An Automated DVD-R Recording Solution for Veritas' Backup Exec

An Automated DVD-R Recording Solution for Veritas' Backup Exec Copyright 2005 Jace Johnson 1 of 13

Transcript of An Automated DVD-R Recording Solution for Veritas' Backup Exec

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An Automated DVD-RRecording Solutionfor Veritas' Backup Exec

Copyright 2005 Jace Johnson

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Veritas' Backup Exec is a robust and sophisticated data management solution which incorporates many functions supporting several backup technologies and paradigms beneficial to the system and data-archiving process. Backup Exec is an industry-leading data management solution, providing support for local and manual DVD/CD+RW ( rewritable ) recording. Veritas' Backup Exec does not support automated DVD/CD-R recording solutions; however, by leveraging what Backup Exec does well, a cost-effective integration of a scalable and feature-rich automated disc recording solution is possible.

Young Minds, Inc. (YMI) provides several automated DVD/CD-R solutions. Of these, the DVDQ Server is the only solution available in the industry which can support Backup Exec's structure and format off-the- shelf and out-of-the-box. The integration can support up to four unique simultaneous recordings and produce 300 labeled discs per unattended session, providing an excellent complement to Backup Exec's archiving tasks. The recording solution's additional features enhance its usefulness to the enterprise. These features and additional functions make the adoption choice easily justified by offsetting the investment with accelerated returns.

The integration of these two products is achieved while maintaining Backup Exec's functional integrity. No modifications, changes or software agents are required to the Backup Exec application. The only requirement is to configure the archive application to use the 'Backup to Disk' (B2D) option. B2D directs the placement of the tape archive files on a hard drive file system and eliminates the requirement for tapes and tape recording devices. This is sometimes associated with the term “virtual tape library”. There are several reasons for using this technique: backup archives maintained on-line or near-line, greatly speed up archive file access while reducing system/file recovery times. This is a common practice by IT departments as part of their systems backup strategies. The DVDQ Server shares this file system with Backup Exec. The queuing software hosted on the DVDQ

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Server monitors the existence of B2D archive files; when a completed archive is found, the DVDQ application begins the disc creation process.

The disc creation process is performed in three phases:

1. Task preparation, capturing dynamic information regarding the task's attributes generating support files needed for labeling and recording.

2. Processing labels and premastering the archive files into DVD/CD file systems (disc images).

3. Recording the disc image onto the media and labeling the disc upon completion of the recording process.

The system/data recovery process is Backup Exec's off-line archive import function, which reads the archive back into its catalog and executes the archive recovery. Other Backup Exec functions may be employed as well.

The ability to integrate an automated DVD-R recording solution into an existing or new Backup Exec archive environment is easily accomplished without changing current configurations or backup strategies. The simplicity of using virtual tape devices (B2D) for storing the archives and automatically generating backups to DVD-R media allows another layer of protection for the recovery of irreplaceable data within the enterprise environment. The elimination of proprietary tape formats and readers for the recovery of files using generic DVD readers increases the benefits to the recovery process.

The following overview will examine some of the technical details used to implement the integration of Young Minds' automated DVD-R recording solution into Veritas' Backup Exec application.

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Veritas' Backup Exec is a Windows solution which provides a high- performance data management environment for reliable backup and restore tasks across the network. It supports heterogeneous clients and multi-platform networks of all sizes and accommodates robotic tape libraries. The primary focus for the environment is backing up data to tape devices. DVD/CD automated archiving is not part of the Backup Exec normal functionality.

Young Minds Inc.'s DVDQ Server is a Linux solution which provides the platform for the CD/DVD-R recording solution. Backup Exec integration is done with a module incorporated into a generic disc creation process for the enterprise. There are several configurations of the DVDQ Server available which address optimization and scalability requirements for different IT environments.

The two products are networked together, sharing file systems (hard drives). The file system is mounted on a mount point (directory); underneath the directory are folders (sub-directories). Backup Exec allows the creation of “virtual devices” using these backup folders. This is the Backup to Disk (B2D) feature used by Backup Exec to store backup files (archives). The backup files represent tape cartridges in tape readers which can be accessed using the virtual B2D devices. The number of B2D devices is limited only by the available hard drive space of the shared file system. This enables the creation of many B2D devices and allows the execution of on-line file or system restores quickly; this also eliminates the need for tapes or tape readers. This behavior is similar in function to a tape library without the robotics, tape reader or tape cartridges.

The following diagram represents a simple network architecture to explore the relationships of the individual components for integration.

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● C1 through C6 represent client workstations with connections to the enterprise or local area network (LAN).

● V1 represents Veritas' Backup Exec Server connected to the enterprise or local area network.

● R1 represents YMI's DVDQ Server with a direct network connection to the Backup Exec Server, with an optional LAN connection to the enterprise or domain. It is not a requirement that the DVDQ Server be exposed to the network infrastructure. The only system that needs to communicate with the DVDQ Server is the Backup Exec Server. The advantages of exposing the DVDQ Server to the network is the ability to record discs for distribution or produce other types of products besides system archives; using the generic disc recording and Virtual Jukebox options configured within the DVDQ Server.

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The client workstations use a Remote Agent system resource to enable the remote backup and restore functions controlled by Backup Exec (V1)across the network. In this example C1 through C6 will have two datasets which are scheduled for automated backup to DVD-R. The datasets will have a naming convention of system name (C1, C2, C3, etc.) as a prefix and the dataset name (D1 and D2) suffix.

Review the following table.

System Name Dataset Dataset NameC1 D1 C1D1

C1 D2 C1D2

C2 D1 C2D1

C2 D2 C2D2

C3 D1 C3D1

C3 D2 C3D2

C4 D1 C4D1

C4 D2 C4D2

C5 D1 C5D1

C5 D2 C5D2

C6 D1 C6D1

C6 D2 C6D2

The contents of the datasets may be any data that is normally backed up to tape. The Dataset Name will be used as a container to describe a scheduled Backup to Disk (B2D) task. This information is cataloged in the media database used by Backup Exec to track the created archives and is also used during the archive restore process.

The Backup Exec Server (V1) has been configured to perform scheduled backups for the client datasets. The B2D devices which Backup Exec uses target the folders which will contain the archives. The folders (directories) will use the naming convention of client name, dataset name with an additional suffix of 'R1'. The configurations are standard when setting up

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Backup Exec for scheduled archiving to B2D devices. The datasets need not come from a single system; files/directories from many different systems may be archived to the same B2D device. The naming convention is left up to the system administrator but should make sense for the recovery process.

Please review the following table.

Backup Exec Client Data to Archive DVDQ2 Directory/FolderC1D1 C1D1R1C1D2 C1D2R1C2D1 C2D1R1C2D2 C2D2R1C3D1 C3D1R1C3D2 C3D2R1C4D1 C4D1R1C4D2 C4D2R1C5D1 C5D1R1C5D2 C5D2R1C6D1 C6D1R1C6D2 C6D2R1

The following diagram displays the topology of the current example.. Key concepts to understand from the diagram are:

● The datasets on the clients are directories containing the data to be archived.

● The B2D devices on the Backup Exec Server are defined containers which point at the client's dataset and have an associated target folder where the backup file(s) are assigned for placement.

● The DVDQ Server exports directories which are accessible to the Backup Exec application and represent the folders that the B2D devices will use to store the backup files.

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On starting a scheduled archive, the Backup Exec application begins to stream the backup file(s) to the B2D device, which is physically a sub-directory found on the DVDQ Server. The following file listing is an example of the file types which may be found in a typical B2D device directory.

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The files having the extensions 'bkf' are the backup files from a system. The 'bkf' file size is a tunable configuration item set when the B2D device is created. The default size is 1 gigabyte, the default for DVD-R recording is 3.9 gigabytes, and the maximum size is 64 gigabytes which is recorded onto a set of discs as file segments which are reconstituted during to the restore operation. The Changer and Folder configuration files are generated when Backup Exec creates the B2D device. The configuration files are used by Backup Exec in its archive cataloging scheme.

The following screen capture of Backup Exec's Job Monitor displays the task of generating archives (bkf files) to the “virtual devices” (B2D).

When the archive to the B2D device is completed the backup application has finished its task. The Backup Exec application is loosely coupled to the CD/DVD-R recording process and is essentially out of the disc creation loop once the archives are built and verified.

The DVDQ Server records completed Veritas' Backup Exec B2D archives. This is accomplished with YMI's JobFind Veritas module. This module creates DVD-R/CD-R recording job Control Ready files (RDY) by scanning the B2D device directory for completed archives generated by Backup Exec. A CD/DVD-R job Control file is a simple ASCII text file which describes the recording task.

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Example of a Control file:


The BASE DIRECTORY PATH, Field_1, Filed_2, Field_3, VI, and VS represent dynamic fields, changeable with each new archive. The Base Directory is the location of the back up files (B2D directory). The remaining fields are used for disc labeling and volume information. The static and dynamic fields are defined and generated within the JobFind's Veritas module. All fields except BASE DIRECTORY PATH are easily modified to suit individual IT requirements.

When the Veritas module has successfully created the Control file for the Backup Exec's archive, the DVDQ Server's queuing software will process the task as a standard disc recording request.

The queuing software is comprised of two Java applications which are hosted on the DVDQ Server and are part of the DVDQ suite of Java applications for automated CD/DVD-R recording in an enterprise environment. JobFind is the application that processes the data into CD/DVD file systems and creates disc media sets when data size requires disc spanning. JobQ is the application that the records and labels the media. It primarily handles the hardware side of the task by controlling the robotics (media auto handler) and printer. JobQ allocates the hardware resources available for pending disc recording jobs; it also performs cleanup and logging functions when recording tasks are completed.

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DVDQ Operational Concepts

DVDQ uses the programming technique of 'trigger files' as a sequencer for task processing. When JobFind is in an idle state it periodically scans defined search directories. JobFind will process all properly formed Control files within the search directory. The Control file processing sequence has a simple structure: when JobFind begins to process a “good” Control file, it locks the file by renaming it to Control.BSY. JobFind creates a job ticket directory for each disc required for the task.The job ticket directory created represents a disc to be recorded for the task. A Backup Exec archive may require a set of discs to record the complete dataset. YMI's SpanDisc technology has a rich set of tools and features to support large single-file segmenting (64GB) and spanning larger datasets across multiple discs. When multiple discs are required each disc receives a disc number within the set. The first disc (e.g. Disc 1 of 18) may contain a Table of Contents file (TOC) which maps each file to the targeted disc number within the disc set. There are additional support files which may be included on the first disc depending on the site requirements for file reconstitution and dataset verification.The next step is to process and populate the job ticket directory with the support files for the unique labeling of the disc. Dataset premastering is the final step and the remaining disc creation steps are then passed to the JobQ application using a trigger file extension change.JobQ scans job ticket directories for recording tasks when an idle recorder is sensed by the application. Media is loaded into the recorder using a robotic unit, sometimes referred to as an media autoloader. JobQ initiates the recording process; on its completion, the disc is labeled. Normal cleanup and application logs are the final steps to a completed disc recording task. The following screen capture is an example of JobQ's graphical user interface (GUI).

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There are many functional configurations available to JobFind and JobQ's task processing which enhance the disc recording technology, not only for automated Backup Exec archives but the enterprise as a whole. The Veritas integration module is configured at the factory with default values; however, it maybe be configured with all the necessary parameters relative to the individual site's infrastructure allowing for complete operational integration out-of-the-box

The premastering and label generation applications used for the disc recording processes are YMI's MakeDisc and Label Generation software; both are mature technologies, having been industry standards for over fifteen years.

The integration of a scalable, automated DVD-R/CD-R recording solution into the functional operation of Veritas' Backup Exec application is easily accomplished without modifications to new or existing installations of Backup Exec through use of YMI's DVDQ Server. The integration uses the standard Backup to Disk (B2D) function employed by many IT environments for on-line or near-line storage of virtual tape libraries. The DVDQ Server expands the resources available to the Backup Exec Server and reduces system resource requirements, allowing the archival of up to 300 DVD-R discs in a single session (approximately 1.3 Tera bytes) with unique disc labeling and little or no human interaction.

The DVDQ Server uses a Veritas module to augment an industry standard automated disc recording solution. The solution offers enhancements to the enterprise with a robust set of additional features, such as, a virtual disc jukebox (vJukebox) for on-line storage and network access to disc images. The DVDQ technology may also be used outside of the Backup Exec integration to create CD/DVD-R products that are not part of the scheduled

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systems backup in supporting the enterprise.

The Backup Exec archives are used to trigger the disc production sequence that automatically creates control files and the associated support files for the production of the disc(s). The solution supports SpanDisc technology to create a set of discs e.g. “Disc 1 of 18” for backups that exceed the media storage capacity. Backups and restores use standard disc media and can be read from traditional DVD readers, eliminating tape cartridges and tape recorders for the production of these types of off-line backups.

The solution is network-attached and easily deployed, supporting up to 4 unique simultaneous DVD-R recordings holding up to 17.6 Gigabytes of data. The disc recording solution is self contained; all software and hardware needed is local or attached to the DVDQ Server.

Sales Information Phone: 951.750.1021

email: [email protected]

Technical Information

www.ymi.comPhone: 909.426.4860

email: [email protected]

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