Keeping your Backup Software Up To Date – Part 2

Keeping your Backup Software Up To Date – Part 2

In part 1 of this 2 part series discussed NetBackup release compatibility in part 2 we will discuss the actual process of the NetBackup upgrade and the tools that are available to insure your success.  As indicated in part 1, the reasons for upgrading are numerous, not the least of which is new features and options.  From deduplication to SLPs to Accelerator to Oracle to NDMP to MS-SQL to cloud, the pace of improvements is almost daunting and well beyond the scope of this document.  The NetBackup admin is strongly encouraged to review the release notes of all versions that are newer than what they are running today.

A lesser known but very significant improvement is the upgrade process itself: numerous preparation tools; start an upgrade by invoking an “install” script; almost fully automated and incorporates many pre-checks; automatic pre-upgrade checkpoints mitigate the risk of a failure (upon encountering a show-stopping issue, the upgrade script(s) will automatically roll back to the previously running version).

For the upgrade itself, the hardest part may be the upfront administration.  With appropriate support, somebody in an organization should be receiving e-mails when new releases are available, and the e-mail should have the necessary customer information and links to appropriate sites for licensing and code downloads.  If you inherited an environment and thus not receiving the e-mails, you should contact support and/or your sales rep and patiently work thru the transition.  For online support and the licensing portal, you may want to bookmark https://my.veritas.com

A good first step is Veritas Services and Operations Readiness Tools, a.k.a. SORT  https://sort.veritas.com/netbackup.   Lots of good information here, , including a data collecting and reporting tool (which you can run anytime), and several ‘checklist’ options.

Next is the NetBackup Catalog Consistency check, i.e. NBCC, another improved tool.  In the ‘old days’, you had to run the tool, open a case and upload the results, and get a somewhat cryptic repair file which worked in conjunction with NBCCR (NetBackup Catalog Consistency Repair).   The NBCC and NBCCR versions had to be the same as your NBU, and oftentimes reported issues that would not impede an upgrade.  Newer versions have options which only look for upgrade obstacles.  If none are found, it tells you explicitly and deletes any files it created.  The latest version is compatible with NetBackup 6.x and 7.x.  Check out Links to the latest NBCC / NBCCR downloads and DOCUMENTATION AND DOWNLOAD: How to use the NetBackup Catalog Consistency Utility (NBCC) 7.7.2

A final check, brief but important, is a consistency check of the NetBackup databases.  This check requires you to stop all NetBackup services, then start only the ASA (database) service and invoke the NBDB_admin utility.  It takes about 10 minutes to run.  Details can be found at How to perform a consistency check of the NetBackup EMM and BMR databases using the command line or NetBackup NBDbAdmin(Windows) or dbadm(UNIX/Linux) utilities.

At this point, if everything has checked out satisfactorily, your environment should be structurally ready for an upgrade.  Before actually starting the upgrade, it’s a good idea to open a case with Veritas, tell them it’s a placeholder for a NetBackup upgrade.  Veritas support is fine with this, so that if you do encounter an issue and need support, the open case is ready and waiting.  If you do not yet have a new license that’s ok, you can add it later.  The license you have will still work however new features will not be available.  Read thru the upgrade guide for your new version to see if there are items particular to your domain(s).  One item that is consistent across upgrades is the need to halt the backup activity, Veritas’ recommendation (included in the upgrade guide) is to de-activate policies, SLPs, etc..  The upgrade will not proceed if backups are running. Just as important,  you will want to re-check your environment post-upgrade, before new backups kick in.  Appliance upgrades will run backup and restore tests as part of the pre-check, so disabling the policy execution manager is not a good option.  (Also, the upgrade scripts will restart the PEM and hence re-enable backups before you have a chance to review).  For the backup policies it’s fairly simple to write a set of small scripts on your master server (Unix or Windows) to: (1) write a text file of active policies; (2) read from the file and de-activate those policies; (3) read from the file and activate the policies (post-upgrade of course).

For post-upgrade checks, start with the NetBackup processes (bpps –a), everything should be running, especially look for the database services and the EMM processes.  Log in to the admin console, this should look pretty much the same as pre-upgrade, except for upgrades to the console itself.  Do a couple random perusals of the catalog and finally, run a test backup and 2 restores: one from a pre-upgrade backup and one from a post-upgrade backup.

A final word of caution:  this doc is meant as an overview to help alleviate some pre-upgrade jitters.  It cannot replace due diligence by an administrator to know their environment, read the appropriate documentation, resolve existing issues, write down what you need to do, etc.  Basically, do your homework and happy upgrading!

Contact Corporate Technologies if we can help you through  the upgrade process and enable you to take advantage of new functions and features that will to make the backup and recovery operation more reliable, more efficient, more automated, and easier to integrate and manage.

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