Backup & Recovery

In this guide I will offer a couple of configuration suggestions when using Backup Exec 12 along with Multi-Slot Robotic Tape Libraries


- Partitioning your Robotic Tape Library -

Configuring backup jobs to run on a multi-slot library can be confusing to say the least.  When you configure backup jobs, you can use media sets to isolate a specific backup job to certain tapes, but if you run out of space on those tapes, Backup Exec often starts looking into other media sets for tapes.  If this happens, you run the risk of losing other backup data and using tapes that you didn't intend to use for a particular backup.

One option to completely isolate the tapes used for a particular job is to partition your tape library.   This, in essence, creates multiple "virtual" tape libraries from the various slots avaliable on your physical tape library.   You can create a different partition for each backup job that you regularly run.

To do this:  From the Devices tab in Backup Exec, expand the Robotic Libraries section and right-click on your tape library.   Select "Configure Partitions".   This will list the slots in your library.  Click the first slot that you'd like to use in the new partition and Backup Exec will automatically add the new partition starting there.   You can adjust the settings as needed to create as many partitions as you need.  The partitions will be named with the contained slots in the name.

Once you've partitioned your tape library, you can change your backup jobs to use these "Devices".   Open up your backup job from the Job Setup tab, and then from the Device and Media tab, select your new partition as the Device.


- Maintaining a clean library -

Keeping an actively used tape library in good working order is imperitive when working in any corporate environment.  To do this, you'll want to make sure that your tape library is regularly cleaned.  When determining your tape rotation and backup plan, I recommend leaving one slot for a cleaning tape.  This way, if your tape library needs to be cleaned, Backup Exec knows where to find the tape.

Within Backup Exec's Devices Tab, Expand the Robotic Libraries section and select your tape library.   The slots will be listed on the right-hand pane.   Right-click on the slot you're going to use for the cleaning tape and choose properties.   Here, select the "Cleaning slot" checkbox. 

Once you've done that, you can set up Cleaning Jobs from the devices tab.  You can also schedule cleaning jobs according to your drive usage patterns.


Good article - I wish I'd known about this at the last place I worked - there was nothing more frustrating than coming in of a morning to find out that Backup Exec had decided on its own to use a tape from a different media set when it wasn't supposed to.

Will keep this in mind if the place I work now expand enough to use a tape library rather than a single drive.
Wow, that explains why tapes kept randomly appearing in one of my media sets.  Great guide, thanks.
Exactly what I do. We have HP StorageWorks autoloaders on our sites, and it ensures the site IT guy is putting the right tape in the right slot. That's the theory anyway...they're the weak point, as they sometimes mix the tapes up, leading to a monthly tape being in a weekly slot, and not being overwritable!
At our Head Office, I canned the partitioning of our MSL6060. I wanted it to return tapes to the original grouping they came out of, but this wasn't possible. So I don't run it anymore.
It's a really useful method to follow when you want to keep a measure of control, and track your tapes.
I've had problems with just marking the cleaning tape in BE- it doesn't always clean automatically.  When I define the cleaning slot at the library level, it always works.  Must be a problem that varies from library to library.

It's also good to put a cleaning tape barcode on that tape - it will look something like "CLN001" - but it's not required.

You can print out regular & cleaning labels using software & sheet labels.  I'm partial to the JD Tools version:
...but I'm sure there are many other good tools out there.

hi Scott,
In My company also use that way but now I have a question, so if I wanna extend the partition that I had configed, does All the data on the old partition will lost?

for ex: I config : Slot 1 -> slot 5 is partition 1. now I wanna add more 2 slot to partitition 1, how can?

Please advise me ,

Thanks & Regards,
I partitioned the slots, my backup is configured to use a given partition, but I need to know which slot into the backup partition will use