First off I admit that I might not fully know what I am talking about and any clarification to my question you can provide would be helpful.

My understanding is that Symantec Backup Exec stores information about the tape backups that it is performing inside of a database. If backup exec and that database lived on the same server and that server was destroyed due to a flood so that nothing was recoverable from it but the tapes themselves were recovered intact, would you still be able to restore the data from the tape backups without getting that database back?

If so what would you have to do to recover this data?

  • You might also want to consider trying to restore from those backup tapes. If you don't test that every now and then, how do you actually know your backups are doing you any good? Don't try restoring to the live system, of course - just keep in mind that testing your backups should be an important part of every backup strategy. – George Aug 8 '10 at 14:22

You should be able to build a new server with Backup Exec and import the tape. The import populates the new database with what was backed up, allowing you to then recover content.

If the database is selected in your backup process, you should also then be able to recover the database in its entirety, including the historical data.


The backups can be restored. Backup Exec backs up the database it uses by default. It takes a LOT longer when it has to restore this way, but it's doable.


As Toby mentioned, you can rebuild lost catalog data. This is how we had to do restores when the data being restored was more than a month back. We had to load the tapes (our offline process tracked which tapes held which server's backup data) and then do a recatalog. Recatalogging can take a very long time though, so be prepared for it.

  • How long would it take for example for a 250 gb database backup to recatalog so that you could start restoring it? – Chris Magnuson Aug 3 '10 at 15:30
  • It will almost double the time it takes to read the data off tape, since you are essentially doing it twice. – Doug Luxem Aug 3 '10 at 15:32
  • 1
    It depends on how big the tapes are and what kind they are. Our SDLT320 tapes took HOURS to recatalog. Our LTO4 tapes, much larger, go a lot faster. – sysadmin1138 Aug 3 '10 at 16:08

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