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All about Veritas NetBackup

In this article we’ll review NetBackup Enterprise Server and all the components involved in the backup process. This includes some licensing, installation and configuration concepts. I will only cover 3 TIER NetBackup Configurations.


NetBackup supports most popular operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Unix, and Linux. For a complete list of support operating systems supported for the NetBackup Servers and NetBackup Clients refer to As not all servers are physical these days there is also integration with Virtualization software platforms, VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V. Refer to for details on virtualization).

In addition to all these operating systems NetBackup also supports the Applications and Databases residing on them. Custom Application and Database Agents allow the creation of consistent, online, and in certain cases granular, backups. For a complete list of support Applications and Databases refer to

Then finally, backup is not possible without backup destinations, or backup storage mediums. NetBackup supports a multitude of Storage Devices as backup targets. These include disk, tape, deduplication, and even cloud storage devices that are available from many vendors. For the full list of supported devices refer to

The NetBackup Domain

NetBackup lets you backup, archive, and restore files, folders, and even complete systems that reside in your Datacenter. As mentioned in the previous section, NetBackup includes the Server, Client, Agent components:

The Master Server

The Master Server manages backups, archives, and restores operations. The configuration on the master server determine the following important criteria

  • The type backup (Files, Folders, Databases, Applications, Virtual guests)
  • The backup source (Client servers)
  • The transport method to use when backing up the data (LAN, SAN, Snapshots)
  • The backup targets or media (Storage Devices)
  • The retention (How long to retain the backup)

The configuration mentioned above is contained in the NetBackup Catalog. The Catalog consists of the following components.

  • Configuration files – Policies, schedules, any other flat files used by NetBackup
  • Relation Databases - Media and volume data used during backups, BMR info, and Authorization
    • NBDB.db
    • EMM_Data.db
    • EMM_Index.db
    • NBAZDB.db
    • BMRDB.db
  • Image Database - Information about what has been backed up and where the data resides.

An Enterprise Server License is required for the Master Server

The (Traditional) Media Server

The Media Server is responsible for receiving client data and placing it onto the backup storage media. Depending on the configuration that could be storage that is directly or indirectly available to the media server. (Indirectly implies that the data received is passed to storage server that would place it onto the storage media.)

A media server can perform backups of it and other clients where as a SAN media server can only perform backups of itself. These days the term SAN Media Server has been replaced by Enterprise Client although Enterprise Client is also a licensed feature, which includes more features than purely the ability to backup directly to a storage medium.

You can have the Media Server role or function enabled on your Master Server if you choose to. This is common in smaller configurations.

An Enterprise Server License is required for the Media Server

The FT Media Server

Performs the same role as the (Traditional) Media Server but receives the data from the Clients via the SAN instead of the LAN. Clients that send their data to an FT Media Server across the SAN are referred to as SAN Clients.

Only Solaris, and certain Linux Operating Systems are supported as FT Media Servers.

To enable the FT media server to receive data across the SAN it is required to change the fibre channel ports on the installed HBA’s to TARGET mode. Only certain HBA’s are supported for this configuration. Refer to the Operating System and Hardware compatibility guides in the previous section for more details.

A Media Server can act as both traditional and FT media server by receiving data via both the LAN and SAN.

An Enterprise Server License is required for the Media Server

The SAN Media Server / Enterprise Client

As explained earlier, a SAN media server can only perform backups of itself. This configuration is typically used for clients with larger data sets.

By converting the client to a SAN media server it could get access to the storage devices (tape / disk) directly and avoid sending its data across the LAN. The conversion would however require the installation of the Server software instead of the client software.

[I’ve listed the SAN Media Server / Enterprise Client under the Server Components because it runs Server software.]

An Enterprise Client License is required for the Media Server

The OpsCenter Server

The OpsCenter Server provides backup management, alerting, monitoring, and reporting capabilities for one or many NetBackup domains. According to the NetBackup 7.6. Licensing Guide

“There are two packages of OpsCenter: Standard and Analytics. The Standard OpsCenter functionality and reports are included with all NetBackup licensing. The customer is able to deploy OpsCenter within their environment as needed.


The base OpsCenter product and applicable support is available for customers who have a valid NetBackup license and corresponding support contract. No support will be provided customer without a valid NetBackup license.


OpsCenter Analytics Option builds on the OpsCenter standard features. OpsCenter Analytics enables advanced reporting capabilities such as a custom report builder and the ability to write custom SQL queries on the OpsCenter database. Furthermore, OpsCenter Analytics enables customer to access the entire history of their backup information. The base OpsCenter product limits customers to a 60-day window into their backup history.”

The (Standard) Client

The (Standard) Client is deployed on physical and virtual servers that are to be protected in the environment. In certain scenarios it is required to have the client software installed on a virtual guest even if it is being protected by a VMware of Hyper-V type policy, more on that later.

An Standard Client License is required for the Standard Client

The SAN Client

The SAN Client uses the same software as a (Standard) Client but is configured to send its data across the SAN to the FT Media Server. The features requires a valid Enterprise Client License, a configured FT media server, and some zoning configuration to work.

An Enterprise Client License is required for the SAN Client

The Storage Devices

NetBackup can store data in a multitude of storage devices. Below are the most common options.

Tape Devices

  • Standalone & Library Based Tape Drives can be used as backup destinations in NetBackup. Library based tape devices can be from either physical of virtual tape devices.
  • Shared Storage Option enables the sharing of above mentioned tape drives across NetBackup media servers on a storage area network (SAN).
  • NetBackup NDMP Option enables backup of NAS devices to local attached tape, to tape attached to another NDMP-compliant NAS device, or to an existing NetBackup media server.

Disk Devices

  • BasicDisk refers to locally-attached or network-attached disk devics. The disk storage is exposed as a file system to a NetBackup media server. NetBackup stores backup data in the specified directory. 

  • Advanced Disk Storage are primarily the same as BasicDisk devices but with added features such as sharing, load balancing, and the use of Storage Lifecycle policies.

OpenStorage (OST) Devices

  • Storage vendors (DataDomain, Quantum, etc) participate in the Symantec OpenStorage Partner Program. By using the OST API NetBackup can initiate or manage operations where the OST devices create secondary copies via duplication, replication, or export/dump to tape.

NetBackup Appliances

  • NetBackup 50xx series appliances offer a solution similar to the OST storage servers mentioned above in that they provide a deduplication storage server and disk storage
  • NetBackup 52xx series appliances are all-in-one / purpose built deduplication appliances and contain a media server in addition to the deduplication storage server and disk storage.

Data Paths

As seen in the section about the NetBackup Domain, there are many different server and client configuration option which influence how data is transferred from source to destination. In the explanation below we focus more on the path from the source up to the media server. We'll not focus on the subsequent transfer to the storage device as that would relate more to the type of device used.

Standard Client and (Traditional) Media Server

Client >>> LAN >>> Media Server >>> Storage Device/Storage Server

SAN Client and FT Media Server

Client >>> SAN >>> FT Media Server >>> Storage Device/Storage Server

Enterprise Client (Client and Media Server process run on same server)

[Client [>>> Media Server ] ] >>> Storage Device/Storage Server


I'll add more sections on the configuration concepts available in NetBackup in the next revision.




thanks for the informations :)