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Malcolm McLeary

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About Malcolm McLeary

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  1. Malcolm McLeary

    iOS App Compatibility with Retrospect v17

    David, Thanks for the feedback. I have logged a Support Case ... would like to provide the Case No but nothing gets listed in my Portal even though I get an acknowledgement email and a link (which just gets me to the login screen). Shouldn't really discuss competing products, however I use Hyper Backup to backup the Synology itself. The product I haven't mentioned is "Active Backup for Business" ... https://www.synology.com/en-au/dsm/feature/active_backup_business If a Drobo NAS was to have Retrospect integrated, then I'd see this as a product the marketing boys would want to benchmark against. I'm actively looking at Retrospect again because it does have advantages over the competition. Its just unfortunate that some capabilities I'd like to be able to leverage are incomplete. The iOS App for example would give local staff visibility of status without having to physically access the backup server. Similarly with the Retrospect Management Console as its also at arms length of the backup server. It would be nice for both to have "read only" access just for monitoring. The FileMaker Server 19 for Linux Developer Preview does have the advantage in that its been running on CentOS at AWS for several years so the base is solid, its just that now they have made it available for on premise installation there are lots of new variables to be concerned about and there are some differences between the Cloud option and on premise so capabilities are being added such that it is feature equivalent to the MacOS/Windows versions. Hardware is probably the biggest variable, I'm testing various VMs which are themselves hosted on various NAS platforms including Synology and FreeNAS, while others are going down the Docker path. Many new deployments to the previous AWS only. Although Claris is owned by Apple they are a separate business unit and expected to perform as if independent. To a degree Claris (aka FileMaker) is similar to Retrospect in that both started doing a Mac only product then diversified as the Windows market was bigger. A big difference is that FileMaker for Windows looks and behaves the same as FileMaker for MacOS. There are some platform specific differences, but by and large they are the same product. Claris at one stage managed many products but then became FileMaker Inc with only 1 product. Recently reborn as Claris (again) with the opportunity to expand the product portfolio. Occasionally Apple tosses them a curve ball like "Claris Connect" where the parent bought a capability and assigned it to Claris to make it work. Claris Connect is not about FileMaker its about connecting a diverse range of apps via APIs. Where Retrospect can with some effort talk to Slack, Claris Connect promises to make this much easier to do and not be limited to just Slack ... basically anything in the ecosystem. Currently my biggest issue is cost and the fact that it relies on US Hosts. No doubt Retrospect has staffing challenges with respect to dev/test, which is why I believe they are making it harder than it needs to be by supporting legacy platforms. Ok ... they can't drop support completely, but I think the client is where legacy support should be focused. Customers don't have to upgrade their entire fleet of workstations/servers if they don't want to, they just need to maintain the "backup server" if they want to run the latest release and in return Retrospect just need to focus on Retrospect for Windows working on currently supported OSes (which in turn only runs on supported hardware) and legacy support is available by ensuring the various platform clients work with the current version of Retrospect. Just looked at the 3 Windows 10 "backup servers" I'm working with and they are all Windows 10 Release 1909. All three are fully patched and say they are waiting for 2004. I don't run Retrospect on any Windows Server machines directly. They are also fully patched and all running 2019. Don't have any Vista/7/8 machines at all. I'd have to create a VM to test that and I don't have any motivation to go there.
  2. Malcolm McLeary

    iOS App Compatibility with Retrospect v17

    The Web Hooks documentation may be what I'm looking for with respect to API documentation. https://github.com/retrospectinc/datahooks but it refers to v15 ... is it still supported in v17 (and beyond)? If the iOS App leverages web hooks in order to do its thing, the the answer is probably Yes for MacOS but No for Windows.
  3. Is there a definitive statement of the compatibility of Retrospect for iOS? All the information I have found is quite dated. Appears to be working with v17 for MacOS but currently not working with v17 for Windows, although it did for a couple of connections but now just “Connecting …”. Same thing on my iPad. Have tried with both a local server and an offsite server ... appropriate firewall rules have been implemented. Perhaps its confused that I’ve asked it to talk to 1 x MacOS backup server and 2 x Windows backup servers concurrently. The UI supports adding multiple servers so I expected this to work. Also, are the details of the API the iOS App uses documented somewhere? Is it https based but using port 22024? If it is a standard http based API I’d like to build my own “Management Console” with FileMaker (as the existing Retrospect Management Console is less than satisfactory). I could then have my server "checkin" with various backup servers and present consolidated stats reports. Wait … I have an old copy of v16.6 Solo running on a Microsoft Surface … it works with the iOS App! Does this mean Retrospect broke v17 for Windows. Scratch that ... v16.6 for Windows is unreliable as well ... works once, but then gets listed in Pending as "Connecting ..." but doesn't ... even after a reboot.
  4. Malcolm McLeary

    Retrospect Management Console

    David, I'd answer "No" and "Probably not, but one can hope" to your questions. It has potential, but Retrospect Management Console doesn't really work. It should only be available for testing ... a Limited Preview. I'm currently trialing a Developer Preview of FMS 19 for Linux and so far I can't break it. Its as stable as the release versions for MacOS and Windows ... feature for feature its the same product (accepting a few capabilities yet to be implemented) running on a different OS. IMHO Retrospect need to do same. Not only leverage common code, but also the exact same UI and workflows. Deploy the client as appropriate and run the server on what is most appropriate for the environment. The experience should be the same. I'd be interested in what they do with a Drobo NAS. I've used a Drobo for personal storage for years but only a direct connect version. Yes, the Windows market is bigger but unfortunately the users are generally comfortable with using slapped together, poor quality software ... its simply consistent with the OS. It doesn't have to work ... it just has to sell. I gave EMC a chance when they took over Dantz Development Corp. but it was apparent to me that they were a Windows company and product quality was going to suffer so I moved on. Perhaps I should forget about this little misadventure back to Retrospect and stick with Synology based options.
  5. Malcolm McLeary

    Retrospect Management Console

    Well isn't that interesting, accessing the Retrospect Management Console with Chrome (for MacOS) displays the missing dates, but they don't show when same is viewed with Safari (for MacOS). Similarly my missing dates appear in Microsoft Edge (Chromium Edition) on Windows. I would have thought that a Mac first, Windows second company would ensure that web interfaces work with the default MacOS browser or at least have a popup which says that some features are only supported if using Chrome. Goes a long way to explaining why the Retrospect Management Console renders poorly on an iPhone. As far as deployment goes, it would be better to have options for Retrospect Management Console ... cloud, independent host, or localhost. The standard web interface should adapt to screen size of the connected browser so as to make the user experience appropriate for the device but for an even better experience the iOS app would use it as a single backend for all the managed servers rather than having to connect to each independently (and possibly open additional holes in firewalls). Goes without saying that the Retrospect Management Console should support/require 2FA.
  6. Malcolm McLeary

    Retrospect Management Console

    Its not relevant what you believe the Retrospect Management Console was intended for as its clearly available and promoted on the website. There is no indication that its for "Parters" or US Residents ONLY. I have a reasonable expectation that available products will simply work. Retrospect Management Console appeals to me because it will remove the need to VPN into multiple sites just to confirm backup status or monitor completion emails. Similarly I use Zabbix to monitor the status of critical systems/services and Unifi/UNMS to monitor/manage network infrastructure across multiple sites. In the case of Zabbix I run a host on my premise, UNMS is a cloud service and Unifi runs on dedicated devices (some on client sites, some sites on my multi-site host). The VoIP solutions I deploy all utilise a cloud based PBX which has a web based Management Console. Most of my FileMaker clients have on-premise servers, but FileMaker does have an AWS based option with v2 planned to provide a Partner Console where we can manage multiple clients via s single console. Performing on premise backups still has a role to play as not everything can or should be hosted in the cloud. This doesn't mean I should be limited to local monitoring/management as Costinel has suggested.
  7. Malcolm McLeary

    Retrospect Management Console

    I've just bought a couple of licences and hence I'm using v17.0.2.102. I used Retrospect seriously on both Mac and Windows up to v7.5 then lost faith when it looked likely that EMC would kill the product. I called APAC Tech Support this morning but got some message about only being open during Business Hours CET. I've now realised what that means for AEST so in fact I called 45min before they were "open for business" and now they are closed. I have filled in a Tech Support Request, essentially a copy and paste of my posts above, but I think the system is broken. I received an acknowledgement email with a link to the Case, but it does not work. I've logged into my Portal but it says I have no Cases open. I created a new Ticket from that interface and received another acknowledgement email, but still no indication of an Open Case. I have subsequently received a response from support@retrospect.com requesting screenshots.
  8. Malcolm McLeary

    Odd problem creating Disaster Recovery Disk

    In the past I've never gotten this to work well at all, but things may have gotten better. In a corporate environment we don't backup Windows laptops/desktops at all. For every model being used we prepare an imaging USB such that if there are issues with a machine requiring a restore we just re-image it to "factory", let SCCM deploy the application suite and then let the user login. All corporate data is on various shares and user's homes (i.e. personal data, configurations, etc) are "networked" so its accessible from any machine one authenticates on. Laptops will sync "homes" to the local drive such that any offline changes will be synced back to the server when next on the LAN. Home drive quotas are enforced to reduce sync time and discourage storing personal stuff on corporate servers. If appropriate Onedrive is encouraged for storing large amounts of personal data. Backup is all about the server farm and being able to quickly and reliably restore data to shares or replace failed VMs. In a small business environment we try to achieve similar by focusing data on servers or cloud services and just replace or rebuild user devices as necessary. If user accounts are local to the "personal" machine we will leverage client-server backup strategies but don't stress about a DRD apart from having something which can put the OS back, then put the core applications back, the backup client, the user account and finally user data. Small businesses tend not to buy desktops/laptops in batches so its generally not possible to have a common imaging USB and SCCM is rarely available. In general we have found that the time invested building and testing a specific DRD simply isn't worth it. Personal/Home machines ... that may be a different issue as you may have more motivation to have a DRD to recover your machine should it crash and burn. None the less, I've not had much success making it work when actually needed. I have wasted many hours trying to get it to work only to find that it would have been faster to just do a fresh install. The Windows 10 provided "Recovery" partition sort of encourages this strategy by restoring Windows and leaving your "personal" data in place, but that isn't going to work if the disk is dead. I recommend taking a similar/simplistic approach and focus on storing your data on reliable network storage or in the cloud, having a backup strategy for stuff on your machine, archiving your application installers so apps can be reinstalled and build a generic Windows 10 installer USB rather than a purpose built DRD. Its not just the Retrospect DRD, I've had issues with every alternative solution I've tried. For me the issue always stems from dissimilar hardware. Well may it be the same machine but in these situations its the HD or SSD which has needed replacement. All works when you restore to the original "disk" but minor changes like disk manufacturer or a 250G SSD rather than a 256G SSD tends to kill the restoration even before you get to "restore" the backup and you won't know this until you actually need to do it. Then you want to make it work, because you invested the time building the DRD in the first place and waste more time. I focus on my backup strategy and being comfortable with "typical" restores, then if/when disaster strikes a Windows box I just download the latest Windows 10 media from Microsoft and install from scratch, then move forward with apps, backup client and restore user data. Never encountered problems doing a clean install with standard install media.
  9. Malcolm McLeary

    Retrospect Management Console

    Seems that it takes an "over night" before any data appears, but its not very current. At least I now know my machines are actually talking to the Management Console. I've just scheduled a run once backup for now + 10min and although it ran no details have appeared in the console ... it still says the last backup was 19 hrs ago. Past Activities "may" list the backup activity but its hard to say as it doesn't show any dates. Backup Sets doesn't show any dates either so I can't see which was used when. What time zone does Retrospect Management Console work in? Is it a bit confused because my backup servers are running in +10 and its not dealing with "future" timestamps?
  10. Malcolm McLeary

    Proactive Backups and Background Running

    My bad ... "office" is such a generic term which can mean anything from a Govt Department to a desk in the corner of the family room. You can also set a bios password on the machine and change the boot priority such that USB is perhaps not available but the point remains ... auto login to the "Desktop Experience" is a major minus for Retrospect for Windows as it effectively undermines all other security if physical access is gained. In the past I've had potential clients refuse to consider the product on that fact alone. After a while I moved on. I think part of the problem is documented here ... https://www.retrospect.com/en/support/kb/system_requirements_win17 The time to cut away legacy support has long passed ... move on. The list of supported Window OSes should be limited to Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 and 2019. How much engineering effort is being wasted on limiting functionality/capability because it has to run on Vista, etc? Perhaps its a marketing thing ... need to have a bigger list of supported systems than the competition, but really ... who is the product being marketed to? New installations or at consumers who don't want to upgrade anyway? Not seen a new installation of Microsoft Windows SBS 2003 in a really long time. Yes I had one of them ... it even had a DVD Writer and a builtin VXA tape drive as target devices but both were replaced with removable 3.5" HDs. That system is long gone to ewaste. If support for legacy systems is required then put the effort into providing a suitable client such that customers can backup these legacy systems if they need to, but the "Backup Server" must be on a current OS. If a customer is still running Vista or Server 2003 and expects to be able to run Retrospect, then let them run the version which supported their OS. If the customer doesn't want to move on to a current OS then why should they expect to leverage features of the latest version of Retrospect? I'm presently getting my iMac replaced because it can't run Mojave (let alone Catalina or Big Sur) as Claris FileMaker 19 requires Mojave or later ... so out with the old and in with the new. FileMaker Server 19 for Windows now requires Windows Server 2016 or 2019, so Windows Server 2012 is now dead to me (although I do have a Govt client still using Windows Server 2008 and FileMaker 14). FileMaker Server 19 for MacOS similarly requires Mojave (hence the spare Mac mini as its stuck on FMS 18 on High Sierra). FileMaker Server used to support clients plus/minus 2 version but this is now moving to plus/minus 1 version and iOS clients must be running iOS 13 or later. FileMaker 19 is likely to be the last annual release as Claris is moving to a rolling quarterly release cycle of whatever new features/capabilities are ready. Licensing has been annual subscription for ages. In the past perpetual licences made it too easy to be left behind and this created support issues. Coincidently I had a client of 2004 call me last night as due to COVID he'd not used the app this year and had forgotten how to do something. Sorted the issue by referring to the documentation, but over the years he has been buying old Palm Pilots on eBay just to keep his system operational. Been using it almost daily since 2004 and it works for him so he has no motivation to change even though its unsupported. I'm pleased that a 16 year old custom development is still working but would have liked the opportunity to migrate him to an iPhone or iPad a long time ago. Would have saved him sourcing Palms and maintaining a legacy PC in his office just to sync data and process it. Things have changed since Vista ... its not my area of expertise but I suspect the road blocks which force Retrospect for Windows to require a "Desktop Experience" are legacy issues. Cut the list of supported OSes to only current OSes and the path may be clear to remove this limitation.
  11. Malcolm McLeary

    Retrospect Management Console

    I've just setup Retrospect Management Console and on the surface it looks pretty promising, however it doesn't appear to be updating. Presently I have 2 Windows Backup Servers on 2 different sites and have added both to the new Console but only 1 has uploaded any data and although backups have subsequently run the details have not appeared. The 2nd Backup Server says it has contacted Retrospect Management Console but the Console hasn't acknowledged this. How often does the Backup Server contact Retrospect Management Console? I read it was supposed to be at least hourly when idle and ever minute when actively performing backups. Does this work with existing servers or is it necessary to download the "installer" from Retrospect Management Console? Is there a plan for this to run on premise? On a VM hosted on ESXi, FreeNAS, Synology or QNAP?
  12. Malcolm McLeary

    Proactive Backups and Background Running

    Hmmm ... I didn't provide details ... just that I'm using a HP Microserver. It lives in the server room with 2 others, a Synology NAS a FreeNAS host, 3 Mac minis, a Lenovo (with the same form factor), a Shuttle (with the same form factor) and a NUC running Zabbix. All are headless and none of which require physical access to manage on a day to day basis. The user desktops are in an open plan office. The Mac mini "size" machines all run FileMaker Server, be it on MacOS, Windows Server 2019, or CentOS. Just saying that the Retrospect for Windows box is the only one which requires a "Desktop Experience" in order to do its job.
  13. Malcolm McLeary

    Proactive Backups and Background Running

    DavidHertzberg, Yes I followed your links and read the referenced material. Thanks for the recap. Nigel Smith, Its nice to be able to simply have services resume after a restart. Deploying updates either manually or have Microsoft do it, either way you have to login and start Retrospect. Same goes if the UPS shuts down the host ... when it comes back online you just want it to work. Sure you can set the machine to auto login and set Retrospect as a startup item but its not best practice to have machines auto logon. It depends on what you mean by "properly secured" ... for me, anything which does an auto login to a desktop environment is not "properly secured" its "insecure" by definition ... its like leaving the logon details on a note stuck to the screen. Having the machine in a locked room helps, but anyone with physical access could arrange for the machine to restart and then gain access to it as it would auto login and present the desktop. In my Office, Retrospect is installed on a HP Microserver which is headless. I control it via RDC and leave it running with a locked "desktop". Just saying that this configuration is not best practice ... just necessary given the application's design. Yes its been a long time since I seriously used Retrospect, and at the time I really thought it was best of breed. Been reading all the referenced material in order to catch up on whats happened and it appears that lots of history has occurred, but at the same time core features have not progressed at all. I've been using a Synology for backups ... its headless by nature and all administration is via a web interface. It has apps which can backup entire desktops, fileserver shares, etc, however I'm looking for a better way to backup FileMaker Server be it for MacOS, Windows or Linux. Based on previous experience I'm of the opinion that the Retrospect client is the most elegant solution and it will allow me to have a platform agnostic backup strategy. Presently I'm prepare to live with Retrospect for Window's need for a "Desktop Experience" as MacOS is more valuable to me for doing real work. Mind you I do have an old Mac mini which is stuck at High Sierra and no longer of much use so perhaps it and its attached Drobo could be repurposed.
  14. Malcolm McLeary

    Proactive Backups and Background Running

    To be honest I've only just returned to using Retrospect ... long time user of the Dantz product but lost faith when EMC bought the product. Was hoping that there would have been some improvements in the Windows UI but it seems to be exactly as I remember it from v7.5 ... how sad. I was hoping that Proactive backups would be a faceless background service but you are telling me its still yet to be implemented? I'm sure the MacOS version is pretty and powerful but for backup I don't see the point of wasting a Mac on such a "service" when a Windows box will do. I feel the same about running FileMaker Server which is my main requirement for backups. Now that Claris are once again coming out with a Linux version of FMS (been nearly 10 years) I'm keen to get off Server 2019 and onto CentOS for hosting FileMaker on premise. Similarly it would be very nice if a Retrospect Backup Server could be built on CentOS, or perhaps on a Synology, QNAP or FreeNAS box.
  15. Malcolm McLeary

    Proactive Backups and Background Running

    I'd like this as well. I use a Windows 10 box to run Retrospect and I don't want to have to have a desktop session running all the time. I only want to logon when I need to change something. You can't just minimise Retrospect and then logout as that effectively Quits the app. My machine is headless and I interact with it via RDC. I'd like to be able to leverage Proactive but I expected Retrospect to its thing as a faceless background service and not require an interactive desktop session.
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