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Anatomy of an upgrade: Veritas NetBackup 6.0

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Top five best practices for upgrading to Veritas NetBackup 6.0

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  1. Verify catalog consistency. Run the Symantec Veritas NetBackup catalog consistency tool and work with either Symantec support or consulting to resolve any inconsistencies.
  2. Do a Pre-upgrade catalog backup. Capture a catalog backup prior to the upgrade.
  3. Update the config file. Remove configuration file references to media servers that no longer exist.
  4. Check the global database. Review global database information (vmglob) to determine if there are host names that are no longer media servers.
  5. Ensure hardware compatibility. Verify that hardware running Version 4.5/5.x is supported under Version 6.0 by checking the support matrix. Also, ensure the server hardware has enough processor power and memory (a minimum of 0.5GB for Windows and 1GB for Unix).
Source: Symantec Corp.

Help arrives onsite
One user, who requested anonymity because his company has a policy of not endorsing or critiquing products from vendors with which it has relationships, spent days going through logs to figure out where his Veritas NetBackup implementation was failing. "Nothing gets done [to fix the problem] until you send the logs. In the end, Veritas couldn't replicate our problems in their environment, so they sent people to our place," he says.

The company has 170 master servers--60 running Veritas NetBackup 6.0 MP2--and almost 2 petabytes (PB) of storage under management. After running into major catalog consistency and corruption problems during the upgrade process, the company opted to spend $20,000 for a Veritas consultant who found all the discrepancies on its master servers and was then able to proceed with the upgrade. "That was a special deal for us as we are a large customer," notes the user.

According to Symantec, a free tool called NetBackup Catalog Consistency (NBCC) can be used prior to an upgrade to Veritas NetBackup 6.0 to check the catalog consistency. That tool wasn't available when this user upgraded in mid-March (see "Top five best practices for upgrading to Veritas NetBackup 6.0," at right).

The user plans to install MP3, and hopes it will fix a shopping list of other problems, including an issue with multistreaming, "which was the premier feature of NetBackup and now we can't even use it anymore." Symantec's response: When using Veritas NetBackup 6.0, 6.0 MP1 and 6.0 MP2, if a multiplexed backup receives an end of media message--and before it can get new media--another backup sent to the same drive will fail and there's the potential for data loss. The company says MP3 fixes this problem.

The user also went through considerable pain when installing Veritas CommandCentral agents on Veritas NetBackup servers, which caused NetBackup to stop recognizing the company's tape drives. They had to completely uninstall (rather than disable) the agents to fix the problem, which caused backups to fail for a day.

"The biggest concern that we want to see fixed is the error-code 200 problems that we're having," says the user. "If a parent job fails or hangs, nothing else runs. Also, if a manual backup is kicked off, the policy will not resume running the next day for some reason."

This was first published in September 2006

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