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Five Symantec NetBackup error messages and how to resolve them

Although Symantec NetBackup is relatively easy to configure and use, problems can and sometimes do occur. This article discusses five common NetBackup error messages

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and their solutions.

The requested action was partially successful

In my opinion, this is one of the most frustrating NetBackup error messages. This is a non-specific error that basically says, “Something went wrong, but I’m not going to tell you what it was.”

Unfortunately, there is no magical fix for this error. The only way to correct this particular condition is to figure out what the error means. The best way to do that is to look through the backup logs for any hint as to what might be causing the problem.

If the error occurs during a backup then pay attention to what is being backed up. This problem can occur if NetBackup tries to open a locked file or if the file path is more than 1,000 characters long (in some cases, 1,023-character file paths are allowed, but try to keep the path under 1,000 characters if you can).

None of the requested files were backed up

This particular problem is almost always related to a security issue. Specifically, NetBackup generates this error when it does not have read access to the data that it is trying to back up.

On Windows machines, the NetBackup Client service makes use of a service account. This service account is the account that must have read access to the data that is being backed up. One especially common problem is that the NetBackup Client service is sometimes configured to use the SYSTEM account. While this account should work fine for backing up local data, it does not have access to network drives.

The restore failed to recover the requested files

Nothing raises an administrator’s stress level like an error message indicating that a backup cannot be restored. Fortunately, this message does not always indicate that a fatal condition has occurred.

This particular problem often relates to either a security issue or to a configuration issue. You should begin the troubleshooting process by checking the logs for any further explanation of why the restore failed. It is also a good idea to check the resource that you are backing up to make sure that the NetBackup client has permission to write data to the location where the data is being restored.

While you are at it, check the client’s server list. It should contain an entry for the master server and for any media server that might potentially be used during the recovery operation.

Allocation failed

This NetBackup error means that the system lacks sufficient memory for the operation to complete. There are a couple of different things that you can do in this situation.

If the problem occurs on a virtual machine then try shutting down the virtual machine and allocating additional memory to it. Keep in mind, however, that if the virtual machine is running a 32-bit operating system it will never be able to use more than 4 GB of RAM.

Another thing that you could try (regardless of whether the system is physical or virtual) is a simple reboot. Rebooting the system will often reclaim memory from unused processes.

If all else fails then use the Windows Task Manager to determine if there are any unnecessary processes running on the system. You may be able to free up some memory by terminating such processes.

An open of a file failed

This NetBackup error message is a bit misleading. The message sounds like a read error, but in actuality, it occurs when a disk storage unit attempts to write data to the root device of the NetBackup server (this can also happen with media servers).

If the path for the disk storage unit absolutely must reside at the root level then you can force the operation by opening the Administration Console, going to the Change Storage Unit dialog box, and selecting the “This directory can exist on the root file system or system disk” check box.

Conclusion

Netbackup errors can often be traced to permissions issues, resource allocation issues or to other simple configuration or logistical issues.

About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, has previously received Microsoft's MVP award for Exchange Server, Windows Server and Internet Information Server (IIS). Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and has been responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. You can visit Brien's personal website at www.brienposey.com.

This was first published in February 2012

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