Backup & Recovery

This is about a federal agency—one of the biggest—that faced big IT problems. A 12-million-dollar product implementation ground to a halt and 22 problem reports were opened within two weeks. Then within those same two weeks, all 22 problems were solved by Symantec Enterprise Support Services. Thirty cases overall have been solved within three months.

Not only is the implementation moving ahead successfully and the federal agency happy, but service has been delivered with three qualities that will be appreciated by anyone who's ever needed technical support:

  1. Speed
  2. Insight
  3. Cooperation

Big haystack: small needle

The federal agency in question has 25 terabytes of data to protect. To centralize backup and streamline operational efficiency, it was replacing EMC NetWorker with Veritas NetBackup, to be deployed on a total of 55 servers at different locations. About half of them were clustered.

The first thing Symantec Enterprise Support Services did was to assign a single point of contact for the agency. This saved the agency's IT staff from having to repeat any details on calls.

Which angle do you investigate first?

The point of contact was Andrew, a Symantec support engineer with over 20 years of technology problem-solving experience—including six years solving NetBackup cases in Microsoft Exchange and clustered environments.

The first problem Andrew focused on was why a number of clustered servers were failing over without cause during backup—terminating the backup process.

Examining server logs with Symantec's NetBackup Support Tool, Andrew found that when a cluster server failed over, the Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) was failing as well.

"I opened a Technical Support Alliance (TSA) call with Symantec partner Microsoft to diagnose the problem further simultaneously," Andrew says.

The Microsoft analyst determined that neither NetBackup nor Microsoft IIS was the cause of the problem. It was a third-party antivirus program which had not been upgraded correctly. A chapter of the upgrade directions had been skipped—simple human error.

Once the solution was properly reinstalled on all systems, the failover problem stopped.

Standardized templates create order

Most of the rest of the agency's problem cases involved differences in the way NetBackup and EMC NetWorker are configured for clustered environments. Andrew assisted the agency's IT team in creating standardized NetBackup installation templates customized to the unique requirements of the agency environment. The templates smoothed out configuration problems. 

Implementation is nearly complete. NetBackup is enabling the agency to administer backup centrally instead of remotely, with one full-time employee instead of a dozen part time employees. The result is more reliable backup, faster recoveries, and more staff time available for strategic tasks.

The agency's IT executive is especially pleased with NetBackup, the improvement in data protection for the agency, the professionalism of Symantec Enterprise Support Services, and "the fact that no finger pointing was involved."