SUMMARY: Backup Systems

From: John Fiori (
Date: Fri Aug 09 1996 - 11:18:26 CDT

I recieved many responses and I want again to thank the sun-managers community
for taking the time ( and the speed of these responses ) for the info on which
backup products and hardware they use. I was asked to post a SUMMARY of
responces so here they are.

 Again Thanks to :

Stewart Castaldi <>
John Stoffel <>
Brad Young <>
Darren King <>
David R. Steen <>
Ira Childress <>
Kristopher Briscoe <>
Jay Holt <>
Alex Finkel <>
Colin Melville <>
Bill Townsley <>
Ian Camm <>
Martin Espinoza <>
David Lee <>
Allen Patenaude <>
David Rossman <>
Gene Rackow <>
Tox Gunn <>
Don Catey <>
Ronnie Altit <>
Les Greene <>
Mike Cross <>
Robert Gillespie <>

Stewart Castaldi

Consider what types of machines you want to support and what your
backup/recovery requirements are. That is what will determine what
is right for you. We have been using Solstice backup in a Novell/Sun
environment. We have had continuing problems which Sun is unable to
solve. Solstice backup's interleaving makes the backups really fast.
But the minute that you interleave 2 data streams your recovery time
doubles. That means, with even a small site like yours, recovery time
will become days if you lose your entire machine. Even a 4G disk
recovery will take a significant amount of time. Also the format
is proprietary. If you also use the system for long term archive
consider how you will recover the data 10 years from now. Because of
the above considerations we are moving to Openvision's AXXION Netbackup
product. We have not yet started using it so I can not say how well
it will do but in our extensive review of backup products it seemed to
be the best we could find with our requirements and price range.
(Note: Solstice backup is Sun's version of Legato's Networker. If
       you want real support and like this product, buy Networker
       direct from Legato.)

John Stoffel

We're currently using Legato 4.0.2b (the latest version of which Sun
re-sells as Solstice Backup 4.2.2) and an Exabyte 120 jukebox (4 8mm
tape drives, 110 tapes). Personally, I would stay away from Exabyte
drives and jukeboxes since I have not found the reliability to be all
that great. Admittedly we're using older versions of the software and
an older jukebox.
I would push you towards getting a DLT jukebox with the Sun Solstice
Backup software. You'll get much better media reliability and a
smaller jukebox can handle more data.
You don't say if the 50Gb (which will grow!) is on one server or
spread around many machines, so your backup speed can be heavily
influenced by your network and the server that is running the tape

Brad Young

  We use a product called backup.unet from MTI. It has a nice gui, is pretty
configurable, keeps its own database, manages a stacker, works across a
network, etc. Tapes created from backup.unet can be read by cpio, as
backup.unet uses a hacked version of cpio.
  You also might have a look at amanda, the free backup package from the
University of Maryland. I've heard good things about it (not the least of
which is the cost!)..

Darren King

Solstice Backup is a re-boxed version of Legato's NetWorker. I work at
Legato so I'm biased but it is a great tool. It supports most major
auto-changers such as exabyte, hp etc... Great storage Management and
scheduling. I back up at least 15 systems a nite no problem to a exabyte 8mm
jukebox. For higher capacity, you may want to use DLT drives.

David R. Steen

If you are backing up were data on a single server to a single local device and
don't need to configure multiple backup windows then the Solstice Backup 4.2 is
OK. But if you need to backup this 50G from many different hosts across a LAN
then you need the Legato Networker for unix package. This is the same software
as Solstice Backup 4.2 just a better license. You'll need then base pack, Turbo
pack, and if you're working with a jukebox, you'll need the appropriate juke box
license ( based on # of slots). I have been using the Legato Networker package
for about 2-1/2 hears now doing 250 workstations and servers a night. I have two
servers each connected to the Exabyte EXB-480 jukeboxs. Works great.

Ira Childress

We are using MADD Max drives for out backup for the very reason that you
stated (50 GB requirements). The MADD Max holds 4 8 mm tapes and when using
the 160 meter tapes you can backup approximately 56 GBs (assumes a 2:1
compression ratio). I like them because to UNIX or our database engine
they look like one tape drive instead of four.
We are using the UNIX utility, ufsdump for UNIX backups and our database
does it's own backup (we're using Sybase). ufsdump works just fine and
we haven't had any problems.

Kristopher Briscoe

I have used Solstice Backup 4.2(Networker) with a 14 GB tapeloader. I find that
if you use /dev/rmt/0(h or c) you will get very acceptable throughput. The
stability of 4.2 on 2.4 or 2.5 is far above what sun has released or supported
in the past.
Thats my story and I am stickin to it. (Inexpensive solution vs. thrid party
solution, plus you can get great support from sun on it).

Jay Holt

Please visit
Budtool can back up heterogenous networks.
Budtool requires NO client side software.( ease of adminastration)
Budtool writes to tape using standard ascii format.
        (Solstice uses proprietary means of getting data to tape --
         this can cause major problems during a disaster recovery)
Budtool is capable of backing up live file systems (BudTool Live)
Budtool is capable of taking advantage of high speed backup devices
        (Bud Turbo)

Alex Finkel

I use Legato Networker 4.2, which is the same as Solstice Backup 4.2 -
Sun licenced the product from Legato.
I have had lots of success with the product, although I am only backing
up a fraction of what you need, about 3-4 GB. Legato/Solstice uses a
feature called parallelism to backup multiple filesystems
simultaenously. It uses a special tape format which allows this and
allows quick access to files when you need to recover. It can also back
up to multiple tape drives simultaneously.
You will need to dedicate some disk space to storing the online indexes
that are used to quickly locate files - I'd get either Sun or Legato to
make a recommendation for you for the amount of data. If a lot of your
50 GB are in a few large files, the indexes would be smaller than if that
50 GB is in many small files.
I also found the product to be a bit pricy. For example, you get no
support after 30 days unless you pay for a support contract. 1 year from
Legato costs around 15%-18% of the cost of the Software. Their support
is good, however. You pay extra for different features, such as
autochanger support and number of clients. You might get better support
pricing from Sun if you buy the Solstice version from them.
The best part for me is how quickly the software can locate files on tape
when they need to be recovered. I could never go back to using TAR for
backups again. Backups are also quick.
I have heard good things about SM-Arch, from Software Moguls. SM-Arch
seems to be Legato/Soltice's biggest competitor. Last months SunExpert
Magazine (July 1996, pg. 43) had a feature article on just this topic and
included a vendor list at the end.

Colin Melville

I used Backup at my last site (small, Sun-only) with fairly good results. One
problem is that
 the online index gets very large, very fast. It is usable over a wide range of
platforms, I'
m sure SunSoft can suppy details.
At this site, we use IBM's ADSM backup system. This is a huge Unix installation,
with every k
nown flavor of Unix in use. ADSM is suited more to an enterprise-wide backup
system, although
 IBM may offer a scaled-down solution.

Bill Townsley

We are currently using a Sun SPARCStorage Library (10 tape stacker)
and Legato's Networker 4.2 software. Our backups (~40GB) have
been running without a hitch. Networker (good GUI) is a client
server product. Clients run on each host to be backed up, server
runs on the host connected to the tape stacker.
clients are easily configured
flexible scheduling
recovery is simple
notifications of backup status can be e-mailed, broadcast, etc
GUI controls tape stacker
quality technical support via e-mail within 24 hours
tape stacker, when misused, frequently hangs SCSI bus requiring powerdown
each client license can only back up 1 set of filesystems
  (if you want to back up hostA:/data1 on monday and hostA:/data2 on
  tuesday, you'll have to use 2 client licenses)
we could use an additional tape stacker (we go through approx 5 tapes/week
like most tape drives, formatting, labelling, reading is ssllooww.
All in all, when you do everything right, the system is reliable and
easy to use. However, the period of adjustment was clunky and required
complete power-downs to reset SCSI bus and allow Networker to re-acquire
control of the tape stacker.

Ian Camm

We use Budtool which we find to be pretty good. It is not the fastest backup
software or, I suspect, the easiest to configure but it isn't bad.
The main points for us are that it supports most backup hardware, uses standard
UNIX commands (for ease of restore if your backup server die) and you license
the server NOT the clients - which reduces the cost of ownership as your network
grows. Another point is that it scales well due to small (in comparison to
the likes of Networker/Solstice Backup), but still complete, log files.
The downside is that the standard software will not guarantee live backups so
you need to purchase the budlive bolt-on, which does use per-machine licensing,
if you want this facility. The cost is still relatively low compared to other
software though.
This software is from PDC in King of Prussia (PA) Tel:- (610) 265-3300
though we bought it from a UK distributor.

Martin Espinoza

There is a freeware tool called Amanda... The FAQ
is at:

David Lee

We have used Legato NetWorker for several years and recently switched
to Solstice NetWorker. I think our current data is about the same as,
probably somewhat larger than, your 50GB. It is spread across about
25 machines, some of which are not under our direct control.
Inevitably, there are problems. But there are two issues worth distinguishing
from each other:
1. How good is the product: i.e. absolute?
2. How good is the product compared to others: i.e. relative?
We could probably give you a huge list of woes in answer to the "absolute"
and we have permanently got one or more calls open to Sun about one
problem or another. It is sometimes very frustrating for Ken here who
administers the back-up: it is pretty close to a full-time task.
But despite our "absolute" problems, it would be rash to jump to conclusions
about its "relative" merits. I suspect that, in our multi-machine environment,
NetWorker (Legato or Solstice) probably scores reasonably favourably with
other similar products.
A significant part of our perceived problem load is undoubtedly because
it is spread across many machines. If our set-up was one single, centralised
machine containing all the disks and all the tapedrives (i.e. a single
mainframe), then I think a very large part, quite probably the majority,
of our problems would vanish.
A few points we have discovered with NetWorker, but which probably
apply more or less similarly to other backup packages:
1. The machine running the backup (has the tapedrives and stores the index)
   needs a decent amount of CPU and memory.
2. The index requires significant disk space. The quantity depends on how
   you schedule full-type and incremental-type backups, and on how long you
   expect to keep "old" data available in the index, and on average file
   size particularly number of files. But, say, approximately 10%.
3. The CPU power/memory of the "client" machines (the ones whose disk data
   is being backed up) is perhaps less important than that of the server.
4. A full backup of 50GB could take more than 24 hours elapsed, although
   this depends on many factors (disk speed, CPU/memory, network speed,
   tape transfer rates ...)
5. Administering the backup scheme can be a significant component of
   a person's job.
6. The admin. load increases, at least linearly, with the number of
   disk-hosting client machines.
7. From the backup-administrator's perspective, NetWorker has problems,
   but then so do other packages, I guess.
8. From the perspective of the user wishing to locate files, or of the
   sys. admin. person trying to recover a partition, NetWorker is nice.

As I said, be careful to distinguish "absolute" style horror stories
(or praise for that matter) in any "relative" assessment you undertake.

Allen Patenaude

I highly recommenf Legato Networker for your enterprise solution.
I have been using it now for 3+ years for all data.
I currently backup 4 novell servers, 6 NT servers, 30 Unix worksations,
5 Unix Servers, 3 Offsite (WAN) servers, 20 Win95, 10 WinNT 3,51, a few DOS
all to one Legato server equipted with an EXB-120 (4 8500c 8mm drives, 120
tapes) and a
With the proper network setup the backup works great.
I backup about 65 GB a night and 200 GB on weekends/full backup days
(ie 1st Month)
The configuration is easy and works flawlessly. I have Offsite storage
for copies of tapes which are duped automatically based on a schedule.
The only bad thing is support is slow and time consuming.

David Rossman

We are currently using SM-Arch from Software Moguls as our backup
software package. It does the job for us and is not too fancy.
It has its hickups here and there, but is mostly stable. One
great feature is that the backups are done in a non-proprietary
format, so you can read the data from the tapes even without
their software. They also support just about every client platform,
including Macs.
We are using an ACL452 from ATL Products, a subsidiary of our
company. It has four DLT drives, a capacity of 48 cartridges,
and an import/export door that can hold four cartridges at a
time. It can be run in either Exabyte 120 emulation mode or
native mode. The native mode supports more features. In my opinion,
this is an extremely good product. We were using an ADIC DAT
library previous to this that had some problems. We have
experienced almost no problems with the ATL library. I have
also had the opportunity to watch the development of the
library and believe that all the correct steps were taken to
assure an extremely reliable product. I know it sounds like it's
just a sales pitch, but I really believe it.
We are looking at adding an additional backup server. We will
use another ATL library, but we are looking into using Legato
as the backup software. Some of the reasons for switching have
nothing to do with the capabilities of SM-Arch vs. Legato. We'll
see how it plays out.

Gene Rackow

Before purchasing a system take a look at the amanda package
available from I'm using it here on about 4x the
amount of data you are looking at. It works rather well.

Tox Gunn

Solstice Backup is a repackaged version of Legato Systems' Networker product.
I've used it for years and although setup can occassionally be a pain the
product has been excellent on the Unix platform, reasonable on the NT
platform, and has allowed me to do partial restores off of damaged tapes,
which is hard to do with suites that use the standard Unix utils for a back
end. remember to give it plenty of disk of indexes, and it should work well.
The devices I've used with it are: 8mm - 8500,8505,8505XL,10i(w/ 8500 under
the robot); DLT - Quantum 4500 (quick, fewer maintenance probs than the 8mm).
The software drove the devices well. As far as hardware goes, I was cycling
8500's through my 10i's at my last job several times/yr (abysmal pain in the
ass!), and ended up scrapping both 10i's for the single DLT4500. The media
for the DLT was more expensive, but the throughput was higher once I'd
finished tweaking st_conf.c correctly.
You may get better throughput on your backups if you have your backup server
straddling multiple segments, depending upon what approach you go with.

Don Catey

I used Budtool from PDC. This tool is nice because it uses standard
Unix commands to back up data, not some proprietary process, so if
your backup server took a dump, literally, you can use restore, tar,
or cpio to get it back, without having to reload the backup program.
Budtool is fairly easy to maintain once you have it installed. I also
liked the customization feature for backup routines. I configured it
so that Budtool would initiate a dump of my Oracle database, then back
up the dump file and any other data AFTER the dump was complete.
We also used an Exabyte 10h jukebox which had a 5GB drive, ie, 50GB
max. The 10i has the 14 GB drive which would give you a total
capacity of 140GB. If you need to get the entire 50GB backed up in
one night, though, you will either have to get a bigger jukebox (more
drives) or 2 or more 10i jukeboxes.
I'm now in a different job and working on setting up Networker (Solstice
Backup). It's slightly different, but it appears to be a good program.
It also allows for more than one host to be backed up to the same tape
drive at the same time. The biggest downfall is that you have to use
their program to get any files off the tape.
If you are looking for least cost solutions, take a look at Amanda from the
University of Maryland. It is "freeware" readily available from many
ftp sites, very portable, and appears to be quite popular. UofMaryland
uses it to backup all their Unix machines.

Ronnie Altit

Check out Legato

Les Greene

I use EMC/Epoch Enterprise Backup here at my site. Hardware-wise I have
an Exabyte EXB-60 Tape Library Unit (60 8mm tapes, 2 Exabyte 8500 drives,
robot). I've had it in operation for almost 2 years and it works great.
It did take a while to get it all set up correctly (hardware AND software)
but once it was set, you just feed it tapes and leave it alone.

Mike Cross

A while ago we spent a lot of time looking at Backup solutions for UNIX, the
final decision was to use Epoch from EMC - its a very clever robot which will do
all the tape handling you want, it will manage the backups so you get a Full
backup and incrementals spread over whatever period you state (1 week, 1 months
etc), and it will work out which tapes it needs to restore the files you request
- all of this is automatic, unless you take the tapes out of the machine, in
which case you will be prompted to put them back in before the restore starts.
Its a little expensive, but its a really nice solution ot long term backup

Robert Gillespie
I would consider using native dump/ufsdump commands for sunos/solaris
I have been using this method for many years (initially to 2.3 Gb exabyte)
Currently to 20 Gb DLT Tape Drive
Setup/install/config machine Do full Level 0 dump
                                (If you are really worried make TWO Copies)
Let user loose Add into crontab entry for all sytems a level7
                                for user writable partitions on new machine
rsh topaz dump 7ucbdsf 500 4100000 13000 gandalf:/dev/nrst27 /dev/sd2h ;sleep 20
Then I perform level7's every night on EVERY active filesystem by having all
in a level7_data script fired from crontab at 0010.
When the overnight tape nears capacity, I pick a machine (or two) that is
sending a
lot of level7 data and do a level 0 on it.
I cycle through 60 level7 Tapes numbered 1-60 every night(ish)
and keep level0's for a year or more.
(I have been using the SAME level7 tapes for three years !!!)
Every morning myself OR any other person removes the tape puts in the next
number tape
and writes down the date against the number of the tape they removed in a folder
kept near
the drive. Thats all that happens until a disk crashes (If ever !!)
cron output is mailed to root and copied to a file.
NOTE DLT Tapes DO NOT touch or wrap round the recording heads like some media,
so do not stress the tape.
I have been using DLT2000 (2.6, 6, 10 & 20 Gb) for THREE years
Every night I do incremental backups (level7's only) from a mixture of
22 x Sparc 2 10 20, to a 630MP running 4.1.2 with the DLT device on a SCSI-2
Board (PTSCII).
The overnighter is about 50 filesystems of Seismic Data (mostly bigger than 1
including home dirs, mail spools etc
I expect to get very near to capacity of 20Gb compressed in a time
of about 6 - 7 hours (depending on source machine's ie 2 or 20)
Last week I looked at timings from a sparc20 to DLT

SOURCE DISK: DEC 3210 2.1 Gb disk
SOURCE CPU: SPARC-20/61 64Mb SunOS 4.1.3_U1revB

NETWORK: 10 M/sec UTP ethernet
This gave a throughput of 1.433 Mbytes/sec
(1,652,413 Kbytes in 18 mins 46 secs)

Mark L. Roberts
I use BRU fro Enhanced Software Technology in Tempe Arizona, they have a web
page I forgot URL. It supports anh hardware your system does and is very
feature rich and hadles Tape errors better that anything else. The solstice
product is based on Legato Networker wich has poor tape error handling and

John E. Fiori
U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL)
Geophysical Sciences Division email:
72 Lyme Road phone: (603) 646-4515 / 4100
Hanover, NH 03755-1290 fax: (603) 646-4397

Status: RO

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