Disaster Recovery Backup

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Overview

Disaster Recovery Backup Administration

Best Practices

CommServe Disaster Recovery Tool

Related Reports


Overview

The software stores all information for the CommCell in a SQL database, and in the Windows registries. It is critical to be able to retrieve this information in the case of a disaster or system failure. This metadata and Windows registry data are backed up during a Disaster Recovery Backup. This data can be browsed and then restored using the CommServe Disaster Recovery Tool.

Types of Disaster Recovery Backups

Disaster Recovery backs up the following types of data:

Metadata Metadata includes the Microsoft SQL Server database that holds information about all CommCell and SRM database components (including clients , media configuration and Report Server for SRM).
Windows registry The Windows registry is a central resource from which the Windows operating system obtains many of the systemís operating parameters.
Firewall Configuration Files The firewall configuration files (FwPeers.txt, FwHosts.txt and FwPorts.txt) are also included in the Disaster Recovery backup. If necessary, the entries associated with Clients/MediaAgents on the other side of the firewall from the CommServe can be restored in the event of a CommServe re-build. Note that a restore of the disaster recovery backup does not automatically restore the firewall files. To restore these files, manually select these files for restore from the CommServe Disaster Recovery Tool. See Restore a Disaster Recovery Backup for step-by-step instructions.

The following types of Disaster Recovery Backups are supported:

Full Does a complete backup of CommServe and SRM database.
Differential Backs up only that data in the CommServe and SRM database that has changed since the last full backup.

Regardless of the backup type, the registry hive is always fully backed up.

Phases of Disaster Recovery Backups

Disaster Recovery Backups are executed in two phases: Export and Backup. During the Export phase, Disaster Recovery Backup copies data to a local or network path. If necessary, a network path pointing to the hot-site can be established. The Backup phase scans the data for missing files, backs up data to media using a Disaster Recovery Backup storage policy, and then indexes and archives the data for long-term retention.

Disaster Recovery Backup will check the CommServe database for any type of corruption. If database corruption is detected, all CommServe job activities are disabled. Contact your software provider for assistance with database corruption.

By default, when a Disaster Recovery Backup detects database corruption, all CommServe job activities are disabled. To allow CommServe job activities to continue regardless of database corruption, use the DisableActivityOnDbCorruption registry key.

Export Phase - Disaster Recovery Backup to Disk

This phase does a Disaster Recovery Backup to the destination File System directory chosen during the installation of the CommServe (a local drive on the CommServe or a network destination). This directory can be changed from the DR Backup Settings (Export Settings) dialog box in the Control Panel of the CommCell Console. If a network destination is chosen, then an appropriate user account must also be specified, as described in Designate the Disaster Recovery User Account.

  • The directory file path selected for this phase should not be located on a FAT drive. A FAT drive cannot be supported for this feature because it does not allow a temporary sparse file to be generated when creating the database snapshot, which is required for data verification; this may cause the phase to fail in its attempt to backup the database.
  • If there is no MediaAgent configured, it is recommended that you specify a network share for the Disaster Recovery Backup destination folder.

SET_XXX directories are created under the specified destination. Each set holds information about the metadata and the registry. It contains the following files:

Disaster Recovery Backup Files

File Description
commserv_FULL.dmp This full .dmp file represents a full backup of the CommServe database. This full backup was backed up using Disaster Recovery backups.
commserv_DIFF_xxx.dmp This differential .dmp file represents a differential backup of the CommServe database. This differential backup was backed up using Disaster Recovery backups.

xxx is a sequential number for the file. The highest number is associated with the latest Disaster Recovery backup.

commserv_hive.reg The CommServe registry full backup file.
commserv_hive_xxx.reg The CommServe registry differential backup file.

xxx is a sequential number for the file. The highest number is associated with the latest Disaster Recovery backup.

QNet_<cs_sitename>_FULL.dmp This full .dmp file represents a full backup of the CommNet Server database. This full backup was backed up using Disaster Recovery backups.
QNet_<cs_sitename>_DIFF_xxx.dmp This differential .dmp file represents a differential backup of the CommNet Server database. This differential backup was backed up using Disaster Recovery backups.

xxx is a sequential number for the file. The highest number is associated with the latest Disaster Recovery backup.

SRM_<cs_sitename>_FULL.dmp This full .dmp file represents a full backup of the SRM Server database. This full backup was backed up using Disaster Recovery backups.
SRM_<cs_sitename>_DIFF_xxx.dmp This differential .dmp file represents a differential backup of the SRM Server database. This differential backup was backed up using Disaster Recovery backups.

xxx is a sequential number for the file. The highest number is associated with the latest Disaster Recovery backup.

Other Files Depends on the software module installed, e.g., firewall configuration files.

Data is backed up from the SQL server and is written to the user-defined destination. If this phase is unable to get a response from the SQL server, the software will retry up to 10 times at 30 minute intervals. If the software can get the data but cannot write to the user defined destination, it will retry the creation the directory structure specified for the Disaster Recovery Backup destination. If it cannot, then it will directly go to the second phase.

Disaster Recovery Backup files (.dmp) are portable between CommServe computers running Microsoft Windows Server 32-bit and x64 edition operating systems.

Backup Phase - Disaster Recovery Backups to Media using a Disaster Recovery Backup Storage Policy

In this phase, a copy of the data backed up in the Export phase as well as the non-active log files are first scanned for any additional system configuration files (not affiliated with the software) that should be included in the backup, and then written to media using a Disaster Recovery Backup or standard storage policy.

If configured to do so, this phase will also backup log files from selected clients. With log files providing the processing details of operations that have occurred on your system, this is especially useful for troubleshooting. For step-by-step instructions, see Schedule a Disaster Recovery Backup.

A default Disaster Recovery Backup storage policy [CommServeDR (host name)] is automatically created when the first library in the CommCell is configured. This type of storage policy is recommended because it only writes the Disaster Recovery Backup data to the media, and its default retention period is defined as 60 days and 60 cycles, which can be easily changed during configuration. The media being used for this storage policy should be removable to prevent accidental data loss due to system failure. If the first library configured is a disk library, change your Disaster Recovery Backup configuration to use a Disaster Recovery Backup storage policy associated with a tape library as soon as the first tape library is configured. You can create as many Disaster Recovery Backup storage policies as needed.

When there is no secondary copy using a tape library for the active disaster recovery storage policy, a secondary copy will be automatically created when you configure a tape library. Also, an automatic auxiliary copy schedule will be created, which will run every 15 minutes.

Though it is recommended to use a Disaster Recovery Backup storage policy in your configuration, standard storage policies can be used as well. If you select a standard storage policy for your configuration, the media will contain a mix of Disaster Recovery Backup data as well as standard backup data. This is not a recommended configuration because the retention rules of the standard storage policy will apply to all the data written to the media for that storage policy regardless of data type, standard backup versus Disaster Recovery Backup data. If the storage policy's retention rules are met, the data will be aged; and if this occurs prior to running another Disaster Recovery Backup, the Disaster Recovery Backup data will be lost.

If the software cannot write data to the media for any reason, it will retry up to ten times at 30 minute intervals. By default, Disaster Recovery Backup data written to media in the Backup phase is retained indefinitely, but can be changed from the DR Backup Settings dialog box.

For more information on Disaster Recovery Backup storage policies, see Storage Policies.

Once the data has been written to the media, it will be indexed for browsing and archived for long-term retention.

Restore Disaster Recovery Backup Data

Disaster Recovery Backup data can be restored at any production site or a hot-site any time using the CommServe Disaster Recovery Tool; however, the operation must be run on a CommServe machine that does not have any other platforms installed, e.g., MediaAgents, iDataAgents. Running the restore on a CommServe-only machine ensures that conflicts caused by mismatched product versions or dynamic-link library (DLL) files are avoided. The backup data can be restored from the Export Destination (Disaster Recovery Backups on disk) or the Backup Destination (Disaster Recovery Backups on media).

Disaster Recovery Backups of data can also be browsed and restored by using the DR Restore option. For more information, see Restore by Jobs and Browse and Recover Disaster Recovery Backup Data.

The browse option is only available for Disaster Recovery Backups executed in Release 7.0 and beyond.

Disaster Recovery backups are located on a disk drive (SET files), and can be restored using the CommServe Disaster Recovery Tool. If the destination of these Disaster Recovery Backups is on a network drive, the SET file must be copied to a local disk drive to the CommServe before using the CommServe Disaster Recovery Tool. See CommServe Disaster Recovery Tool for more information.

If Disaster Recovery backup data is located on media, you must first restore the data from media using Media Explorer. After Media Explorer restores the data to the local computer, you can use the CommServe Disaster Recovery Tool to restore the data. For information, see Recover CommServe Disaster Recovery Data Using Media Explorer.

Status of Disaster Recovery Backup Jobs

The status in which a Disaster Recovery Backup job can finish is explained in the following flowchart:


Disaster Recovery Backup Administration

This section describes the following:

Change the Disaster Recovery Backup Destination

You can change either the Disaster Recovery Backup Export or Backup destination.

Change the Disaster Recovery Export Destination

The Disaster Recovery Backup Export destination can be changed from the Export pane of the DR Backup Settings (Export Settings) dialog box.

Change the Disaster Recovery Backup Destination

The Disaster Recovery Backup Backup destination can be changed from the Backup pane of the DR Backup Settings (Export Settings) dialog box.

Designate the Disaster Recovery User Account

If backups are going to a remote location, after installing the CommServe software, you need to identify the Windows user account under which Disaster Recovery Backups are to be conducted. In order for Disaster Recovery Backups to work successfully on the network path, the specified Windows account must be a domain administrative account for the domain containing the Disaster Recovery backup destination directory.

You can designate the Disaster Recovery Backup user account from the Change User Account dialog box.

Retain Disaster Recovery Backups

You can determine the number of Disaster Recovery backups to retain on disk and media.

Determine the Number of Disaster Recovery Backups to Retain on Disk

When the metadata is backed up and archived, it remains valid (available for restoration) for a period of time determined by the number of backup sets to retain. The retention rule is determined by the number of successful full backup cycles to be maintained.

The number of Disaster Recovery backup sets is preset to five full backups during installation. This can be changed from the DR Backup Settings dialog box. This retention count refers to the number of backup sets created during the Export phase of the Disaster Recovery Backup. Retention time for copies written to media drives during Backup phase are determined by the characteristics of the Disaster Recovery Backup storage policy.

After each successful Disaster Recovery Backup, the system checks to see if the number of retained successful backup sets has exceeded the number of sets to retain. If expired data exists, it is automatically pruned. However, if the Disaster Recovery backup finished in the Backup phase with the status of Completed With One or More Errors, those backups sets that were not successfully copied to media will not be pruned from the disk.

If a Disaster Recovery Backup job returns with a status of Completed With One or More Errors, the data or partial sets will be kept for 90 days and removed when the next Disaster Recovery Backup is run. The number of days partial Disaster Recovery Backup data will be retained before it is aged can be changed from the default of 90 days using the SetLifeSpanForFailedDR registry key.

Cycle

A cycle begins with the successful completion of a full backup and includes all differential backups up to the next full backup. A cycle is not complete until the full backup that follows it has successfully completed. A cycle is considered successful only if the last differential backup of the set succeeds.

The final differential backup must be successful in order to restore the CommServe database to the point at which the cycle completed, regardless of whether any intermediate differential backups failed. It is the final differential backup that includes all changes to the data since the time of the initial, full backup. However, if the final differential is unsuccessful, the CommServe cannot be restored to the point in time at which the cycle completed; therefore, if the final differential is unsuccessful, that cycle is not counted towards the retention rule.

Determine the Number of Disaster Recovery Backups to Retain on Media

Disaster Recovery Backups are retained on media, depending on the retention rule of the Disaster Recovery Backup storage policy. After the retention rule of the storage policy has expired, the Disaster Recovery Backup data can be pruned using the data aging operation. See Data Aging for more information.

You can set the number of Disaster Recovery Backups to retain on media from the Number of full Metadata Backups to be retained field of the DR Backup Settings dialog box.

Run or Schedule a Disaster Recovery Backup

This section describes how to run or schedule a Disaster Recovery Backup, view backup history, and the related reports. By default, a full Disaster Recovery Backup is run every day at 10:00am.

Disaster Recovery Backups will run only when the SQL server is run as a system account (on a non-clustered computer). On a clustered computer, Disaster Recovery Backups will run only when the SQL server is run on a Windows account.

The number of times these full backups occur depend on the following:

You can run or schedule a Disaster Recovery Backup from the Disaster Recovery Backup Options dialog box. From this dialog box, you can select the following type of backup operation:

View Disaster Recovery Backup History

The history of Disaster Recovery Backups allows you to view the status of an Disaster Recovery Backup job and the time the job started and ended. You can also view the media that job used and the events of the job.

See Admin Job History for more information on Disaster Recovery Backup job history.

Job Restarts and Job Running Time

You can click the Job Retry tab in the Disaster Recovery Backup Options dialog box to access the Job Retries and Job Running Time options, when you perform a Disaster Recovery Backup operation.

You can also specify the maximum number of allowed restart attempts and the interval between restart attempts for all Disaster Recovery Backup jobs. For procedures, see Specify Job Restartability for the CommCell.

For more information on these subjects, see Restarting Jobs and Job Running Time.


Best Practices

Disaster Recovery Backup Storage Policies


CommServe Disaster Recovery Tool

The CommServe Disaster Recovery Tool restores the meta data (stored in the CommServe SQL database) from the Disaster Recovery Backup file. The Disaster Recovery Backup file gets created when a Disaster Recovery backup is performed from the CommCell Console. See CommServe Disaster Recovery Tool for more information.


Related Reports

Administrative Job Summary Report

The Administrative Job Summary Report displays a summary of all or select Administrative jobs.

Disaster Recover Backup Job Summary Report

The Disaster Recover Backup Job Report displays a list of Disaster Recovery backup jobs.


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