Today is a good day.
For well over a year, I've been trying to figure out how to script my tape backups precisely the way I want them to run.
I'm using Win2k3 and its documentation is really shoddy. I've known in my heart that what I wanted to do could be done, but I've never been able to figure out the exact magical incantation necessary to achieve it. I have spent hours trawling the web on various idle week nights over the past year trying to figure out how to do this. I've even posted my question to various forums and been unable to get an answer. This evening I found the undocumented feature that I was after.
Specifically, the /um command-line switch for ntbackup.
Not knowing of the /um switch has basically meant that when I wanted to do a tape backup I had to open removable storage, deallocate and free media, then run a particular batch file manually. (I also discovered the rsm command this evening, not that I need to know anything about that now).
The /um switch does everything that I want. Namely: fuck off, do what you're told, and leave me alone.
On the one hand I'm really pleased that I've figured this out, because now after over a year of pain, I can finally just schedule tape backups that I don't have to worry about (because I can just get someone to switch tapes for me periodically). On the other hand I'm really pissed off that it took so long for me to discover this switch. I have no idea why it has been removed from the ntbackup documentation on Win2k3 server. Since my Win2k3 server is the only server I've ever operated with a tape drive, I've never had cause to look in the doco for ntbackup on Win2k. Although I did that just now, and there it is. It still works on Win2k3.
Finds the first available media, formats it, and uses it for the current backup operation. You must use the /P switch to designate a device-type media pool when you use the /UM switch so that Backup searches for the appropriate type of media (for example, 4mm DDS). When you use the /UM switch, Backup will search the following media pools for available media: Free pool, Import pool, Unrecognized pool, and Backup pool. When available media is found, the search will stop and the media will be formatted and used without prompting you for input. This command is not applicable to tape loaders and should only be used if you have a stand-alone tape device.