Data conversion to Symantec NetBackup...

A data recovery customer approached us with thousands of LTO tapes that had been backed up using EMC2 on a virtual tape library that was emulating hard disk drives. Having been bought out by a larger competitor, our client needed to merge their existing EMC2 archive backups into Symantec NetBackup – the preferred choice of their new partners.

This conversion from EMC to Symantec NetBackup is relatively straightforward for us, albeit in this instance there was quite a lot of data. Although we support both backup formats and on a smaller scale would manually handle this conversion, in this case it was necessary to write an automated handler to speed up the process. Otherwise we would still be here years later trying to loading tapes!

Our initial guess was that of the 600 - 800 terabytes of data, only a fraction of this would be live data and much of it would be duplicated or legacy information. Regardless, the first process was to catalogue every tape so we could offer the client a file listing of all the data.

Given an even mixture of LTO2 and LTO3 media, this equated to over 1000 tapes to catalogue. To save time cataloguing, we used a different media destination for input and output formats, with a bespoke handler to automate much of the process in between. We catalogued every tape and provided a file listing of all the data so the client could choose which files and folders were actually required.

The price to restore the data in Symantec NetBackup was dependent on the amount of data required. Generally we provide two prices for data conversion – the first for cataloguing and the second for the actual data recovery. As a guide we normally charge per terabyte with tape data recovery work.

With regards the output media, we copied this to NAS. With the option of a loan unit(s), the client chose to supply their own output media. Once copied out and verified through NetBackup, the data was then physically tested as part of the QA process, before what we term ‘user acceptance testing’. This is where we integrate a random sample of the data into the users new system to ensure a seamless transition.