Veeam and Tape I: Moving a tape library with data from one VBR server to another


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I had some special situation in the last weeks.
A customer had two VBR server with one IBM TS4500 tape library connected to each sever. Now he wanted to consolidate to one VBR server, but he had to keep both libraries with all the data on the tapes.

The Veeam helpcenter and the forum describe several tape library moving scenarios, but none with moving a library with data to another VBR server which has already data on it, too.

 

I will call this server which is deinstalled in the process and whose repositories and library will be moved “source server” and the server which gets the repositories and library from the other server “target server” in the following text

 

The target VBR server has data, a configuration backup restore of the source server is not suitable. With this all data on the target server is lost.

VBR is at V11 P20210507 at both servers, so this is ok. It is ok to lose the History from one server, this is a huge advantage, too.

After some planning we did the following procedure:

  1. Configuration backup on both servers and copied them to a very save location. In the case something unexpected happens we would be able to go back to start.
     
  2. Deinstall the VBR server and all Veeam services on the source physical server but keep all disk repository directories intact. Make sure all other is gone, reboot the server. Now you have a (nearly) pristine Windows server, with some disk repositories with data on one partition (I will not mention the disk repositories further, the move of a disk repository is without problems and clearly described in the helpcenter).
     
  3. On the target VBR server make the other server to a managed server.
    Follow the wizard afterwards and give the values for your source server to it.
     
  4. Define a new tape server in the VBR console.
    Select the managed server that you have created (source server) in step 3
    Leave the next pages as they are, the standard values are ok. More than 5 parallel tape sessions are not suitable with a normal 10Gb Network. I would say, depending on your used LTO generation rather select less than that.
    For the network settings, I did not have to change anything. But I have an own VLAN for backup traffic and the tape traffic is sent above this VLAN, too. So, the settings that were already done were ok. Check this for your environment if it is suitable.
     
  5. Now the second tape library is discovered by the target VBR server and all tapes in this library are shown in the pool “Unrecognized”. No media set information, no expiration time and no files on the tapes are shown.
  6. Do a library inventory of the new discovered library.
    Now the media set information is shown.
    But no tape content is shown for the tapes.

     

  7. Do a tape catalog for the library.
    This will take a lot of time, because the content of each (or nearly each tape) is read. So, it is advisable to break the catalog process in several smaller parts. Take a media set at a time.  
    After the cataloging of a tape is finished, it is moved to the media pool “Imported”.
    The content of the cataloged tape is shown.
    Now all backups on the tapes are available on the target VBR server.

     

    After the catalog process is finished all expiration dates are there, too.

     

The disadvantage is that all tapes are in the media pool “Imported” and not in the original media pools. This is no (big) problem for the tapes with a short retention time, these will expire in a reasonable amount of time and will be gone. But we have some yearly backups with a retention time of many years for regulatory reasons. These tapes will be in the pool “Imported” for a long, long time…

How to avoid this situation and get the tapes into the original media pools will be described in part two of this article series.

 


10 comments

Userlevel 7
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Great article for this dealing with tape. 👍

Userlevel 7
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This is a great post @JMeixner, I’m not using tape libraries that often, so this comes in very handy when needed! Working with tape libraries differs a lot from working with disks :relaxed:, always needed to change the mindset. Thx for sharing this :wink: .

Userlevel 7
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Thank you Nico.

Yes, tape seems not to be used by the majority of the Veeam users. So, some descriptions in the helpcenter are incomplete.

I have at least two additional parts for my mini series 😎

Userlevel 7
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I have added part II of this series… :sunglasses:

Userlevel 7
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This is a very detailed guide and at the same time, very easy to comprehend! 

Userlevel 7
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Thank you Chris.

It is great to share. And get that huge amount of very good information about other topics in return. 😎

Userlevel 2

great post; thanks!

Userlevel 7
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Great topic @JMeixner , jumping to the second part :)

Userlevel 7
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Thank you Chris.

It is great to share. And get that huge amount of very good information about other topics in return. 😎

Totally right @JMeixner , together we have a lot of knowledge, experience and everyone ready to share this! A great community!!!

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

That’s great @JMeixner 

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