Technical Overview of NetBackup Flex Scale – Resilient, Simple to Scale-Out, and Easy to Operate

Protection February 09, 2021

As a market leader in data protection, Veritas understands that organizations have a wide range of requirements that drives the need for data protection with flexible deployment options. NetBackup provides these organizations a way to standardize data protection across their entire enterprise with a single platform.

NetBackup Flex Scale is Veritas’ newest deployment option, architected to allow organizations to easily scale-out their NetBackup storage capacity and performance as needed.    

What does it mean to easily scale-out NetBackup?  How about being able to increase your capacity and performance without having to make manual changes such as adding services, changing your backup policies, or changing your client configuration!  Read on for more details on how we have simplified scale-out with an architecture designed from the ground up specifically for high-performance data protection.

Simplified Operations

NetBackup Flex Scale was designed with a focus on simplifying operations, reducing operational risk and overall management costs. There are many automated processes built into NetBackup Flex Scale. Some examples include:

  • Managing NetBackup services. NetBackup Flex Scale provides a single scalable cluster-wide NetBackup service to administrators. There is no need to monitor or manage individual components such as media or storage services.
  • Integrated intelligent load balancing. NetBackup Flex Scale includes a built-in intelligent load balancer that ensures backup and recovery jobs are distributed in a fashion to provide the optimal distribution across the cluster
  • Cluster scaling. Properly scaling a data protection solution requires more than simply adding capacity. That is why NetBackup Flex Scale includes an automated process that not only easily scales the backup data storage capacity (dedupe storage pool) but also automatically increases the metadata (catalog) storage capacity and NetBackup performance as well as increasing overall data durability. New nodes are automatically used by the intelligent load balancer, no need to make changes to the clients or policies. 
  • Technology refreshes are easily managed using an automated process that replaces the data and configuration from an existing node with a new/replacement node without the need to manually perform catalog or master server migration operations.
  • The initial configuration has an automated process that installs and configures the nodes, network, cluster, and NetBackup software in a highly resilient configuration.

How much do we scale?

The NetBackup Flex Scale architecture is designed for nearly unlimited scalability. The minimum configuration is 4 nodes with a total of 448 TB of usable capacity. Currently, we have tested and support scaling up to 16 nodes totaling 1.8 PB of usable space within a single domain on local storage with the option to add additional capacity using public cloud-based storage services. NetBackup’s advanced deduplication engine ensures that space is highly optimized as data is sent to both local and cloud storage.

You can scale by adding nodes either individually or in groups.

Architectural Overview

The architecture is designed from the ground up with a focus on scalable and high-performance data protection.

It installs on Veritas validated platforms that ensure the optimal performance and resiliency of the cluster.

NetBackup Flex Scale Software Platform:

The nodes are configured with NetBackup Flex Scale which includes:

  • hardened secure Linux OS with applicable drivers
  • configuration logic
  • storage networking
  • clustered file systems
  • API and Web-based management software
  • AutoSupport framework including call-home, alert management
  • component and software monitoring

This layer ensures the foundation is secure and optimized for data protection and enterprise management.

Scale-out Dedupe Storage:

The scale-out dedupe storage uses NetBackup’s advanced data deduplication engine to provide several key benefits;

  • optimized storage capacity
  • reduced network bandwidth
  • shorter backup times
  • faster data recovery at scale for backups stored locally and directly in the cloud

Containerized NetBackup Services:

The NetBackup services are containerized and managed by the cluster software. This allows for:

  • simplified operations
  • optimized usage of cluster resources
  • fast and easy-rolling upgrades
  • automated failovers
  • seamless scalability
  • high availability

Intelligent Load Balancing:

The NetBackup Flex Scale solution includes an intelligent load balancer that is responsible for intelligently balancing operations across all the nodes in the cluster.  In order to determine optimal job placement, it evaluates several factors including:

  • which container wrote the last backup
  • container status
  • each nodes’
    • % busy
    • # active jobs available resources

This provides much better performance than a simple round-robin approach that can result in unequal load distribution.


NetBackup Flex Scale’s containerized architecture provides a unique approach to hyperconverged data protection that was designed with a focus on operational simplicity, scale, and resiliency that expands upon NetBackup’s industry-leading enterprise data protection features and capabilities.

For more information check out this NetBackup Flex Scale white paper or visit the Appliance Solutions page on

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