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Use Excel 2013 Flash Fill for Repetitive Tasks

Question asked by Steve Galbincea on Jul 23, 2014

Recently we changed out retention policy on our DataDomain backup systems to free up some space. Unfortunately, the process for deleting the EMC Networker backup sets, called "Save Sets" involves a very tedious command line string - and you have to delete them one at a time. Using Excel 2013, I was able to dump out a column of Save Set IDs that needed to be deleted, and using Flash Fill from Excel 2013 I was able to create a batch file to do the heavy lifting for me.

 

Here is an example:

 

1. The command to delete a single save set and its clone is "nsrmm -dy -S <SaveSetID>/<CloneID>"

2. I export a list of Save Set IDs and associated Clone IDs from Networker into a two column Excel 2013 sheet

3. In the third column, I paste in the command "nsrmm -dy -S" all the way down

4. In the fourth column, I type out the completed command, including the SaveSetID and CloneID from the first two columns of that row (e.g. nsrmm -dy -S 1979008759/1375030088)

5. Now, the magic: when I start typing the complete command in the second row, Excel figures out what I am doing and fills the rest of the rows in the fourth column with the correct commands!

6. From there, save as a batch file and run!

 

This method was used to prune over 5000 save sets from our DataDomain, I don't want to think about how long that would have taken any other way. It can be used for many tasks where a more complex for loop might not be the best solution compared to a simple, repeatable batch file.

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