NetWorker Blog

Commentary from a long term NetWorker consultant and Backup Theorist

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Posts Tagged ‘GUI’

Quibbles – Why can’t I rename clients in the GUI?

Posted by Preston on 2009-11-16

For what it’s worth, I believe that the continuing lack of support for renaming clients as a function within NMC, (as opposed to the current, highly manual process), represents an annoying and non-trivial gap in functionality that causes administrators headaches and undue work.

For me, this was highlighted most recently when a customer of mine needed to shift their primary domain, and all clients had been created using the fully qualified domain name. All 500 clients. Not 5, not 50, but 500.

The current mechanisms for renaming clients may be “OK” if you only rename one client a year, but more and more often I’m seeing sites renaming up to 5 clients a year as a regular course of action. If most of my customers are doing it, surely they’re not unique.

Renaming clients in NetWorker is a pain. And I don’t mean a “oops I just trod on a pin” style pain, but a “oh no, I just impaled my foot on a 6 inch rusty nail” style pain. It typically involves:

  • Taking care to note client ID
  • Recording the client configuration for all instances of the client
  • Deleting all instances of the client
  • Rename the index directory
  • Recreate all instances of the client, being sure on first instance creation to include the original client ID

(If the client is explicitly named in pool resources, they have to be updated as well, first clearing the client from those pools and then re-adding the newly “renamed” client.)

This is not fun stuff. Further, the chance for human error in the above list is substantial, and when we’re playing with indices, human error can result in situations where it becomes very problematic to either facilitate restores or ensure that backup dependencies have appropriate continuity.

Now, I know that facilitating a client rename from within a GUI isn’t easy, particularly since the NMC server may not be on the same host as the NetWorker server. There’s a bunch of (potential pool changes), client resource changes, filesystem changes and the need to put in appropriate rollback code so that if the system aborts half-way through it can revert at least to the old client name.

As I’ve argued in the past though, just because something isn’t easy doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

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Posted in NetWorker, Quibbles | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Quibbles – Why can’t I rename clients in the GUI?

Quibbles – Client GUI

Posted by Preston on 2009-03-12

I’ve been working with NetWorker for 12+ years now. I’ve used servers from v4.1, and clients back to the v3.x range. I’m not the most long-term NetWorker user, but I suspect I’m up in the top 10% for long-term users of the product.

Thus, I feel that I’m perfectly justified to point out my ongoing annoyance with the client GUI – particularly on Windows. Just why after all these years can’t the GUI be used to backup to a pool other than the Default pool?

Here it is, in all its aggravating failure:

Where's my pool selection, EMC?

Where's my pool selection, EMC?

I’m not a fan of the client GUI for backup – for the most part I think backup should be server initiated, and if you want to run a backup from the client then running save from the command line is reasonably easy. That being said, not everyone loves the command line like me.

There’s no justification for this ongoing failure to be able to select a backup pool in the GUI. None whatsoever. I don’t care if an EMC engineer who has worked on NetWorker for longer than I’ve been using it suggests a dozen reasons why it can’t be done, it’s … well, not enough.

Why?

Go take a look at the SQL client GUI, or the Exchange client GUI, as an example.

Both of these give the user the option to backup to another pool.

Please will someone actually take the time to update the client GUI so it’s no longer laughable?

Posted in Quibbles | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »