How to check that backups ran successfully

There are several different ways to find out whether your backup was successful, depending on what exactly you want to check.

More options are available if you want to check how your scheduled, rather than manual, backups went.

There are also further resources if you are IT staff and want to check on your department or college's backups.

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The HFS Backup & Archive Services Portal gives a great deal of detail and is the recommended method of checking your backup status.

If you select a node name you will be taken to the Node Details page for that node.  A number of tabs then provide information about backups: 

  • The Summary tab shows when the last backup was completed, the status of your last scheduled backup, a summary of backups of individual filespaces, and how much newly-sent data is on disk waiting to be committed to tape.
  • The Filespaces tab provides more detail on backups of individual filespaces, including how much data is held and the time and duration of the last backup.
  • The Activity tab shows all backup and restore sessions.
  • The Backup and restore tab provides the same information as the activity tab, but as a graph.
  • The Scheduled tab provides the times and statuses of recent and near-future scheduled backups.  This shows the time when the backup is scheduled to start, and whether schedules have been completed, missed, failed or whether there was another problem.

Please note that a completed schedule does not mean that every single file was successfully backed up, you would need to use another method to check specific files.

This data is only extracted from the servers periodically.  It can be up to 10-15 minutes out of date, or an hour in the case of the backup and restore tab.

You can see the details of exactly what we have for your machine by running Spectrum Protect and selecting Restore.  Under File Level you will be able to see your drives and what files we have for them, without the need for restoring any data.

Details are also available for Restoring selected files and directories.

This method gives lots of details, but is only appropriate if you use the overnight schedules.

During a scheduled backup, every file sent to the HFS by Spectrum Protect is logged in the schedule log dsmsched.log, which is kept on your machine.  Additionally, errors are logged to dsmerror.log.  If you open dsmsched.log in a text editor then you will be able to see exactly what was sent, and whether any files failed to get backed up.

Scroll to the end of dsmsched.log and you should see that the Spectrum Protect scheduler has written summary information of the last scheduled backup similar to the following:

14-12-2010 23:03:04 --- SCHEDULEREC STATUS BEGIN
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Total number of objects inspected:   91,497
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Total number of objects backed up:      113
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Total number of objects updated:          0
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Total number of objects rebound:          0
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Total number of objects deleted:          0
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Total number of objects expired:         53
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Total number of objects failed:           6
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Total number of bytes transferred:    19.38 MB
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Data transfer time:                    1.54 sec
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Network data transfer rate:        12,821.52 KB/sec
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Aggregate data transfer rate:        114.39 KB/sec
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Objects compressed by:                    0%
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Elapsed processing time:           00:02:53
14-12-2010 23:03:04 --- SCHEDULEREC STATUS END
14-12-2010 23:03:04 --- SCHEDULEREC OBJECT END WEEKLY_23_00 14-12-2010 23:00:00
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Scheduled event 'WEEKLY_23_00' completed successfully.
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Sending results for scheduled event 'WEEKLY_23_00'.
14-12-2010 23:03:04 Results sent to server for scheduled event 'WEEKLY_23_00'.

Firstly, check whether Spectrum Protect deemed the schedule to be completed or not. The third line from the bottom indicates that the schedule completed successfully.  This is likely to mean that most of your files were backed up, but on the other hand it does not necessarily mean that all files were sent to the HFS.

It is therefore important to determine if any files have failed to be backed up.  If the scheduled completed successfully but the number of objects listed under Total number of objects failed is greater than zero, then scroll up or search for the next occurrence of the word fail to determine which files are affected.  The most common reason for a file failing to be backed up is that it is held open (locked) by another program, such as:

14-12-2010 23:02:59 ANS1228E Sending of object '\\oucs-jason\c$\Documents and Settings\jasonz\NTUSER.DAT' failed
14-12-2010 23:02:59 ANS4987E Error processing '\\oucs-jason\c$\Documents and Settings\jasonz\NTUSER.DAT': the object is in use by another process

In some cases this is unavoidable: the file dsmerror.log should be ignored if it fails and should not be excluded from the backup.  In other cases, the choice is either to close the problem program before the backup, or to exclude the problem file from backup.

Other failures and errors will be accompanied by an error message and a corresponding entry in dsmerror.log.  If your schedule did not complete successfully then please see our page on troubleshooting Spectrum Protect scheduled backup failure reports.  Further help with any errors may be also found via the HFS knowledgebase.

Note that the schedule log file does not grow endlessly, but is pruned of entries older than the setting of the SchedlogRetention option.  By default this is set to 30 days.

IT support staff (ITSS) may check the status of their college or departmental Spectrum Protect accounts in the HFS Backup & Archive Services Portal.

ITSS may list all the Spectrum Protect accounts that fall under their unit.

The HFS Portal offers ITSS to see the same information about individual nodes as end users can see about their own nodes.  In addition it also provides a number of reports, available in PDF or Excel formats, on the unit's nodes.

Additionally, the HFS can send out weekly or monthly mailings to ITSS which detail scheduled backup failures of their unit's machines, similar to the Scheduled Backups report available in the HFS Portal.  If you would like this, please contact hfs@ox.ac.uk and let us know your department (which may have Spectrum Protect nodes that have several different Spectrum Protect nodename suffixes), and whether you would prefer weekly or monthly mails.

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