Backup Exec misadventures

(Subtitle: My coworkers’ favorite new Dave Farquhar quote)

If your product isn’t suitable for use on production servers, then why didn’t you tell us that up front and save us all a lot of wasted time?

(To a Veritas Backup Exec support engineer when he insisted that I reboot four production web servers to see if that cleared up a backup problem.)When I refused to reboot my production web servers, he actually gave me a bit of useful information. Since Veritas doesn’t tell you this anywhere on their Web site, I don’t feel bad at all about giving that information here.

When backing up through a firewall, you have to tell Backup Exec what ports to use. It defaults to ports in the 10,000 range. That’s changeable, but changing it through the user interface (Tools, Options, Network) doesn’t do it. It takes an act of Congress to get that information out of Veritas.

What Veritas doesn’t tell you is that the media server (the server with the tape drive) should talk on a different range of ports than the remote servers you’re backing up. While it can still work if you don’t, chances are you’ll get a conflict.

The other thing Veritas doesn’t tell you is that you need a minimum of two, and an ideal of four, ports per resource being backed up. So if the server has four drives and a system registry, which isn’t unusual, it takes a minimum of 10 TCP ports to back it up, and 40 is safer.

Oh, and one other thing: If anyone is using any other product to back up Windows servers, I would love to hear about it.

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4 thoughts on “Backup Exec misadventures

  • October 6, 2004 at 9:10 pm

    Backup Exec is what we use. We don’t have to backup through firewalls, we do a fairly standard backup. One thing I loved was the ability to backup and restore a single table to SQL Server. We don’t have it configured this way anymore though. 🙁

    I’ve used ArcServe and Backup Exec is a dream compared to ArcServe. I’ve often wondered if Computer Associates has produced *any* software that has a worthwhile user interface. While the software is almost always top notch, the user interfaces hide *everything.*

    I’ve got to stop commenting on every story. Note to self: find life. 🙂

  • October 7, 2004 at 1:42 am

    Nah, it gives you something to do and keeps Dave’s feet to the fire occasionally…

  • October 7, 2004 at 7:20 am

    Another option, albeit maybe a more complex one, is the use of IBMs Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM).

    Fairly configurable, well documenetd as to what ports are need through firewalls, and extremely cross platform. Clients available for the majority of host O/S’s, and Server code available for most Unix and Windows flavours.


    • October 7, 2004 at 10:23 pm

      Sounds like it’s worth looking into, if I can get my employer to consider an IBM product. Cross-platform compatibility is important. It’s something most people don’t think about, but how do you know that you’ll always run everything on the same platform it’s running today? You don’t. It’s nice to be able to keep your backup infrastructure even if the platform’s changing.

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