Easier than you think
A manufacturer’s data center administrator was having trouble configuring a restore CD for Veritas Netbackup, and he called Symantec tech support for help. The company had upgraded to NetBackup 6.0 and he’d decided to test its Bare Metal Restore feature, which offers simplified server recovery, without configuring hardware or installing operating systems.
Bare Metal Restore creates a Fast Boot CD to restore the server, and this is where the customer had run into trouble. Alan, a technical engineer with nine years’ support experience and particular expertise in Bare Metal Restore, responded to the call.
"It turned out the customer was struggling with steps that are no longer necessary with Veritas NetBackup 6.0," Alan recalls. In earlier versions, the Fast Boot CD had to be configured for the specific machine, operating system, and network structure to be restored. Veritas NetBackup 6.0. eliminates the need for these steps. "He wasn't aware of the new method," Alan says. "He tried it straight away and it worked."
Right backup, wrong card
A week or so later, Alan noticed the same customer in the tech support queue and contacted him to see if he could provide any further assistance. He learned that the administrator had continued the testing process by restoring a server to a new machine. This feature of Bare Metal Restore allows a backed-up server to restore to a completely new machine, in case of a hardware failure or local event such as a fire or flood.
However, this time the restored server could not connect to the network. Alan identified the problem: The new server had a different network card than the backed-up machine, so a driver for the new card was needed. The customer downloaded the proper driver, and the machine connected correctly.
Peeking behind the scenes
A few days later, the same customer contacted Symantec support a third time. In a new testing phase, he had created a Fast Boot CD, and was attempting to restore a server he had intentionally disabled. The CD normally instructs the restored server to go through the network to the NetBackup server, fetch stored information, and use it to restore the server.
This time the process didn't work, and because the machine was only partially restored, it was hard to find out exactly why. Alan taught the customer a trick for peeking behind the scenes. "When you're doing a Fast Boot CD restore, you get a banner at the top of the screen," he says. "Control and left-click on that banner brings up a command line that lets you send commands to the machine, even though it's not fully running yet."
Right name, wrong address
The customer took Alan's suggestion to use a lookup command to find out where the problem originated. He discovered that Bare Metal Restore was attempting to restore from what was supposed to be the NetBackup server—but was connecting to the wrong IP address. The company's domain name system (DNS) server was mismatching machine names and IP addresses, an issue that would not have come to light without Bare Metal Restore. The customer had one of his colleagues correct the IP address on the DNS server, and then tried the restore again. This time it worked perfectly. Result: one happy customer. Responding to a survey shortly thereafter, he noted that Alan had been very knowledgeable and helpful and added that the response to his call had been "better in every way" than the support he'd received from any other software company.