Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Everything about backing up to tape

Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby StephanF » Thu Jul 16, 2015 1:56 pm 1 person likes this post

Hi,

we came from another backup solution to Veeam some months ago. While using the new product I collected some feature requests that could make tape experience even better for us:

1. We are using a Dell TL2000 tape library. With our previous backup solution we could open the magazines and change tapes while a backup job is running. In Veeam this leads to a crash of the whole service. It would be nice if this behaviour could be changed.

2. GFS rotation for tapes is not very simple to setup at the moment. If I read correctly this should already be in develompment.

3. Virtual Full to Tape is only working with Forever Incremental jobs as a source. Why?
There are limitations where a periodic active full needs to be done. Give backup to tape jobs an option "always full to tape" and let the software decide if a virtual full has to be done or the last active full has to be copied depending on the last run of the source job - not only for incremental forevers

4. Highlight expired tapes in tape view
At the moment you have to compare expiration dates to see which tapes are expired and can be reused. Please highlight them in the tape media view. Maybe write them in blue text color like a competitor solution does. This is small but helps a lot.

5. At the moment tapes are bound to a media pool forever (ok I can change that manually). Why not make this more flexible when there are only reusable tapes from a different media pool online?
Give us an option to reuse expired media from a different media pool. This could be implemented as:
  • Property of Media Pool: "Move expired media back from this Media Pool to Free Media Pool"
  • Property of Media Pool: "Add expired media from other Media Pools when more tapes are required"
  • global option
Additionally there could be a setting: "use expired media from other pool first" or "use free media first"

6. Protected online tapes have an on icon with a lock, offline ones do not. Give protected offline tapes an own different icon.

7. In other backup solutions I know changing the expiration of a tape is possible by moving them to a different media pool (or whatever they call it). In Veeam this is not working.
But sometimes it is necessary to do this. So please implement one of these:
  • Ability to change the expiration date of a tape afterwards
  • set a locking period (or date)
I know locking tapes manually is possible but you have to disable it manually, too.

8. Full Support for LTO WORM-tapes - should be clear

I know there are workarounds for some of my suggestions but maybe one or the other idea is worth thinking about to make this product even more fantastic.

Greetings
Stephan
StephanF
Enthusiast
 
Posts: 30
Liked: 6 times
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:15 pm

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Thu Jul 16, 2015 2:59 pm

Hello Stephan,
Thanks for sharing such detailed feedback on the existing functionality - it’s highly appreciated!
We are using a Dell TL2000 tape library. With our previous backup solution we could open the magazines and change tapes while a backup job is running. In Veeam this leads to a crash of the whole service. It would be nice if this behaviour could be changed.

We have discussed this request several times with the team before and have come to the conclusion that interfering into backup process is a bad idea. Can you please elaborate why you what this functionality to be provided?
GFS rotation for tapes is not very simple to setup at the moment. If I read correctly this should already be in develompment.

Noted!
Virtual Full to Tape is only working with Forever Incremental jobs as a source. Why?

The synthesized full backup was designed to ensure the integrity of the forever incremental backup chain, thus it is used to split the long incremental chains with periodic synthetic full. Why would you need full backups to tape in addition to the created ones by active full or synthetic full on disk schedule?
Highlight expired tapes in tape view

I believe once the media is expired the label in the grid should be changed automatically to expired instead of the date.
t the moment tapes are bound to a media pool forever (ok I can change that manually). Why not make this more flexible when there are only reusable tapes from a different media pool online?

While I think its a good idea I am a bit worried how much confusion mixing tapes from multiple media pools may bring. Anyway noted for a discussion!
Protected online tapes have an on icon with a lock, offline ones do not. Give protected offline tapes an own different icon.

Valid point. We will review it after the next release – thanks!
In other backup solutions I know changing the expiration of a tape is possible by moving them to a different media pool (or whatever they call it). In Veeam this is not working.

Indeed its possible to manually protect the media if you need or modify the retention inside the media pool and apply it to the existing tapes only or to all media
Full Support for LTO WORM-tapes - should be clear

Is there a real use case? I see this request from time to time but I am starting to believe people prefer regular LTO instead of WORM’s
Dima P.
Veeam Software
 
Posts: 6261
Liked: 441 times
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:07 pm
Location: SPb
Full Name: Dmitry Popov

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby StephanF » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:12 am 1 person likes this post

Hello Dima,

thanks for your quick reply. I appreciate that the user feedback is heard here. That's really not true for most competitiors.
Let me give some more information on some points:

Dima P. wrote:
We are using a Dell TL2000 tape library. With our previous backup solution we could open the magazines and change tapes while a backup job is running. In Veeam this leads to a crash of the whole service. It would be nice if this behaviour could be changed.

We have discussed this request several times with the team before and have come to the conclusion that interfering into backup process is a bad idea. Can you please elaborate why you what this functionality to be provided?

I don't want to interfere into the running backup process but the use case of a tape library is that you have one or more tape drives inside that are usually running and magazines with tapes that are loaded to or unloaded from the drives. In our case we move used tapes from tape library into a vault and expired tapes back. Using the mailbox slot chnaging many tapes takes ages, so it is best to pull out the magazine change tapes and put the magazine back in. If the library is under heavy load the tape drives are running most of the time so it is highly required that you can do this while Veeam runs a tape job.
For the library itself this is no problem because the tapes inside the drives keep untouched and the new inventory runs in parallel. We did this for years with our previos backup solution.

Aditionally at the moment you can hang the Veeam service by pulling and reinserting a magazine which is a no go.

Dima P. wrote:
Virtual Full to Tape is only working with Forever Incremental jobs as a source. Why?

The synthesized full backup was designed to ensure the integrity of the forever incremental backup chain, thus it is used to split the long incremental chains with periodic synthetic full. Why would you need full backups to tape in addition to the created ones by active full or synthetic full on disk schedule?

My use case was the following (if I understand correctly from the manual, not tested yet):
I backup a server to disk in forever forward incremental mode every day. This leads to one full backup and long incremental chain on disk. Now I can schedule a tape job with Virtual Synthesized Full Backup every second day. So I get a full backup on tape every second day without wasting disk space. This is very reasonable because long incremental chains on tape do not make sense.

Now I take the backup job and schedule an active full for running once every two months (because I don't trust forever forward incremental mode or whatever reason). This also leads to a long incremental chain on disk with rare full backups in between.
According to the manual now Virtual Synthesized Full Backup to tape is not usable anymore. Why?
My requirements did not change I want a full backup on tape every second day.

I know I can tinker something with sythetic backups or backup copy jobs but why not use the existing technologie even is there is a rare active full?

Dima P. wrote:
Highlight expired tapes in tape view

I believe once the media is expired the label in the grid should be changed automatically to expired instead of the date.

No it does not. It always shows the date no matter if it is in the past or in the future. This makes it difficult to identify the expired tapes on first sight. I don't think it is bad to always show the date because so you can see when the tape expired. Therefore a different text color (or maybe icon) would be a good idea.

Dima P. wrote:
At the moment tapes are bound to a media pool forever (ok I can change that manually). Why not make this more flexible when there are only reusable tapes from a different media pool online?

While I think its a good idea I am a bit worried how much confusion mixing tapes from multiple media pools may bring. Anyway noted for a discussion!

I understand this can be a valid source of confusion. On the otherside the situation where a tape job does not run just because there are no writeable tapes from the correct media set but enough tapes from a different media set is not the best option.
Maybe you guys have a good idea how to make this more flexible in the future.

Dima P. wrote:
In other backup solutions I know changing the expiration of a tape is possible by moving them to a different media pool (or whatever they call it). In Veeam this is not working.

Indeed its possible to manually protect the media if you need or modify the retention inside the media pool and apply it to the existing tapes only or to all media

Ok. Nice feature I didn't know yet. But I think I am speaking about a different use case. Let me be more specific with a simple example:
Let's say I have 2 Media Pools:
"Short" - 4 Weeks retention time
"Long" - 6 Months retention time
I did a backup to tape job and the tape is in "Short" Media Pool. Now someone says I have to protect these data for the "Long" period (for whatever reason).
Moving the tape to the "Long" Media Pool is no solution because the tape will be marked as free.
Changing the retention period for the "Short" Media Pool is no solution because I just want to protect this single tape longer and not all the other in this media pool.
The only solution would be to manually protect this tape and remeber in 6 months to manually disable the protection.

In my opinion more automatic solution would make sense, e.g. manually changing the expiration time for this single tape.
Maybe this is a very specific use case on my side...

Dima P. wrote:
Full Support for LTO WORM-tapes - should be clear

Is there a real use case? I see this request from time to time but I am starting to believe people prefer regular LTO instead of WORM’s

Short answer: Because they are available.

Long Answer:
Though normal tapes can be used there are mainly 2 reasons to use WORM media:
1. They add an additional layer of security for not overwriting important data (archiving). Veeam can protect the data with it's retention settings but these settings can be changed or the tape can be erased by accident. The protection of WORM media is implement in the tape drive itself so there is no way to bypass this. (At least not without criminal intention.)
2. There are some legal requirements to store data on non erasable media. Protection by software ist not sufficient.

As I read here in the forum writing to WORM media once already works but not appending data. So this implementation should be finished.
StephanF
Enthusiast
 
Posts: 30
Liked: 6 times
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:15 pm

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:26 pm

StephanF,
You are welcome sir! Unlike many competitors we truly appreciate and highly value anyone sharing the feedback here at the forums :wink:
Aditionally at the moment you can hang the Veeam service by pulling and reinserting a magazine which is a no go.

Thanks for clarification! While, I can imagine lots of issues, I’ll ask our tape team to research if it’s possible with existing logic.
Now I can schedule a tape job with Virtual Synthesized Full Backup every second day. So I get a full backup on tape every second day without wasting disk space. This is very reasonable because long incremental chains on tape do not make sense.

In order to make this happen you need to enable the ‘everyday synthesized full backup creation’ and schedule a tape job to run every day.
I know I can tinker something with sythetic backups or backup copy jobs but why not use the existing technologie even is there is a rare active full?

Point taken.
Therefore a different text color (or maybe icon) would be a good idea.

Perfect idea, maybe simple and annoying red text ‘expired’? I’ll try to push it to the next release, though I can't promises I am allowed to. By the way, we have a Tape Media Retention Period report in the Veeam One – worth checking.
Maybe you guys have a good idea how to make this more flexible in the future.

We definitely will have something in the upcoming major release.
In my opinion more automatic solution would make sense, e.g. manually changing the expiration time for this single tape.
Maybe this is a very specific use case on my side...

Its not specific – I’ve seen this request several times, so its in the list. We will have some improvements in the tape management field too
1. They add an additional layer of security for not overwriting important data (archiving). Veeam can protect the data with it's retention settings but these settings can be changed or the tape can be erased by accident. The protection of WORM media is implement in the tape drive itself so there is no way to bypass this. (At least not without criminal intention.)
2. There are some legal requirements to store data on non erasable media. Protection by software ist not sufficient.

Valid points – thanks for pushing. More feedback we get regarding WORMs – more priority this feature gets.
Dima P.
Veeam Software
 
Posts: 6261
Liked: 441 times
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:07 pm
Location: SPb
Full Name: Dmitry Popov

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby martynuk » Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:34 pm

If you create a Vault in Veeam 8 and have your offline tapes moved there (setting in media pool retention properties), the "Expired" column for the Vault does indicate if a tape is expired. This only works for tapes which are marked as offline though, so I would also like to see this information in the media pool views.
martynuk
Enthusiast
 
Posts: 48
Liked: 9 times
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:34 pm
Full Name: Martin Etheridge

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby v.Eremin » Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:45 pm

Hi, Martin,

Can you tell me why currently available "Expires in" column doesn't work for you?

Image

Thanks.
v.Eremin
Veeam Software
 
Posts: 13291
Liked: 973 times
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:28 pm
Full Name: Vladimir Eremin

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby Shestakov » Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:50 pm

Hello Martin,
There is also a Tape Media Retention Period report in Veeam One showing online expired tapes.
Have you tried it? Thanks!
Shestakov
Veeam Software
 
Posts: 4863
Liked: 396 times
Joined: Wed May 21, 2014 11:03 am
Location: Saint Petersburg
Full Name: Nikita Shestakov

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby ccatlett1984 » Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:45 pm

I have some additional info to add regarding pulling/inserting tape magazines while a backup is running.

I am able to pull the magazine, once I do that veeam settings the autoloader to offline status (since I have the magazine unloaded.)
Any tape job currently waiting in the queue for the drive fails, due to no online drives. A backup that is currently using the tape drive is unaffected by this, and runs normally.

As to why, I like swapping tapes when I am in the office. (Not whenever no tape jobs are running.)
ccatlett1984
Enthusiast
 
Posts: 83
Liked: 9 times
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:11 pm
Full Name: Chris Catlett

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:29 pm

ccatlett1984,
am able to pull the magazine, once I do that veeam settings the autoloader to offline status (since I have the magazine unloaded.)

Good request, thanks. Was thinking about such functionality and came to the conclusion that lots of additional logic needs to be implemented in order to ensure the waiting jobs are not affected by tape media being suddenly swapped. Will discuss it with the team as a possible improvement for next major release, thanks again.
Dima P.
Veeam Software
 
Posts: 6261
Liked: 441 times
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:07 pm
Location: SPb
Full Name: Dmitry Popov

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby martynuk » Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:52 pm 1 person likes this post

Vladimir,

As the OP already mentioned, in the Media Pool view you only see the tape expiry date, even if it is already expired, making it harder to identify expired tapes.

In the Vault view, expired tapes are shown with the status "Expired", making them really easy to spot. It would be helpful to have a similar status shown in the Media Pool view. This would be a "nice to have" rather than "essential" enhancement.

Whilst we are on the subject of tapes, some of the Enterprise enhancements around tape support in v9 look very nice. :-)

Martin
martynuk
Enthusiast
 
Posts: 48
Liked: 9 times
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:34 pm
Full Name: Martin Etheridge

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby Shestakov » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:09 pm

Martin, do you have Veeam One installed? There is a special report with the information you are asking for.
Btw, glad you liked the new tape features!
Thanks!
Shestakov
Veeam Software
 
Posts: 4863
Liked: 396 times
Joined: Wed May 21, 2014 11:03 am
Location: Saint Petersburg
Full Name: Nikita Shestakov

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby martynuk » Fri Aug 07, 2015 10:34 am 1 person likes this post

Nikita,

We already have other virtual environment monitoring tools, so it is impossible to justify the cost of Veeam One just to do backup reporting (we are in the UK education sector, so finances are always tight).

We are using the Enterprise Plus version of B&R, so it has always seemed strange (unreasonable?) that we would need to spend even more money just to do basic B&R reporting. I realise that you need to sell Veeam One, but this does seem a step too far. Don't get me wrong, B&R is otherwise an excellent product, and I am happy that it the right choice for us.

I suppose I could use Powershell, but would need to find time to learn it.

Anyway, rant over. The point is we don't have Veeam One, and as things stand have no plans to purchase it.

Martin
martynuk
Enthusiast
 
Posts: 48
Liked: 9 times
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:34 pm
Full Name: Martin Etheridge

Re: Collected Feature Requests for better tape experience

Veeam Logoby Shestakov » Fri Aug 07, 2015 10:58 am

Fair enough, Martin.

The thing is we separate data protection and monitoring/reporting between B&R and Veeam One. I completely understand your situation and glad you like the product.
I`m not saying we will not add the information about expired tapes to VBR, I`ve just mentioned the easiest way to achieve the info so far.

By the way, you can try to use Veeam One Free edition which can be really helpful.
Thanks!
Shestakov
Veeam Software
 
Posts: 4863
Liked: 396 times
Joined: Wed May 21, 2014 11:03 am
Location: Saint Petersburg
Full Name: Nikita Shestakov


Return to Tape



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests