list -U -lifecycle Test_AdvDisk1
Master Server            :
Backup ID                : master_1242401887
Client                   : master
Backup Time              : 1242401887 (Fri May 15 10:38:07 2009)
Policy                   : mypolicy
Client Type              : 0
Schedule Type            : 0
Storage Lifecycle Policy : Test_AdvDisk1
Storage Lifecycle State  : 1 (NOT_STARTED)
Time In Process          : 0 (Wed Dec 31 18:00:00 1969)
Data Classification ID   : 572B66FC1DD211B2954F0003BA4500C8

A duplication status of 1 (NOT_STARTED) or 2 (IN_PROCESS) will indicate that this image can be affected by any changes made when editing the SLP under which that image was created.

If the egrep command is available, this command could be also used:
# nbstlutil list -U -lifecycle Test_AdvDisk1 | egrep "NOT_STARTED|IN_PROCESS"

If output is returned from the above command, the SLP is active and should not be edited at that time.

Formal Resolution:
Etrack 1518665 has been created to track fixes for better handling of changes made to active SLPs as well as their effect on images which are not "lifecycle complete" at the time the configuration change is made.  This issue is expected to be addressed in the following release:
  • NetBackup 6.5 Release Update 5 (6.5.5), expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2009.
To avoid occurrence of this issue, employ one of the following workarounds:

1. Rather than edit the SLP, create a new SLP with the desired changes.  Edit backup policies so that they use this new SLP.  After all images from the previous SLP have been processed (status of 3 (COMPLETE) or 4 (DELETED)), the old SLP can then be deleted.

2. Disable any backup policies which use the SLP.  Wait for all images managed by the SLP to be fully processed (status of 3 (COMPLETE) or 4 (DELETED)).  The SLP can then be edited.  Be sure to enable any previously disabled backup policies after the SLP has been edited.

Related Articles

alert: Images written as part of a Storage Lifecycle Policy (SLP) may be prematurely marked as "lifecycle complete" prior to scheduled duplication due to a problem allocating resources from the operating system.

DOCUMENTATION: What are the different fields in "nbstlutil list" output?

Veritas NetBackup 6.5 Administrator's Guide for Windows, Volume 1

Veritas NetBackup 6.5 Administrator's Guide for UNIX and Linux, Volume 1

The lifecycle policy name will change name when using the nbstlutil command to activate or de-activate a Lifecycle policy.

Best practices for configuring NetBackup with Storage Lifecycle Policies

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