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Using NetBackup to create capacity reports

Business continuance expert Pierre Dorion offers advice on how to create capacity reports with Veritas NetBackup.

I am the backup administrator for a data center. We are running Veritas NetBackup v5.1 with Advanced Reporter. I want to write a capacity report. Do you have a good template or any suggestions on the contents?
NB Advanced Reporter allows you to get very granular with reporting. Some reports give you a graphical representation of the data while others are text based. You can also take some of the text-based reporting data and create your own graphs if you or you team have spare cycles. However, sometimes too much is similar to not enough. Monitoring too many aspects of your backups can render your reports difficult to read. Some information may be very useful to backup administrators but mean very little to others.

From a capacity reporting perspective, here are some items that should be monitored and that can help when building a business case for a capacity upgrade, for example.

Backup data volumes (Full and incremental): Monitoring volumes of full backup data will help you to determine the total amount of data you are looking after. Monitoring incremental backup volumes tells you the change rate of the data. This information can be useful if you ever consider a remote replication solution.

Reporting on the number of files can also be useful for data replication considerations.

Tape utilization: Looking for poor tape utilization can help reduce the overall number of tapes and promote efficient use of tape library storage.

Number of tapes: Knowing the number of tapes currently assigned provides an overall backup data storage picture.

Job duration and completion time: Reporting backup job start time and duration is used to fine-tune scheduling. Scheduling problems often appear to be capacity issues.

Throughput: This can help identify network bottlenecks and be used in conjunction with job scheduling.

Restore requests: Restore trends are very handy when establishing backup data retention policies (for nonregulated data). For example, if most restore requests for user data are limited to files that are 1 or 2 days old, it may be worth revisiting a 30-day retention policy.

Trending: History on the above reporting items should be kept to help determine growth or change patterns with backups. Capacity reporting must consider growth to allow for effective forecasting.

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