I'm running Backup Exec 12.5 on Windows Server 2008 Standard x64. The Server is connected to a Dell Powervault 124T with a SCSI interface and i run backups for the server itself and other jobs that backup other servers across the LAN.

Now backup Exec stores its catalog files under C:\Program Files\Symantec\Backup Exec\Catalogs\Server name, but it also installed SQL Express and created a database called BKUPEXEC.

The catalog directory has grown to a 120GB now and i'm going to have disk space issues with it in a few months at this rate.

Should I back up both the directory and the database? or only one of them? Also, do you recommend a policy on purging the catalog directory?


The database only contains a small subset of the information in the catalogs. You should backup both the catalog and the database as part of your regular backups of the server if you intend to be able to disaster-recover Backup Exec itself. It can be handy to have the catalogs in a disaster recovery scenario if you don't want to have to catalog other medias to find the right tape to restore.

You don't necessarily have to backup the catalogs to tape, but they're handy to have in a disaster scenario. I copy them to other servers in some Customer sites. In others, I just cover them with the regular tape backup. It depends how big they are and what your tape free space / backup window time is like.

An aside on catalogs: You should always keep an offline log of the most recent tape that contains the catalogs so that, in the event of a disaster, you don't have to waste time cataloging tapes in order to find the tape with the catalogs on it to allow you to determine which tapes you need to restore from. Of course, if you're small enough that everything is ending up on a single tape then that's probably all irrelevant. With an autoloader, though, it's easy to not know what tapes are being used for which jobs and, ultimately, you can end up wasting a lot of time in a disaster recovery scenario cataloging tapes just to figure out which tapes you need to use to perform a restore.

I'm concerned that your catalogs have gotten so large. I mean, that's astoundingly large. I'm sitting in front of a box w/ 12 months of daily backup catalogs sitting at under 500MB of total file size.

I wonder if your catalog retention period is set to an exceedingly long period, regular catalog pruning operations aren't taking place, or something has gone crazy. I'd have a look at the catalog settings in the Options menu, under "Settings" and "Catalog", and see what the retention period looks like. Do you see any odd "alerts" re: catalogs?

It's perfectly safe to turn down the retention period but, as joeqwerty says, in the event that you need to lnow what's on a tape that's aged out of the on-disk catalogs you'll have to catalog the tape to see what's on it.


I don't back up either one. I configure the retention of the catalog to meet what I consider to be a reasonable period of time within which I might be expected or requested to restore data, which for me happens to be 180 days. Once the catalogs older than 180 days have been purged it's a simple matter to re-catalog the older media. I don't backup the catalogs because I don't want to deal with the ever increasing size of the catalogs and the space they take up on my media, which is at a premium in my low budget company.

Backing up the catalogs will require more media as the catalogs grow and will add a significant amount of time to the backup jobs as they grow.

If you feel the need to back up the catalogs then my suggestion would be to back them up separately from your normal backups on to an external USB drive.


As Evan alluded to in his answer, there are two reasons that you might want to backup your catalogs and maintain a fairly long retention period:

  1. Recovery of the backup server itself.

  2. The ability to quickly restore data (or an entire server) in a time sensitive/critical situation.

You'll have to weigh which options and settings are best for you and allow you to meet/exceed any specific objectives or requirements (as part of your DRP/BCP/SC).


Aside from the need to retain the data in the database, you also need to configure a maintenance plan of some type on the database. It is possible that the 120GB file size is full of transactional data.

Maintenance Plans

  • 1
    You really don't need to maintain and manage the BE database separately. BE has database maintenence options for this purpose. – joeqwerty Apr 13 '11 at 19:35
  • I'm w/ joeqwerty on this one. Backup Exec handles this itself. – Evan Anderson Apr 13 '11 at 23:19
  • That's cool. I guess I'm just a bit jaded over other products that made no attempt at it. – Justin Apr 14 '11 at 14:52

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