What you will learn in this tip: How backup reporting tools will save systems administrators and users a lot of time and energy.
Collecting data from multiple servers can often be tricky. To get backup information without a backup reporting tool, you need to write a lot of shell/batch scripts or log in to as many servers as possible every day and manually check them.
Complicating the problems of getting useful backup reporting data is that many environments have more than one backup product, significantly increasing reporting complexity. You may be in the painful process of converting from one backup system to another. Or maybe you have two backup products because one handles most tasks, and another is assigned to one particular platform or application. For example, you might use Computer Associates' ARCserve or Syncsort's Backup Express for your Windows servers, but another product for your Unix servers.
One common problem with many backup products is that they require administrator or root access to use them. While this issue is being solved with some products, very few offer an easy way for nontechnical people to understand how backups are working. Another issue is that administrators may have privileges on their own system, but not on the backup system. They'd like to find out how backups worked for their own systems, but they can't, so they have to rely on the backup system administrator to tell them something is wrong.
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About the author: W. Curtis Preston is the president of The Storage Group. He is the author of Unix Backup and Recovery and Using SANs and NAS.