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Analyzing drive usage in backup environments

There really isn't an "easy way" to report on drive usage in a useful way. There is a "simple" way that typically yields only part of the information you are looking for, and there is a much more complex way that will likely produce the expected results but with some effort.

I am looking for any easy way to analyze drive usage in my backup environment. We are running Windows 2000 as our master server and three Windows and one Unix box as our media servers. Attached to these are 21 ACS drives that use a silo to load 9840 and 9940 tapes.

We would like to eliminate a few drives, if possible, but first need to know how many drives are being utilized, for which backups, and for how long. I'm still learning with NetBackup and would appreciate any feedback.

The initial answer is that there really isn't an "easy way" to report on drive usage in a useful way. There is a "simple" way that typically yields only part of the information you are looking for, and there is a much more complex way that will likely produce the expected results but with some effort.

The simple way:

There are backup monitoring products available such as Bocada, Servergraph, WysDM for backups (to name only a few) that can provide some pretty intuitive and easy to read information. That said, establishing the correlation between which tape device is used for a specific backup is not necessarily possible or easily done depending on the product. On the other hand, these products are pretty much ready to use and provide much more functionality beyond tape device monitoring, which could prove to be of value to your organization.

The custom way:

You can use a combination of ACSLS and robtest commands. This method will likely produce the results you are looking for and does not require the purchase of software. However, it requires technical skills, time and knowledge of one or more scripting languages.

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