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Posts Tagged ‘lto restoration’

Festive fun with LTO

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
Save for the IT manager at a German TV channel attempting to restore some footage from their PresStore backup archive in time for a New Year ’s Day TV Show…

To this day we are not sure what was not working, but working it was not. The catalogue of the PresStore backups had been cleared, it was thought that the 200 x LTO4 tapes would no longer be needed, so now a frantic effort was being made to re-create the infrastructure and scan 200 tapes.

With a single LTO4 drive it was already going to be a matter of luck whether the right tape was found in time as even working 24 hours a day you could hope only to get through 40 or so tapes in the time available, and the re-cataloguing kept failing with configuration errors, and so came the call for help, followed by an IT manager in a Volvo bearing LTO tapes and an expression of angst.

One of the benefits of writing one’s own software for various backup formats is that you don’t need to worry about configuration, processing is pretty much a function of tapes drive numbers, and with 20 LTO5 drives running in less than 2 days the PresStore backups had been re-scanned, a catalogue created and the required data identified.

Restoration of the required data from the PresStore backup took about an hour and so with time to spare our hero was racing back under the channel to save the day.

I have no idea who the footage was of, someone I am too old to appreciate I am told, so I apologise now to any Bavarian parent whose New Year peace we were responsible for disrupting, but the happy smiling face of the IT manager made it all worthwhile.

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Mission creep with mail restoration

3,500 backup tapes containing Commvault Galaxy backups from which selected emails are required within 30 days might seem like a tall order, until the tapes arrive and turn out to be 1400 TSM backups on LTO2, 1200 Galaxy on LTO4, 900 NetBackup on LTO1 and LTO2, along with a selection of additional DATs and AIT tapes of unknown origin (it transpired that these were AS/400 SAVLIB). The water having been muddied it now turned to sludge as the court deadline to get the data turned out to be 30 days from 18 days earlier, so there were 12 days until the deadline. One other small detail, the email system in use had changed at some point from Notes to Exchange.

Planning around formats such as NetBackup and Galaxy where there is at least the option to position along tape to filemarks and get backup set information without having read every block of data is one thing, for TSM there was no option but to read every block of every tape and identify all of the file present.

Under such circumstances using the originating backup applications is not an option, for NetBackup and Galaxy where this would be possible, the infrastructure set-up requirement prior to starting work would take us past the deadline. With TSM it is just not an option. To meet the deadline tapes had to be “spinning” from day 0.

This is where the benefit of having written your own “non-native” restoration software and having spent years proving it in live situations reaps rewards. Rather than needing media servers to host drives & backup servers to host backup software, we were able to process the tapes using single PC systems each with 4 tape drives attached and scale up to 60+ drives running simultaneously on a 24/7 basis, filtering the file information as we went to identify Exchange backups and Notes files and where found process the tapes in question and restore the data. The deadline was met, not easily, but a day early.

Whilst there are cases where using the originating “native” backup application is the way to go, in a case like this being able to scale up processing with the relatively simple addition of Windows PCs each with multiple tape drives and no requirement for additional servers is what made it possible.


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