Selectively removing data from a backup tape

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Tags:
Backup and Recovery
DataCenter
Storage
Is there any method available to remove selected data from a backup tape without erasing the tape? I have several tapes with numerous backup sets on them and need to remove selected data from each backup set while maintaining the remainder of data in each backup set. The need arrives from data existing in the backup that was involved in a legal matter. The judge has ordered that all data concering the case be destroyed. Had we known this on the front-end, this data could have been placed on separate media. I could take the backups, restore each set, remove the designated data, then backup the data again, but this will be an extremely time-consuming process.

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What tape backup software are you using.

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  • GlennA
    What tape backup software are you using.
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  • scottbr
    We are using Veritas Backup Exec 10. Veritas says it cannot be done, but I was wondering if there were any third party solutions.
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  • GlennA
    Exabyte says it can. I do not know if there are any third party solutions.
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  • ItDefPat1
    Generally speaking, I've never heard of that capability in any vendor. If Exabyte says so, then maybe. Be sure it is media independant - will it work if using media created by something else? The whole problem with tape is that it is linear access. tape has never been random access like a hard drive. which is why I wonder about this. In the long run, you will probably have to restore & destroy like you said. My first concern was why? But you said it was by legal authority, so that is the answer. I would wonder if the judge knew the technological ramifications, since judges don't always understand our technology. If the content is somehow illegal or illicit, then you might have your own legal problems by doing a restore-and-destroy. Seek technologically and legally competent (judge, lawyers and law enforcement) advise on this.
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  • mnman66
    Well, you said it yourself, you have multiple tapes, with multiple sets. I can't think of any vendor that can take that and produce what you want. Personally, I would try and find a place where you can restore everything, minus the legal documents, creating different directory structure to keep each set separate. Then backup to 1 tape. You'd be extracting the data you want to keep and getting rid of multiple tapes at the same time. I guess if you don't have room for all at once, I'd still try and cut down on tapes. It's going to be a long process any way you slice it.
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