All posts by Eric Bollengier

vchanger release 1.0.0 is out

Vchanger implements the Bacula Autochanger Interface to provide a virtual disk autochanger targeting the use of removable disk drives, such as USB external drives and RDX cartridge systems, as storage media. As compared to Bacula’s native virtual disk autochanger, vchanger has the following advantages:

– May simultaneously use volume files on an unlimited number of different filesystems, any of which may be simultaneously mounted.
– Simultaneously mounted storage space can be easily scaled by adding additional filesystems, requiring no change in Bacula’s configuration
– All volumes on all filesystems have the same Media Type and can be moved between filesystems arbitrarily with no need for updating volume information in the catalog and requiring no configuration changes.
– Filesystems can be specified by UUID, allowing any type of automounting to be used and filesystems to be mounted at arbitrary paths
– All filesystems needed for a restore can be mounted simultaneously, eliminating the need for operator intervention when volumes needed for a restore are spread across multiple filesystems.

Additional features include:

– Udev rule generator and scripts provided to implement automounting via udev
– Automatically issues an ‘update slots’ command via bconsole when needed
– Automatically issues a ‘label barcodes’ command when new volume files are created
– Allows plug-n-play attachment and detachment of removable drives
– Extended command LISTMAGS allows listing assigned filesystems and their status
– Extended command CREATEVOLS allows adding and automatically labeling volume files at any time

Source code, documentation, and RPM packages for RHEL/Centos 6 and 7 are available from SourceForge at http://sourceforge.net/projects/vchanger/files/?source=navbar.

A vchanger HowTo is available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/vchanger/files/vchangerHowto.html/download.


 

Release Notes for vchanger 1.0.0 2015-04-14

Release 1.0.0

This is a major release adding several features and a change in the
structure of magazines and the way volume files are “loaded” into
virtual drives. These changes allow for an unlimited and variable
number of volume files on each magazine, and allow adding and deleting
volumes to/from magazines, as well as moving volume files from one
magazine to another. Virtual drives are now symlinks dynamically
created by the LOAD command. An unlimited number of virtual drives per
autochanger is supported without requiring a vchanger configuration
change. The number of virtual drives used is determined solely by the
Device resources defined in bacula-sd.conf.

Also, vchanger will now automatically issue ‘update slots’ and
‘label barcodes’ commands to Bacula via bconsole when it detects a
change in the availability of any of its defined magazines or when
volume files are created with the CREATEVOLS command. Together with
an automounting mechanism, this makes the attachment and detachment
of removable drives a plug-n-play operation.

To aid in using removable drives on systems having udev, vchanger now
includes a udev rules generator and helper scripts to enable the
automatic mounting of magazine filesystems triggered by udev hotplug
events. The advantage to using this automounting method, as opposed to
autofs or window manager automounters using dbus, etc., is that these
scripts will invoke vchanger with a new REFRESH command that will issue
an ‘update slots’ command via bconsole whenever removable drives
are attached or detached.

Change Summary:

The concept of a ‘magazine’ has changed. A magazine remains a
directory, usually the mountpoint of a filesystem, however no metadata
files are now stored on the magazines and volume files are not renamed
when loading and unloading virtual drives. There is now no requirement
that all magazines have the same number of volumes, and volume files
may have any filename. New volume files can be created on a magazine
at any time. A new extended interface command, CREATEVOLS, has been
implemented for this purpose. A magazine is now simply a filesystem
(or directory) containing some variable number of volume files. Any
directory containing volume files can be used as a magazine in
vchanger, including for example volumes created using Bacula’s
built-in disk storage handling. Volume files may be deleted from
magazines or moved between magazines. The only caveat is that the
volume’s Media Type must match that of the autochanger’s Storage
resource.

Virtual drives are now simply a symlink in the autochanger’s work
directory. The drive number is the name of the symlink. For example,
if the autochanger’s work directory is /var/spool/vchanger/changer1,
then virtual drive 0 is a symlink at the path
/var/spool/vchanger/changer1/0. The symlink’s path is then specified as
the Archive Device in the Device resource defined in bacula-sd.conf for
the autochanger’s drive 0. Vchanger implements the LOAD command by
creating this symlink pointing at the volume file mapped to the slot
requested to be loaded. A subsequent UNLOAD command deletes the
symlink. In previous versions, a LOAD created a symlink pointing to the
mountpoint of the magazine and then renamed the volume file on the
magazine to ‘drive0’, ‘drive1’, etc. This was because the original
design criteria, (dating to before the release of Bacula 2.0.0),
required that vchanger run on Windows Server 2003, which did not have
the capability of file-level symlinks. However, file-level symlinks is
a much more robust method, handling any “out of space” conditions in a
clean, expected way. For that reason, use of vchanger on versions of
Windows without file-level symlinks is no longer supported.

An autochanger’s magazines are assigned in its vchanger configuration
file. An unlimited number of magazines is supported and the storage space used
by an autochanger can be scaled at any time by simply adding additional
magazines and creating volume files on them. Expansion of the storage
space does not require any change to Bacula’s configuration. Any
combination of one or more of the assigned magazines can be attached
(mounted) at any time.

When a magazine is attached or detached there is of course a change in
which volumes are available for reading and writing. Bacula must be
instructed to update its database to reflect the change. This is
analogous to swapping tapes in a tape autochanger library. Bacula has a
bconsole command used for this purpose, the ‘update slots’ command. In
general, one would insert or remove tapes and then issue an ‘update slots’
command in bconsole to inform Bacula of the change. With vchanger,
attaching or detaching a magazine also requires that the ‘update slots’
command be issued, however vchanger now detects changes to the currently
available volume files and automatically issues the ‘update slots’
command when needed. This allows swapping magazines to be a true
plug-n-play operation.

The scripts directory in the vchanger source tree contains a script to
generate the udev rules needed to automatically mount the magazines
filesystems defined in the vchanger configuration file. These rules will
cause udev to launch scripts, also included in the scripts directory, to
handle a “hot add” event by mounting the magazine filesystem and invoking
vchanger with the REFRESH command to issue an ‘update slots’ command to
Bacula. Likewise, a “hot delete” event will launch a script to unmount
the filesystem and again invoke vchanger with the REFRESH command.

If vchanger is compiled on a system supporting udev, then libudev will be
used to determine the device node of magazine partitions specified by
UUID. If compiled on a system without udev, the older method of using
libblkid and libuuid will be used if available. For Windows builds,
win32 API functions are used to map filesystem UUID to device node. If
the getmntent() function is not available on the target system for
determining a filesystem’s mountpoint, then vchanger will use the
getfsstat() function, allowing magazines to be specified by UUID on many
BSD and OSX systems. A build for a minimal system having neither libudev
nor libblkid will succeed, however specifying magazines by UUID will not
function and result in an error, meaning that such minimal systems must
only specify magazines by directory path. These changes should alleviate
many of the problems people have had in the past building vchanger for
non-Linux systems.

Bugs Fixed:
5 Compile errors on Debian or Ubuntu
6 Broken libblkid returns wrong device for UUID
7 Limitation on number of virtual drives
8 Compile errors under Solaris 10

 

Training Session Admin I 28th, 29th and 30th of October 2014

Please be informed that Bacula Systems is organizing its next Admin I training session 28th, 29th and 30th of October, in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland.

The Administrator I Training Course is designed to help new or existing administrators of Bacula acquire the knowledge they need to install, configure and operate the solution in a production environment quickly and effectively.

This high-quality training course is held under the personal guidance of Kern Sibbald, leader of the Bacula Project. After completing the course, you will be able to perform the following tasks:

  •     Obtain the Bacula code (version 7.0)
  •     Build, install and configure Bacula on your own system
  •     Design and run a backup scheme
  •     Configure backup jobs for disks and auto-changers
  •     Diagnose and debug problems
  •     Learn to monitor day-to-day operations
  •     Set up and perform restore operations

All Bacula community users are eligible for a discount!

For more information, please visit: http://www.baculasystems.com/bacula-administrator-i-training-course
To register, please visit: http://www.baculasystems.com/contactus

Thank you