Lingo Explained: Block Padding (with HP Data Protector)

The term Block Padding is used in backup to tape environments when there is a need for tape copy and backup mirroring. Tape still remains a sequential medium, using different tracks to store data. Therefore, there are slight variations in the overall capacity of individual tapes. This can pose a significant challenge when attempting to make an exact copy from a tape which is slightly larger than the destination tape. Planning for this eventual issue must be done before the initial tape initialization.

HP Data Protector uses a parameter called “OB2BLKPADDING” in the omnirc file on each system (media agent) connected with a tape device. The parameters’ value defines the number of empty blocks to be added on the specific tape. This empty space allows tape content to be copied to another tape of the same type without any problem as the empty space is not copied from the source.

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Windows 10 Setup throws an error message: “something happened”

Microsoft released Windows 10 yesterday for all persons holding a valid Windows 7 or Windows 8 license key. Installation / upgrade is free of charge!

When I tried to upgrade my existing Windows 8.1 workstation to Windows 10, I encountered some troubles in launching the Windows 10 setup. The setup tool can be found on this location ( Two different versions can be obtained:

  • 64-bit application which is the first choice to install/upgrade an existing system.
  • 32-bit application for the computers with a 32-bit processor (yes, they are still around :) ).

The tool allows an in-place upgrade of the system, as well as the creation of media to deploy the operating system on another system.

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HP Data Protector Version Discontuance

Today HP announced the discontuance of some HP Data Protector versions. Hereby a table of the last versions and it’s End-Of-Support dates.

Oct 31, 2009 End Of Product Support for HP Data Protector 5.5
Oct 31, 2011 End Of Self-Support for HP Data Protector 5.5
Dec 31, 2014 End Of Product Support for HP Data Protector 6.2x
Dec 31, 2016 End Of Self-Support for HP Data Protector 7.0 & 8.0x
Dec 31, 2014 End Of Product Support for HP Data Protector 6.2x
Dec 31, 2016 End Of Self-Support for HP Data Protector 7.0 & 8.0x
June 30, 2016 End Of Product Support for HP Data Protector 7.0 & 8.0x
June 30, 2017 End Of Product Support for HP Data Protector 8.1x
Dec 31, 2017 End of Committed Support for HP Data Protector 9.0x
June 30, 2018 End Of Self-Help Support for HP Data Protector 7.0 & 8.0x
June 30, 2019 End Of Self-Help Support for HP Data Protector 8.1x
Dec 31, 2019 End of Extended Support for HP Data Protector 9.0x
Dec 31, 2023 End of Self-Help Support with Rights to New Versions for HP Data Protector 9.0x

The power of CommVault Simpana Regex based subclients

A Regex or Regular Expression is a sequence of characters that define a search pattern. It’s mainly used for pattern matching. Each character in a regular expression is either understood to be a metacharacter -with it’s special meaning, or a regular character with it’s listeral meaning.

A basic understanding of regular expressions is recommended. For more information about the expressions and metacharacters which can be used, please refer to a regex cheat sheet. Various tools are available on the internet to test your regular expressions. For example: RegExPal.

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CommVault Content Indexing operations are failing after performing a search engine optimization

Last week, I downloaded a custom workflow which executes a Search Engine optimization from CommVault Cloud.

The Search Engine optimization workflow brings the Search Engine offline, performs some maintenance activities on the Apache Lucene SOLR engine. Once completed, the search engine is brought back online. Below you can find a screenshot of the workflow.
SOLR Content Indexing Failing - 1

When been executed, I noticed it stayed in the “run optimize” phase for about 25 minutes and the logs files remained remarkable empty. I decided to kill the job and check it on a later moment. (sorry I did not had the time to wait :) )

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Import CommVault cloud report templates in the webconsole

CommVault Simpana 10 ships with a very powerful webconsole. At this moment, the webconsole is an addendum on the CommVault Simpana Administration Console. It’s not a replacement!

The webconsole allows:

  • on-demand & historical reporting;
  • end-user data recovery for Microsoft Exchange and various file system backups;
  • Edge data & software installation;
  • executing workflow runbooks (for example: end-user incident management);
  • virtual machine management;

In this blogpost, I would like to touch the “on-demand & historical reporting”. By default, the webconsole is filled up with some default reports which can be executed on the CommServe Databases.

The reporting framework is not restricted to the CommVault databases only. In the configuration section of the webconsole, you can easily define external data sources. The supported “remote databases” are:

  • Microsoft SQL Server;
  • Oracle;
  • MySQL.

Basically this functionality allows reporting on custom-applications, databases filled-up with scripts and 3rd party applications. For example reporting on a remote Symantec Backup Exec server.

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On June 30, 2015 23:59:59 a leap second with be inserted to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

Leap seconds are a periodic intervention in order to keep a system’s time of day close to the mean solar time. Without this adjustment, time defined by Earth’s spin drifts away from atomic time. Since this system of correction was defined in 1972, 26 correction interventions have been conducted. The last correction dates from 3 years ago: June 30, 2012 23:59:59.

Understanding the leap second (source: RedHat KB Article)

The basic time for mostly all of the world’s local time zones is called Coordinated Universal Time, UTC, which is derived from a bunch of atomic clocks which are distributed in several countries all over the world. The rotation of the earth is not very constant and varies a bit over time, while decreasing the mean rotation speed slowly. This is the reason why so called leap seconds are inserted into the UTC time scale, they adjust process of the UTC time to the real earth rotation.

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Running the CommVault External Data Connector Scripts for Symantec NetBackup 7.5

I’m starting a new project to change the backup infrastructure for one of my customers. Currently the customer is using NetBackup 7.5 (installed on Windows) and we will incorporate the remote site in it’s centrally managed CommVault 10 environment to ease the handover to the operational teams and to efficiently use the capacity-based licenses.

To get a good understanding of the environment, including data sizings – we opted to execute the External Data Connector (EDC) Scripts for NetBackup 7.5 provided by CommVault Cloud Services.

Please note, you have the ability to install an “External Data Connector Agent” on one of your clients and use that one to feed the data from the NetBackup environment. However, I’m not in favour for this approach as it will pollute the CommServe Database. This blogpost describes how you can use the Cloud Applications of CommVault to stage the existing configuration without thrashing the production environment.
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HP Data Protector: “Cannot connect to the SCM (Service Control Manager) on client: [5] Access Denied

I encountered the following error notification when adding a new client (the first one) to a freshly installed HP Data Protector Cell: “[Critical] [110:1022] Cannot connect to the SCM (Service Control Manager) on client RRE-AD01.testlab.local: [5] Access Denied“.

At first I thought the Data Protector Cell Manager was unable to connect to the client. Eventually I disabled the firewall on both machines, ensured the network connectivity between both systems could be properly established and if the user credentials are correct. Everything matched as expected!

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CommVault SQLiDA: Unable to get SQL version

Recently one of our development servers crashed. Upon recovery we started to receive the following error messages when backing up the Microsoft SQL databases: “Unable to get the SQL Version for the server [DEVSERVER]. Please check if the SQL Services are running.

It’s important to note:

  • Before the crash the backups ran fine;
  • the file “SQLServerInstanceList.txt” listed the following information: “(local);Clustered:No;Version:11.0.5058.0“;
  • the SQLiDA log only mentions “Unable to get the SQL Version for the server“;
  • the server has been restarted and the SQL iDataAgent has been reconfigured (removed keeping software in place and reconfigured).

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