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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Data Protector Granular Recovery Extension (GRE) and HP OneView don't play nicely together

Are you tearing your hair out about this mysterious error?

Http Error - 500 
{"message":"Unexpected error :There was a problem while sending query to service https://cellmgr.ifost.org.au:7116/dp-gui/grePlugin/GetMountProxies.jsp?newMachineTypeParam=MountProxy. Check that this agent is accessible."}

Then you are presumably trying to configure the HPE DataProtector Granular Recovery Extension (GRE) in version 9.05. And sometimes it works, and then.... it doesn't. Even when you haven't changed anything.

What's going on is that if anyone starts HP OneView on that Vsphere server, the GRE will start getting that error. The only workaround at the moment is to restart the Vsphere server (!) and try again, and hope that no-one looks at OneView.

Or uninstall OneView.

Or uninstall Data Protector VMware Granular Recovery Extension.

HPE's tracking code for this problem is QCCR2A65688, but at the moment it's still under investigation.

In the interim, just hope that you don't need to restore an individual file from a VMware-level backup because you will be manually restoring the VMDK, manually mounting it and then collecting the files out that you want.

You can also ditch VMware-level backups for the moment, install an agent and use file-level backups until it's resolved.

I'll update this blog post when a fix is released.


Greg Baker is an independent consultant who happens to do a lot of work on HPE DataProtector. He is the author of the only published books on HP Data Protector (http://www.ifost.org.au/books/#dp). He works with HPE and HPE partner companies to solve the hardest big-data problems (especially around backup). See more at IFOST's DataProtector pages at http://www.ifost.org.au/dataprotector, or visit the online store for Data Protector products, licenses and renewals at http://store.data-protector.net/ 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Forever cycling through device discovery - Cannot open exchanger control device ([122] The data area passed to a system call is too small. )

I spent some time with the HPE response centre on this problem -- an IBM 3584 tape library that Data Protector could discover (badly) but couldn't use and kept cycling back through path discovery.

[Normal] From: [email protected] "IBM 3584 L32"  Time: 15/01/2016 11:49:07 AM
Media session 2016/01/15-23 started.

[Normal] From: [email protected] "IBM 3584 L32"  Time: 15/01/2016 11:49:07 AM
STARTING Media Agent "IBM 3584 L32"

[Warning] From: [email protected] "IBM 3584 L32"  Time: 15/01/2016 11:59:10 AM
[90:59]   Changer0:0:0:1
Cannot open exchanger control device (Details unknown.)

[Warning] From: [email protected] "IBM 3584 L32"  Time: 15/01/2016 11:59:10 AM
The device "IBM 3584 L32" could not be opened("Device could not be accessed") 

[Normal] From: [email protected] "IBM 3584 L32"  Time: 15/01/2016 11:59:10 AM
Starting the device path discovery process. 

[Normal] From: [email protected] "IBM 3584 L32"  Time: 15/01/2016 11:59:12 AM
A new path(s) "Changer0:0:0:1" found for device "IBM 3584 L32" and stored. 

[Normal] From: [email protected] "IBM 3584 L32"  Time: 15/01/2016 11:59:12 AM
Device path discovery process finished. 

[Critical] From: [email protected] "IBM 3584 L32"  Time: 15/01/2016 12:09:15 PM
[90:59]   dp.ifost.org.au : Changer0:0:0:1
Cannot open exchanger control device ([122] The data area passed to a system call is too small. )

[Normal] From: [email protected] "IBM 3584 L32"  Time: 15/01/2016 12:09:15 PM
ABORTED Media Agent "IBM 3584 L32"


============================================================================
                      0 cartridges out of 0 successfully scanned.
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In the end, it was a Data Protector bug (in Data Protector 9.05, and probably earlier versions too). It's fixed with QCIM2A65833_IB2, available to anyone with a support contract. (Speaking of support contracts, I offer a Support Contract Review with a money-saved or money-back guarantee).

Greg Baker is an independent consultant who happens to do a lot of work on HPE DataProtector. He is the author of the only published books on HP Data Protector (http://www.ifost.org.au/books/#dp). He works with HPE and HPE partner companies to solve the hardest big-data problems (especially around backup). See more at IFOST's DataProtector pages at http://www.ifost.org.au/dataprotector, or visit the online store for Data Protector products, licenses and renewals at http://store.data-protector.net/ 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Survey on omniabort extensions in Data Protector

Sometimes, a Data Protector session will hang. The backup session manager (bsm) process doesn't exit even though all the disk agents and media agents have long since finished. I wrote a blog post about it (http://blog.ifost.org.au/2014/05/how-to-kill-hanging-session.html), including how to fix it, but Tara F asked if there's a way of killing the BSM process and leaving the status of the session as "Completed".

As far as I know, there isn't.

I wrote:
Maybe we should lobby for this as a feature request -- if a bsm receives (say) SIGUSR1 then it should quit and report a successful session. Or perhaps there should be a -kill option to omniabort which can say whether it was a good ending. 
e.g.
omniabort -kill -ok
500 people have read the "How to kill a hanging session", almost all of whom came in via Google searches to that page. This suggests it's a reasonably common problem. So I wondered if we could try something a little different: what if we lobbied HPE for this feature?

Normally, the right thing to do is to log a feature request under your support call. Do this for any really important stuff. But this is a small request that will make a small amount of difference to a large number of customers, so I'm interested to see if this works.

Here's the survey, with three questions: 
  • Do you want omniabort -kill?
  • Do you want omniabort -kill -ok?
  • Can HPE get a copy of the session report automatically when you use these?



Greg Baker is an independent consultant who happens to do a lot of work on HPE DataProtector. He is the author of the only published books on HP Data Protector (http://www.ifost.org.au/books/#dp). He works with HPE and HPE partner companies to solve the hardest big-data problems (especially around backup). See more at IFOST's DataProtector pages at http://www.ifost.org.au/dataprotector, or visit the online store for Data Protector products, licenses and renewals at http://store.data-protector.net/ 

Monday, 11 January 2016

Expect script to audit Data Protector versions

In the grand scheme of things, what I'm about to share is not a terribly useful script.

I had a cell where Data Protector was reporting that the clients were at a different version to what they really were. Normally this is easy to fix: right click on the client and select "Check Installation" and it will sort itself out.

But in this case, the hostname of the client computer didn't match the DNS name known by the cell manager. So the check installation failed before it had a chance to probe what version was running on the client.

This can also be solved by re-running "Upgrade Components". But for tedious reasons, this wasn't an option either.

I really wanted to know what version everything was at, and I had a Linux box handy, and it had Expect on it. (Actually it didn't, but I was able to run yum install expect). This is what I put together:

#!/usr/bin/expect -f

set timeout 30
log_user 0
set cellmember [lindex $argv 0]
spawn telnet $cellmember 5555
expect {
  -re (HP.*)INET { puts "$cellmember: $expect_out(1,string)" }
  timeout { puts "$cellmember: timeout" }
  eof { puts "$cellmember: some other problem" }

}

In other words, this script will check the computer listed on the command line and print out either:
  • the version of Data Protector installed on the client
  • a timeout if there was no response in 30 seconds
  • a dumb message if something else went wrong (e.g. name resolution failure)
Feel free to use this if you find it useful.

Greg Baker is an independent consultant who happens to do a lot of work on HPE DataProtector. He is the author of the only published books on HP Data Protector (http://www.ifost.org.au/books/#dp). He works with HPE and HPE partner companies to solve the hardest big-data problems (especially around backup). See more at IFOST's DataProtector pages at http://www.ifost.org.au/dataprotector, or visit the online store for Data Protector products, licenses and renewals at http://store.data-protector.net/ 

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

How to save on your HPE Support Contract

Enterprise support contracts are usually 20% of the list price (original software purchase price) each year. HPE is no exception, except that HPE internally have rules preventing them from discounting the support contract. So even if you get a deep discount for your initial purchase, you will still be paying 20% of whatever it would have been listed at.

Most Data Protector customers have had Data Protector for a long time. Many of my customers are just starting to head into their third decade of using it, so their support contract has probably cost 4-5 times as much as the initial licenses.

Support contract costs add up. Here's how to save on it:

KILL THE ZOMBIES! Confirm that all the products that you are renewing are still in use in your organisation. A lot of cruft can appear in a support contract. In particular, count up the number of online extension licenses and media agent licenses.

THE TIER DROP If you have had Data Protector for a while, you might have bought a cell manager license for HP-UX or Solaris, but you are now running it on Windows or Linux. The license will work, but you will be paying 3 times as much for it each year in renewal. Switching to a Linux or Windows cell manager can give a return on investment of 18 months.

ORACLE DROP Nearly as often, you might have bought a license for an online backup of Oracle on an HP-UX or Solaris box, but you have migrated your Oracle databases to run on Linux. Again, switching to a lower-tier integration license will pay itself off in less than 18 months.

RESTORE ONLY If you aren't using Data Protector that much any more, and you only have to perform restores -- but you still want to be supported, then Data Protector single-server edition is the cheapest support-contract-enabled product you can buy.

RETREAT ON THE ADVANCED BACKUP TO DISK LICENSES If you were using Data Protector before 6.21, you might have been using File Libraries, and you would have had enough licenses to cover the full size of your backup. With StoreOnce stores, the de-duplication will often mean that you only need a small fraction of what you were using before.

SWITCH CLASSIC TO CAPACITY If you have very little data but you do many integration backups: for example, you have dozens of SQL databases, are using VMware, but only have around 10TB of data, capacity licenses work out cheaper.

SWITCH CAPACITY TO CLASSIC This is very common situation for newer customers. You might have been sold a capacity license -- possibly at 90% discount -- and when you come up to renewal, you pay more in annual support renewal (20%) than the original license cost! When you add up the licenses for the functionality that you are actually using, it's often cheaper to buy classic licenses afresh.

CONSOLIDATE TO ONE CONTRACT Sometimes I find customers who thought they were supported who discover that only a part of their contract was renewed, or only one of two was renewed. This can lead to an expensive back-to-current renewal.

Anyway, if you want some help with this, send me a copy of your support contract ([email protected]) and let me look through it. I've seen enough of them to make sense of them now. (You can also request this online: http://store.data-protector.net/products/support-contract-review -- use the discount code "FREE-REVIEW")

Greg Baker is an independent consultant who happens to do a lot of work on HP DataProtector. He is the author of the only published books on HP Data Protector (http://www.ifost.org.au/books/#dp). He works with HP and HP partner companies to solve the hardest big-data problems (especially around backup). See more at IFOST's DataProtector pages at http://www.ifost.org.au/dataprotector, or visit the online store for Data Protector products, licenses and renewals at http://store.data-protector.net/