Standard Backup Procedure

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Docs latest icon.png Welcome to the latest SEP sesam documentation version 4.4.3 Beefalo/5.0.0 Jaglion. For previous documentation version(s), check Documentation archive.


The SEP sesam backup is a process in which file system and/or application data from SEP sesam clients are copied and stored to backup media. The backup procedure described below applies to creating filesystem backups. For applications, databases and virtualisation-specific data, the backup procedure might involve additional tasks or include other options. As special methods are used to back up such data, make sure to use the backup procedure specific to the data you want to back up.


  • Each client system that you want to back up requires SEP sesam Client software to be installed. Note that the SEP sesam Server is always also a SEP sesam Client. For details on installation, see SEP sesam Quick Install Guide.
  • A client must be added to your backup environment.
  • Storage hardware must be configured and media must be prepared.
  • You must have admin user rights for performing a backup.

A standard backup procedure involves the following steps:

  1. Creating a backup task by selecting the data to be backed up
  2. Creating a backup schedule by specifying when you want to back up your data
  3. Creating a backup event by selecting where to back up your data to and how
SEP Tip.png Tip
  • In v. ≥ 5.0.0 Jaglion, you can automate the process of backing up multiple VMs by automatically generating tasks for VMs that are connected to the same host; you can also automatically create clients for VMs to which the created tasks and ACLs can be assigned. It is recommended to use these features when a new hypervisor is added and many new VMs need to be backed up. For details, see Automating Backup Process.
  • Take a look at some best practices to consider when planning a backup strategy: Backup Strategy Best Practices.

Step 1: Creating a backup task

  1. From Main Selection -> Tasks -> By Clients, select your client and click New Backup Task. The New Backup Task window opens.
  2. Use the browse button to specify the Source and select what you want to back up. If you want to back up individual files, you can either browse for directories and files that you want to include in the backup or enter their names followed by a comma (C:/Program Files/SEPsesam/var/db,C:\Users\AA\Documents\references).
  3. Typically, if you select the source by browsing, the task type and task name are set automatically. (You can still edit the assigned task name.) A few special task types are rare exceptions and thus require a manual selection of the relevant type and specifying the task name.
    New backup task browse Beefalo.jpg
    Information sign.png Note
    If the number of files or directories to be included for backup exceeds the allowed length of 1024 characters for the task source, it is recommended to create a separate file that contains a list of selected files and directories to be backed up.

    For more details on the -f option, see SBC CLI: option -f (files).

    Backup by list file.jpg

  4. Optionally, specify the filenames or patterns which you want to exclude from backup in the Exclude list. For details on various exclude options, see Creating Exclude List.
    SEP Tip.png Tip
    If the number of files or directories you want to exclude from the backup exceeds the allowed length of 1024 characters, you can create a separate file that contains a list of selected sources as described in FAQ:How do I exclude or include a large number of files/folders for backup?.

    If you want to add a comment, enter it in the Notes field.

  5. Depending on your operating system (Windows, Linux or Unix), you might need to set the following options:
  6. All systems:
    • If the task needs to be excluded from the backup for technical or other reasons, you can deactivate it by checking the Execution off option. If this option is set, the backup of this task will not start until it is unlocked again even if it is scheduled for the backup. For details, see Disabling and Enabling Backup Task.
    On Windows:
    • When creating a regular Path backup, the option Backup with VSS is enabled by default. It is possible to exclude a specific VSS writer from backup or disable VSS; for details, see SEP sesam Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS).
    On Linux:
    • You can enable the Backup with LVM option, if you want to perform consistent backups of open files on Linux by using Logical Volume Manager (LVM). For details, see SEP sesam Logical Volume Manager (LVM) for Linux.
    • You can use the Save data mounted by NFS option to follow and save mount points, which reside on another host system by NFS.
    • As of SEP sesam v. 5.0.0 Jaglion, you can set that deleted or modified files are not reported as errors by selecting the last check box.
    On Unix:
    • You can enable the Descend directories on other file systems option to access onther partitions, which are mounted to the file system by symbolic links.
  7. Click the Options tab to define special backup or restore options and/or enable the pre/post backup or restore commands.
  8. Specify additional backup/restore options Under the Additional call arguments part, you can specify special backup options in the Backup options field:
    • If you have created a separate file to exceed the allowed length of 1024 characters for the task source, enter the <list_source> file with a -f switch in the Backup options field. For details, see Using - f (files) option.
    • Files option.jpg
    • If your backups on Linux encounter errors or warnings that are not relevant to the backup, use the following command to avoid such warnings:
    •  -o ignore_finderr=<regex>|ALL

      Before taking this action, make sure that you are aware of the consequences; for details, see: Linux Client backup.

      Bck task options Beefalo V2.png

    Enable pre or post scripts

    You can enable the pre/post backup or restore commands. To use a configurable pre/post interface, you have to activate it first and create your own commands. For details, see Using Pre and Post Scripts.

  9. Switch to the Encryption & Compression tab if you want to set encryption or compress data.
  10. In v. ≥ 4.4.3 Beefalo V2, click the OS Access tab and specify the credentials to access the resources on the target client. If you have already specified the credentials when configuring the client or its location, select an existing credential set from the drop-down list. Otherwise, click New and enter the credentials for the target client.
  11. Use other corresponding tabs to consolidate individual tasks under a specific task group or assign a task to the schedule.
    Information sign.png Note
    As of v. 5.0.0 Jaglion, additional tabs may be displayed depending on the task type of the selected client. For example, for Micro Focus OES or NetWare server backup, you have to specify the login data for the eDirectory and select the appropriate data mover. For more information on specific task types, see the relevant wiki articles under Extensions.
  12. Click OK to create the task.

Step 2: Creating a schedule

SEP sesam schedules represent a framework for automating task execution. Different events, such as backup, migration, replication, restore, etc., can be linked to a schedule and configured to occur at a specified time.

A schedule defines the recurrence of an event and may be executed in minutes, hours, days, months or years. It can be set up to start periodically or to be executed only once. A schedule can be used for any number of events and the events of a particular task (backup, restore, migration, etc.) can be configured in several schedules. All schedules and related jobs are configured and run in the SEP sesam Server's time zone.

Schedules always contain one predefined task: a NEWDAY schedule, which is linked to a NEWDAY event. SEP sesam uses the NEWDAY event to reorder its database, enable uninterrupted activity of the SEP sesam processes and to define a new backup day. Do not deactivate a NEWDAY event or delete a NEWDAY schedule, because this will cause SEP sesam to stop working properly! For details, see NEWDAY event.

SEP sesam provides flexible scheduling features to customize how and when your events are processed. By using the User defined option, you can create a calendar that is customized according to your country- or company-specific requirements. For details, see Creating a Custom Calendar.


To create a schedule, proceed as follows:

  1. From Main Selection -> Scheduling -> Schedules, click New schedule. The New Schedule window appears.
  2. In the Name field, enter the name for the schedule.
  3. By default, the Execution is already enabled. Use this option to disable the schedule. If you select the Execution off option (previously deselect the Execution option), all events that are linked to this schedule will be deactivated. The schedule will still be displayed as shaded in the list of schedules, but the related jobs will not run. You can deactivate a schedule if you want to exclude scheduled jobs to run on specific days, such as holidays. For more details, see Creating a Custom Calendar.
  4. Specify the time range and start time for the schedule in the Start field. Click the arrows in the date field to display a calendar. By default, the current date is already entered. In the next field, specify the start time, e.g., 18.30. All events related to this schedule will be started at the time defined by this parameter. Keep in mind that the actual start time depends on the processor load of the system. At the starting time of the event, every event is forwarded to the queue, where it may have to wait until jobs with higher priorities are completed. For jobs with the same priority, the FIFO rule (first in, first out) applies.
  5. If you want your schedule to be valid for a limited period of time only, e.g., until the end of the year, check the Expiration date option and enter the date of its suspension. The schedule will be deleted after the Expiration date criterion is met. By default, this option is disabled and the schedule will be repeated in perpetuity.
  6. The table provides a selection of different time parameters to configure the time intervals for scheduled jobs. Jobs can occur once or recur daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. You can also use User defined option to create a custom calendar that is customized according to your needs.
    For example, you can schedule a full backup to take place every Friday at 20:00. From the tabs on the left, select one of the following:
    • Once – no repetition, single run (After execution the schedule is deleted!)
    • Daily – repetition in days, hours or minutes
    • Weekly – repetition in weeks or weekdays
    • Monthly – repetition on absolute or relative dates: 1st/2nd... or Mon/Tue...
    • Yearly – repetition on absolute or relative dates
    • User Defined – option for setting up a custom calendar, see Creating a Custom Calendar.
  7. Under Advanced settings you can further refine your schedule.
    • Optionally, select the Start time frame check box if you want to define the maximum allowed startup time for your event. Specify the startup time in days and/or hours. If the event cannot be executed within this specified time frame, it will not be executed at all. If this option is not enabled, the allowed start time of the task is not limited and a job can be started at any time when the resource is available.
    • You can also specify a time frame for repeating the event. Select the Repeat task check box and choose how often (in hours and minutes) the task should be repeated. Use the For a duration of field if you want to specify the duration of the repeated event (days and/or hours).
    • Optionally, you can specify the time frame after which the scheduled event will be cancelled by selecting the Stop task if runs longer than check box and specifying the amount of time (in days and/or hours) following the event's scheduled start time after which the event will be cancelled.

    Creating new schedule Beefalo V2.jpg

  8. Click OK to save the schedule.

Step 3: Creating a backup event

By creating a backup event, you select the backup level, set event priority and specify where to back up your data to. You can create an event for a specific task or for a task group. The latter enables you to trigger all the tasks in the task group with a single event.

  1. From Main Selection -> Scheduling -> Schedules, right-click the schedule for which you want to create a new event then click New Backup Event.
  2. Schedule-bck event.jpg
  3. Under the Sequence control, set up the Priority of your backup event. SEPuler always executes the schedules with the highest priority first. The default priority level is 1, which is the lowest priority (the highest priority is 99). The only exception are schedules with priority 0, which override all other priorities and are always executed. For details, see Setting Event Priorities. You can also enable Blocking date. This option should be used together with high priority for special events. If checked, events of the same type but of a lower priority will be blocked, ensuring that the backup will be processed even if other backups are scheduled for the same time.
  4. Under the Object, select the task or task group to which you want to link this event. In our example, you would link the newly created event to the task diagnostix_C.
  5. Under the Parameter, specify the Backup level.
    A FULL backup always copies all data specified by the backup task, regardless of whether it has been changed or not. A saveset created as FULL is the basic saveset for subsequent DIFF or INC savesets. While the backup time of a full backup can be significant, restore is fast and simple since only one backup saveset is required. Information about the backup status is stored in the SEP sesam database. Note that the archive bits are not deleted on Windows systems. If you want to force-reset of the archive bits, you can enter the command -o clear_archive in the backup options.
    A DIFF (differential) backup saves only data which was created or changed after the last FULL saveset had been created (of the same task). A differential backup is faster than a full backup, however, to restore the whole data source, first the saveset of the full backup has to be restored followed by restore of the DIFF saveset. For this, SEP sesam provides generation restore that enables browsing for and selecting for restore all generations of backed up files since the last full backup.
    An INC (incremental) backup saves only data which was created or changed after the last backup (FULL, DIFF or INC) of the same task. This is the fastest backup method and requires the least storage space. Restoring from incremental backups is the slowest, because it requires all related savesets to be copied back – the saveset of the last full backup as well as all INC backups. You should consider the advantages of time and resources when planning your backup strategy. A combination of FULL backups stored to tape drives, and DIFF or INC backups stored to virtual disk media is a common method.
    A COPY backup is a full backup that has no influence on following differential (DIFF) or incremental (INC) backups. For the treatment of archive bits, see FULL backup above. COPY backup is usually used for additional full backups, e.g., monthly backups, or backups for archiving, i.e. removal from storage.
    Information sign.png Note
    In case no initial FULL backup exists, differential (DIFF) or incremental (INC) backups are automatically performed as FULL backups.
    SEP Tip.png Tip
    Make sure your INC chains do not get too long. You can use the Enforce FULL option for this (see below).

    Note, however, that it is difficult to give a practical recommendation for the recommended length of the INC chain, as it depends heavily on the performance of the system and also on the size of the FULL and INC backups. As a rule, FULL is recommended once a week and at least once a month. Since long backup chains are inefficient and more vulnerable if something goes wrong because the backups in the chain depend on each other, and because they can simply become too long to restore (no more storage available, takes too long), SEP AG strongly recommends setting up regular FULL backups to avoid such problems, and setting the limit to up to 100 incremental backups. For an example of how to implement a backup scheme, see GFS Backup Retention Strategy.

    You can set the Enforce FULL option for DIFF and INC backups. This option ensures that a FULL backup is run within the specified interval. For example, setting the number to 7 will enforce a full backup every seven days instead of an incremental or differential backup if the planned full backup fails. This ensures that a full backup is always performed within the specified time interval, which in our example is once a week. If the value is 0, each time a backup is performed, the system checks whether the last FULL backup was successful or run with warning. If the last FULL backup was terminated or run with error, the INC/DIFF backup to be started is automatically executed as FULL backup. However, once you have decided on your backup schedule, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of enforced full backup frequency, as it is slower than other backup levels and has the highest storage space requirements. For details, see Enforcing Full Backup.
  6. From the Hot/Cold backup drop-down list, select the execution parameter (hot or cold backup).
  7. From the Media pool drop-down list, select the target media pool to which the data will be backed up. If you want to enable source-side deduplication, you have to select the media pool which is combined with an Si3 deduplication store backend.
    • Optionally, specify the drive number of the drive that will be used to write the data. Typically, you use this if you have configured additional drives and you want to assign a dedicated drive exclusively for backup. For details, see option Create second drive (introduced in SEP sesam 4.4.3 Tigon) in Configuring a Data Store.
    • You can also define the Interface: from the drop-down list, select another configured TCP/IP-name of the client. You can use this option to direct the data flow over a particular network connection to enable smooth execution of backups without blocking other network activities.
  8. Optionally, enable SEP Si3 source-side deduplication. This check box is only available if you have a configured Si3 deduplication store and you have previously selected the Si3-related media pool.
  9. In the Follow up field you can configure events that are triggered on the SEP sesam Server once the initial event has completed. You can set up a migration, a saveset verify and other actions to be triggered immediately after a backup or other event is completed. For details, see Follow-up events.
  10. SEP Tip.png Tip
    You can set a follow-up migration task by selecting the task from the Migration task drop-down list.

    New backup event Beefalo V2.jpg

Monitoring backups

You can view the status of your backup jobs in the GUI (Monitoring -> Last Backup State or Job State -> Backups) or SEP sesam Web UI. The backup status overview provides detailed information about the last run of backup jobs, including the task name, start and stop time of the last backup, backup level, data size, throughput, assigned media pool, etc.

SEP Tip.png Tip
To prepare for a possible breakdown of the SEP sesam Server and disaster recovery, you have to perform a self-backup of the SEP sesam by configuring at least one backup task with the name SESAM_BACKUP. For more details, see Preparing for Disaster Recovery.

Known issues

If you have problems with backup, check the Troubleshooting Guide.