Thursday, February 17, 2011

That Looks Bad

Ever been caught in a situation like this (see more)? Last year we documented various recovery procedures for one of our clients to assist them with full system recovery without the assistance of Symantec’s Bare Metal Restore (BMR).

We took care to only document procedures that a systems administrator could follow without the aid of the NetBackup admins, so I told the admin, “hey, since you are the target audience for these procedures, I’ll just look over your shoulders as you follow them.”

Enter Mr. Murphy. Obviously, one critical step in the restore process is restoring the C:\ drive. When it came time to select the recovery point in time, the NetBackup Backup, Archive, and Restore (BAR) application pops up the following dialog:

“That’s funny. I don’t find that on my procedures,” said the admin with a grin. Yeah, I know.

I knew the server had good backups, so why was NetBackup giving me the stiff arm? I checked the policy configuration on NetBackup and realized NetBackup 7 no longer has an “MS-Windows-NT” policy, but “MS-Windows” instead.

Let’s face it, I understand why Symantec changed the name of this policy type. One could argue this change should’ve been made a long time ago, and it’s a great example of how seemingly innocent changes can have unintended consequences.

Since BAR can restore from any policy type, we attempted to configure it for “MS-Windows” instead of “MS-Windows-NT", but BAR knew nothing of “MS-Windows” because it was a NetBackup 6.5.x client.

Fortunately, there was a way out. We completed our restore procedures using server-directed restores (thanks to Frank for the great suggestion). I simply initiated the restore from the Java admin GUI. Now I’ve got some screen shots with which to update the documentation.

Here were the key components for a successful restore:
  • Install NetBackup to a drive other than C:\
  • Remove the system from a domain (if this applies) prior to attempting the System_State restore.
  • Add the system to DNS or ensure forward/reverse name lookups function
  • I found some invalid SERVER entries in the client’s SERVER list that prevented a successful restore.
  • Check available disk space before the restore.
  • Delete the Windows page file (or reduce it greatly) prior to restoring the system state.


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