Anatomy of an upgrade: Veritas NetBackup 6.0


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NetBackup Operations Manager
The final part of Renault F1's upgrade was to replace Advanced Reporter and Global Data Manager with the new reporting tool in Veritas NetBackup 6.0 called NetBackup Operations Manager (NOM).

"NOM is much easier to use; it's easier to see if backups have failed," says Hackland. However, there's no migration path between Advanced Reporter and NOM, so all of the historical data collected by Advanced Reporter is lost once NOM is installed. "I wish there had been some way of archiving the old Advanced Reporter stuff ... It's not a major deal because we have the information anyway, but it seems a strange thing that you couldn't go back and look at the historical logs," he says.

According to Symantec, Advanced Reporter wasn't serving the needs of its users and had to be overhauled. "It was a design question. Did we want features x, y and z, or did we want a very tight link in with the past?" says Mike Adams, Symantec's senior group manager, product marketing, Veritas NetBackup. "We thought it best to add feature sets to NOM [rather] than to create a vast link from Advanced Reporter to Operations Manager."

Symantec's Kixmoeller adds that historical data is really only used to see how well the current backup environment is performing. "When you move to [NetBackup] 6, you have changed your environment and you'll want to look at a new baseline of data," he says.

Flavio Hürlimann, IT storage specialist

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at Sunrise/ TDC Switzerland AG, a major telecom provider in Zurich, says NOM is an improvement over the previous reporting tools in Veritas NetBackup, but he feels it still doesn't meet requirements. Because it's Java-based, it takes a while to build screens, "so you're not sure if you have the most current information," he says. Sunrise/TDC Switzerland uses a reporting tool from Agite Software AG called backupVisual, which Hürlimann says creates more detailed reports and presents data more graphically than NOM.

Symantec is aware of the need for more detailed reporting on Veritas NetBackup and is adding more functionality to NOM. Furthermore, Symantec plans to improve the logging feature that records all of the events happening in Veritas NetBackup. Version 6.0 adds more detail to the logging records to aid troubleshooting, according to Symantec. But beware: The logs take up much more disk space because they're gathering more information.

"There have been some isolated issues of customers running out of disk space and that's causing particular issues," says Symantec's Kixmoeller.

In these instances, Symantec offers two options: Create a larger disk pool for the logs if you need that level of detail or wait for Maintenance Pack 4 (MP4), which will let you turn down the verbosity of the logs to create more space. "It comes down to whether the user wants more information or to be more conservative with disk space," says Kixmoeller. MP4 is expected in the fall.

Some users have seen their EMM databases corrupted when logging is turned on and the disk fills up. The MP3 alert from Symantec advises users to run logging on a dedicated file system to prevent this corruption. Users report that reading the logs takes days now rather than hours because they're so long.

This was first published in September 2006

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