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Best practice for usb harddisks / rotation

Hello,

we have some customers that use usb harddisks for backup.
Because newer BE versions use DLM, when the retention period is expired, data on the disk would be deleted.

In our case, we have 5 disks (monday to friday) with 6 days overwrite protection.
In the case of a restore, if an usb drive is connected after the retention time, the data would be deleted automatically,
so if I need to restore data from a disk, I need to set the retention time to a higher date or set the backup-sets  to be
no overwritable - *before* plugin in the disk.

Same situation with "monthly" disks, which have an overwrite-protection for about 30 days.
When the disk was stored in a safe place, not be used for a while and after 2 month connected for a restore and
someone forgot to set the retention-time/protect the drive before plugging in, we may not be able to restore.

Is there an easier / safer way?

Best regards
Daniel

5 Replies
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Re: Best practice for usb harddisks / rotation

Each USB disk should be seen as a separetre disk with a pool being used to target the jobs to (this is for standrad USB NOT RDX attached over USB)

 

Then two options

- if you know you are bringing a disk back for restore then set the disk to "limited to read only before you re-attach it" - this option could mean that human error (i.e. forgetting to set read only )  could result in data being deleted that you need for the restore. Also - you might want to physically label your USB disks with the same names used inside Backup Exec to make this easier to manage.

- reduce the default setting for how long a disk has to be detached before it is automatically set to read-only - if human error occurs using this option new backup jobs won't run but at least you would be protected from accidental reclaims (backup setdeletions when you want to do a restore) - this option would mean that whenever a disk is re-attached the admin would have to take it our of limited to read-only mode.

 

 

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Re: Best practice for usb harddisks / rotation

Hello Colin,

thanks for your feedback. That is exactly the way we handle it, but error-prone (by human).
Maybe I did not described it clearly.

When you use tapes, nothing will be automatically erased since the new job overwrites.
When you use usb-disks, there's a big risk, because the disk is erased before the job starts by DLM.

Any proposals?

Best regards 
Daniel

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Re: Best practice for usb harddisks / rotation

OK so correct you cannot use USB disk like tapes any longer - there is no way to do an overwrite (or manual erase) as the only mechanism to delete a backup set.

So we added the option to limit a disk to read only - and then added the automactic option of if the disk is offline for too long it makes it read only for you. (You have to look in the general backup exec settings and then the storage section of those settings for this setting as it is not specific to each USB disk it applies equally to all) - this is the only one that in reality would reduce human error causing data loss against existing backup sets (as it just causes the potential loss of new backup operations instead as you might end up with no writable storage connected)

One thing I didn't mention before - as a USB disk can contain multiple backup sets, you can also right click individual backup sets and change the retention of them so that they don't reclaim (before you reconnect the device) and then it would reclaim other backup sets on the same device but not the specific backup set you have set to retain. There are multiple locations in the BE console that will show lists of backup sets and all of these locations let you change the retention of a specific set (and in most cases can be changed for both offline and online storage) - when you set a manual retain on a backup set, you can set indefinite and this also lets you add some text for a reason why so another admin would then know why, or you can just change the retention expiration date so that it would eventually reclaim but not on it's original expiration timing. (so even choices there)

 there is another option depending on USB disk - some of them have physical write protect switches on them which can be used if you know you are restoring (in the same way that tapes have write protect tabs)

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Re: Best practice for usb harddisks / rotation

Note: if you use an RDX (Cartidge system) then the behaviour is slightly different as we will only reclaim (delete old backup sets) when a backup job starts and not every hour against RDX. We cannot do this for standard USB HDD as if you look in Windows Explorer (My Computer) you will see that fixed HDD and USB HDD are detected the same way by the operating system, RDX HDD shows up as removable so can be handled differently

Re: Best practice for usb harddisks / rotation

Thanks for the feedback. OK - so the behaviour is not changeable because of the storage type.
Your information regarding RDX may help in the future - maybe.

It's all depending on the customers budget - but now it's clear.

Regards
Daniel