Best Practices for Integrating Neverfail Heartbeat V4.6 or Later with Symantec Backup Exec for Windows Servers 11d (32-Bit) - TOPOLOGY #1

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Summary

This Knowledgebase article describes best practices for integrating Neverfail Heartbeat V4.6 or later with Symantec Backup Exec for Windows Servers 11d (32-bit) and contains advice specific to topology #1 (Remote Agents).

Please note that Symantec’s Continuous Protection Server (CPS) component is NOT supported.


More Information

Please ensure you have read the following Knowledgebase article before proceeding:

Deployment: Topology #1

Agent installation can be done through the push-install method provided by Backup Exec. Neverfail recommends installing the agent before installing Heartbeat, since this will eliminate the need to repeat the installation on the Secondary server.

Note: The “Backup Exec Remote Agent for Windows Servers” service is dependant on the “Server” service, which is part of the Windows operating system. The “Server” service is protected and controlled by Neverfail for File Server. The final state of the “Backup Exec Remote Agent for Windows Servers” service will therefore depend on whether or not Neverfail for File Server is installed on your server pair. This is detailed in each of the procedures described below.

  1. Installing the remote agent before installing Neverfail Heartbeat - the recommended deployment strategy.
    1. Install the Agent on the production server. Make sure that no backup jobs will be performed during the installation of Heartbeat.
    2. Install Neverfail Heartbeat on the server pair.
    3. Once Heartbeat is installed and running on the server pair:
      1. Open the Neverfail Heartbeat Management Client.
      2. On the System -> Status & Control panel, check that the 'Application Status' is “Started”.
      3. Check that the “Backup Exec Remote Agent for Windows Servers” service is configured and operating normally, according to the following table:

    Configuration

    Agent on the Primary Server Agent on the Secondary Server
    Neverfail for File Server Installed Manual / Started Manual / Stopped
    Neverfail for File Server NOT Installed Automatic / Started Automatic / Started

  2. Installing the remote agent on a server pair after installing Neverfail Heartbeat

    ASSUMPTIONS: This procedure assumes that the Primary server is ACTIVE, and the Secondary server is PASSIVE. If the Secondary server is active, please omit step 2 below.

    1. On the active server, or a remote client, open the Neverfail Heartbeat Management Client.
    2. Perform a switchover and wait for the Secondary server to become active.
    3. Shutdown Heartbeat leaving protected applications running.
    4. Install the Agent on the Secondary-active server.
      1. Reboot the server if the installation process requires it.
      2. If a reboot is required, restart Heartbeat on the Primary-passive server, and allow a Full System Check to complete before proceeding.
      3. If a reboot was not required, restart Heartbeat on both servers and allow a Full System Check to complete before proceeding.
    5. If Neverfail for File Server is installed on the server pair:
      1. Set the 'Startup Type' for the “Backup Exec Remote Agent for Windows Systems” (“BackupExecAgentAccelerator”) service to manual on the Secondary-active server.
      2. Add the “BackupExecAgentAccelerator” service to the File Server start script on the Secondary-active server. Please see section 'C' below for instructions on how to perform this operation.
    6. Perform a switchover and wait for the Primary server to become active.
    7. Shutdown Heartbeat leaving protected applications running.
    8. Install the Agent on the Primary-active server
      1. Reboot the server if the installation process requires it.
      2. If a reboot is required, restart Heartbeat on the Secondary-passive server.
      3. If a reboot was not required, restart Heartbeat on both servers.
    9. If Neverfail for File Server is installed on the server pair:
      1. Set the Startup Type for the “Backup Exec Remote Agent for Windows Systems” (“BackupExecAgentAccelerator”) service to manual on the Primary-active server.
      2. Add the “BackupExecAgentAccelerator” service to the File Server start script on the Primary-active server. Please see section 'C' below for instructions on how to perform this operation.
    10. Once the Agent is installed and running on the server pair:
      1. Open the Neverfail Heartbeat Management Client.
      2. On the System -> Status & Control panel, check that the 'Application Status' is “Started”.
      3. Check that the “Backup Exec Remote Agent for Windows Servers” service is configured and operating normally, according to the following table:
    1. Configuration Agent on the Primary Server Agent on the Secondary Server
      Neverfail for File Server AM Installed Manual / Started Manual / Stopped
      Neverfail for File Server AM NOT Installed Automatic / Started

      Automatic / Started


  3. Editing the Neverfail Heartbeat start/stop scripts.

This section describes how to edit the start/stop scripts. When editing the scripts, double-check all changes, since these will have a direct impact on the status of backup software and protected applications.

The FileServer AM start script (start.bat) can be found in the following location:

%install_dir%\R2\Scripts\Fileserver\start.bat.

You must open the start.bat file and add the following line after all the other “NfNet Start . . .” lines:

NfNet Start "BackupExecAgentAccelerator" /R || set FAILED=1

Configuration

  1. Backup jobs:
    • Backup jobs should be configured so that they do not overlap with Neverfail Heartbeat tasks (for example, DRM shadow creation, Rollback operations, or Full System Check).
    • Please ensure that you exclude the following directory from any backup job:

    %install_dir%\R2\log including subdirectories

    • Please avoid scheduling a backup job during a full system check. Competition for file access between Neverfail Heartbeat and backup software will significantly increase the durations of both the backup job and the full system check task. This is especially important in environments with large databases (Exchange or SQL Server) where the time required to backup data is considerable.
  2. Restore jobs:
  • Any restore should be performed under careful supervision of a system administrator.
  • Restores must take place on the active server only. Neverfail Heartbeat should be stopped before performing any restore.
    If prompted, reboot the machine in order to complete the restore. DO NOT start Heartbeat on the passive server yet. You now have the opportunity to examine the restored data (on the active server) without it being replicated:
    • If, for any reason, you don’t want to keep the restored data, you have the option to shutdown Heartbeat on the active server (if it is running), manually switch the roles of the servers (using the Configure Server wizard), and then start Heartbeat and replication on both servers. This will bring the data on the server pair back to the state it was before the restore. Once the servers are synchronized, you can switchover to the pre-restore server pair configuration.
    • If you want to continue using the restored data, simply start Heartbeat on the active (if required) and passive servers and allow the pair to get in synch.
  • When restoring system state, service state, registry data, or any other selection containing the Neverfail installation folder, or folders which are vital to the operating system (for example, the Windows installation directory), a reboot is usually required. Following the reboot, Neverfail may detect an unclean shutdown, set the server role to passive, and not start – there will be two passive servers. Please refer to Knowledgebase article #984 - 'Resolve Two Passive Servers', for advice on how to resolve this situation. Also, there must be no cross-restores of such selections. A cross-restore is the restoration of data, which was backed up on one server in the server pair, and is restored on the other server.

Uninstalling backup software

When uninstalling backup software, if Neverfail Heartbeat is still installed on the server pair, you must perform the following steps:

  1. Shutdown Heartbeat (you may leave protected applications running).
  2. Edit the start/stop scripts on both servers so that any references to services belonging to backup software are removed before the uninstall process.
  3. Uninstall the backup software on both servers, and reboot the servers if required. If a reboot is not required, simply restart Heartbeat on both servers.

Known issues

Both Neverfail Heartbeat task times and backup jobs times will increase significantly when they overlap; also, the overall performance of the server pair will be degraded.

Shadow creation tasks may fail when performed during certain phases of backup jobs, depending on the settings used. Even though this will not cause any significant problems, care should be taken when scheduling tasks on a server pair running Heartbeat.

Following any switchover or failover, it is recommended to check the correct operation of the backup software, by examining scheduled jobs, backup devices’ status, and other settings, which impact the execution of backups.

SQL 2005 backups: When performing backups of SQL Server 2005, any consistency check performed before or after the backup will result in an “Unprotected Feature Detected” warning in the Neverfail Event Log, regarding the sparse files created when the consistency checks were performed.

Applies To

Neverfail Heartbeat V4.6 or Later


Related Information

None

KBID-1224

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