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Use this topic area to post your Retrospect product suggestions and feature requests. This area is reviewed by the EMC Insignia product management team and engineering to gather direct customer feedback for future versions of Retrospect.

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It would be nice if Retrospect could somehow differentiate between a client connected via a local vpn connection and a connection when on the road. Or alternatively have some easy way to easily take the client offline and bring it back online. I know that there is a on/off in the client options but there is no good visual indication to remind you that you are offline that I know of.

 

In our operations here, our wireless is the main way Notebooks connect to our office network. For security reasons the wireless does not get you into our internal network and VPN has to be used to actually connect.

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Quote:

It would be nice if Retrospect could somehow differentiate between a client connected via a local vpn connection and a connection when on the road. Or alternatively have some easy way to easily take the client offline and bring it back online. I know that there is a on/off in the client options but there is no good visual indication to remind you that you are offline that I know of.

 


It's not quite clear what you are asking here, but if it is to hide clients that are connected when on the road, it would seem that this could be done at your perimeter firewall appliance by blocking port 497 traffic to/from connections from on the road. I have our SonicWALL assign specific IP addresses to clients that VPN from remote locations (so that we can log the client accesses and can access them by DNS name when they are connected), and it would be a simple matter to block port 497 traffic to/from those VPN clients when they connect from remote locations.

 

If port 497 is blocked, then Retrospect is deaf to those clients, and they are deaf to Retrospect. Does that work?

 

Russ

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Dear Insignia Support,

 

We've used Retrospect for years, and are currently on Windows 7.0. In all that time, we've never found a satisfying way to rotate USB drives for automated on-site/off-site backups. Even though you've written a White Paper touting it as a feature, fact is that it can only be done using MAJOR workarounds, such as creating *duplicate* schedules and scripts, and then setting No-Media-Timeout to a low value, with the result that you have to do everything twice, and you can't use email notification of errors, because you're intentionally generating media errors in order to work around your inability to simply swap backup drives.

 

Other workarounds include creating multiple backup sets, and then editing all scripts immediately after swapping the backup drive to use the backup set located on the swapped drive.

 

Quite frankly, all of this stinks, and I think it's a bummer that you've made it to version 7.5 without catering to one of the most popular backup workflows.

 

The reason we've managed to use just single-drive backup for years is that we never had a problem -- until we had a major multi-machine crash, and decided we had to take off-site backup more seriously.

 

Here is what I propose:

 

You have to make it way, WAY easier to swap drives. Hard disks are a dime a dozen, and it's reasonable to expect that users will easily have 3 x 500 GB drives, which will EACH be able to hold their entire office backups.

 

I propose that you make it so that you simply add each drive as a member to each Backup Set, so that each office Backup Set might have 2 or 3 members, each of the 500 GB disks.

 

Then you allow an option to first of all 'Use First Available Disk Member'. When enabled, Retrospect will simply go through the members and start working on the first on that is mounted.

 

Next, you create an option to 'Recycle Returning Disk Member', so that the first backup run on a returning member is ALWAYS a Recycle backup. This is because the return member might have been sitting in the bank vault or at somebody's house for 2 months, and is no longer current.

 

With these two options, you can with minimal configuration and zero runtime effort simply unplug one drive, plug in another of your rotation drives, and take the drive you just unplugged to a safe place. There is no need for any user-interaction WHATSOEVER.

 

Remember, it's only when backup is uncomplicated that people actually do it. The current design is in my opinion so complicated, and so poorly designed, that it has taken me two years to pull myself together to once again investigate if their possibly could be a way you can do this. It appears that there isn't unless you're willing to do some major workarounds, to bend Retrospect into a behavior that was never intended. But it truly ought to be part of Retrospect's design, and I beg you to implement this.

 

Best,

 

Per

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It occurred to me that you could incorporate these two Preferences into a single new backup type called Rotate Backup (in addition to Normal, Recycle, etc. etc.). The Rotate Backup method would simply use the first member that is currently mounted, and it will force a Recycle any time that member is a different member than the last one used for backup (meaning the disk has been rotated). After the initial Recycle, it will do Normal the rest of the way.

 

I strongly believe you should do this. While Retrospect caters perfectly to the Tape market and the stationary backup disk market, you really ought to be just as accomodating for people who want to rotate two or three drives with an off-site location. That's a lot of people, and there's no reason to shut out this market and at the same time support Tape so well, which is slowly becoming an archaic technology, compared to the cost per gigabyte of hard drives.

 

Best,

 

Per

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And if you make a setting for Rotate Backup to "Recycle every N backups" in addition to the features mentioned above, you could literally just swap drives whenever you feel like and everything is completely and utterly automatic. I think there's an enormous need for this design. Retrospect needs to get out of the Tape mindset, as hard disk, and removable hard disks are the future in my opinion. It should be this easy to swap backup drives.

 

Best,

 

Per

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While that is a great function, many of us with large backups can not swap to a single disk. Nor would it be cost effective.

 

750gb drive is 330$, my 800gb/1.6tb tape is 90$.

 

I backup over a TB a month.

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Billbus,

Currently high capacity enclosure style drives ARE more expensive than low capacity tape (actually, check the web today, you can get 1TB drives for about that price you just quoted), however I'm sure the speed and convenience of disk-based far out way the cost. I backup over 400GB PER WEEK, and currently use 1TB WD MyBook Premiums for offsite rotation. Perholm's suggestion is perfect especially for me since for the past 3 years I have used an LTO-1 and LTO-2 tape based auto-loading system. But in the meantime, if using disk means I can restore 3 to 6 servers in a day, versus 1 server in 3 days, then I am all for disk, hands down!!!

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Multiplexing - enable to write more then one client to the same tape at the same time. Would speed up backups considerably. Other products do it. Also currently the client is locked when in use so cant even backup say another subvol on the same client to another device. When you have 1tb data on one client this backup can take nearly all night before it starts on the other servers.

Also reports that say which tapes can be removed and what tapes are needed each day, week etc.

 

thanks

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It must have been requested before, but removing a snapshot of a user/mailbox takes forever - especially if you have 30-50+ of them to do in one sitting (i.e. Exchange Client went mad so you created a new link to the server under a different name).

Being able to select multiple snapshots and then hit the delete button will allow admins to walk away whilst it chugs away thrashing the catalog drive to death. Instead, we have to babysit Retrospect until we're done cleaning off snapshots.

 

Another thing which I would find useful is some way of overriding the password in the client. i.e. if a member of staff installs Retrospect client and then forgets what they set it as, they then have to re-install the application (to my knowledge). It would be great if they could hit a 'change password' button on the client screen saving time.

 

On roughly the same note, having a network scan option would be handy also.. i.e. showing all the machines on the network WITHOUT a backup client installed. On a large network the odd machine can often be overlooked, so being able to see what's being missed would be a handy tool.

 

Oracle client anyone?

 

Exchange 2007 - this has been covered already, but as an M$ Action Pack user we are pushed into using the latest versions of all their software, which means we should be using Exchange 2007 right now. We can't due to retrospect... so soon we will be facing the choice: Pay full price for Exchange 2007 or replace the backup software.

 

Active Directory integration? Have an option under the Computer items within the AD tree. Within properties it would be great to be able to set a Retrospect group (which in turn would allow you to set backup times etc) - additionally information could be displayed on backup success/issues, making it easy(ier) to see problems/logs.

 

Domain user-aware backups? Having a backup system which is aware of the concept of users would be helpful too. i.e. Retrospect is aware of the user FADCO\Richard moving between machines and groups the data under their username. This would have a knock on effect with the online recovery system too where users can log in with their Domain password to recover any data which has been picked up from ANY machine they have worked on.

 

Client-side compression for remote users? To speed up data transfer it may help some users/admins to compress the data at the client / network server side first and then copy the data to the Retrospect Server. With flexible WAN/Remote users this will increase the speed of the backup and lighten network load somewhat. The data can then be decompressed at Retrospect before being stored if required.

 

Reduction GUI freezing when busy? I seem to have the GUI freezing on me when deleting snapshot or doing anything agressive with Retrospect. As the software is designed pretty much to thrash system resources it would be great to have a higher priority for GUI requests than data requests.

 

More data statistics? It would be great to be able to view graphs of network utilization (or Retrospect) and system resources being used for diagnoses. Much of this data can be had by logs from a managed switch (foe example), but in many companies the network layer is managed by a different team, so having an application-side log/presentation would be a nice thing. i.e. average proactive machine/hour.. etc This way you can use the application to build a picture on how best to tweak the backup routines/networks/machines for best performance.

 

As said above, Multiplexing is something important to sort out too.. writing to the same backup set simutaniously so multiple clients can be backed up at once. Our network has ~50% laptops on it which means people float in and out of the office all the time, so it's important to 'jump' on them as quickly as possible. I understand this can be done with multiple Backup Sets (drives), however, I backup to HDD so this is not a viable option for me really.

 

Erm, I think I'm done! smile.gif

 

Richard

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1: Deployment options

Add a deployment client. Let admin deploy the client to desktops to desktops via the server. Deploying this software is very hard. Deploying via GPO is not easy, currently the desktop needs to have Isscript installed prior to the GPO deployment. You can deploy Isscript but it will cause all desktops with the deployed isscript to not be able to install other software that uses a different version of Isscript. The isscript can be wrapped inside of a MSI but that is not a simple process and requires outside applications. The only way to fix this is to install the Windows Installer Cleanup tool, and remove the deployed isscript

 

2: check/Rename clients on service start

 

Our computers get renamed a lot, and the name does not get updated on the server. This is a major pain

 

3: front-end/backend interface

 

Run the software as a service, and have a front-end used to access the application, I hate having to have a logged in user (or even the TS client) have to be logged in to have this work.

 

4: Web interface or mmc console for remote management

You should not have to give a user console access to a server to manage the backup.

 

5: Network card preference

The backup clients should be able to do a speed test to the server to figure out what network card is fastest. On laptops it sometimes picks wireless and not the wireless Ethernet card. On the same note it should not blindly pick either interface, it should make sure that the interface is up and can access the server. (In situations where each interface is connected to separate networks)

 

6: Server side configurations!!!

I should not have to walk to a desktop to make any changes. Per desktop exceptions such as priority, private folders, notify options should all be done at the server.

 

7: defer bug - Remove or recheck deferred status

 

If deferred gets bugged and the file are not deleted from windows\temp no other backups will start... it will just go back to the top of the list and get stuck in a loop.

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Will Flint,

 

What i ment is for large backups, disks are just the first step. for example i backup data to my raid array then at the end of the month move it to tape.

 

backing up 1tb of data would cost me 350$ a month with HDs .... with tape it costs me under 100$.

 

Disk drives do not archive well, we keep every month's backup for 1 year. It is much better to transport a stack of tapes offsite then a HDs

 

Tapes are far from dead. Disks are fine if you dont require archiving or have very little data.

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I love what I've seen of the product so far (selectors especially), but I don't think it is going to work for us for one specific reason: It doesn't run as a service. If you fix this, I would probably switch from Backup Exec

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I have another one!

 

When Retrospect crashes and you get the 'send retrospect your bug log' message.. it'll be REALLY nice to not be told afterwards that Retrospect crashed due to a power outage - or whatever guff reason it gives. smile.gif

 

Of course, running as a service would reinstate the application automatically... where as right now, on an unmanned system it could be down for hours/days!

 

I've set up a service using INSTSVR.exe and it starts up as you would expect (service set to automatic) yet the services GUI complains that "it didn't start in a timely manner"... which is odd as it did! However, when I then log in as a TS user it's sitting there asking for authentication from an 'admin' - equally strange as the service 'should' be running as a user with admin rights anyway... Anyway, I digress..

 

Rich

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1) Remote Administration - People should not be logging directly into my server unless it's an emergency. This is a security risk and it needs to be eliminated. Terminal server is not good either. I dont even want the backup operator to have access to the server desktop at all. Retrospect should be able to be controlled from within a restricted environment, I.E. a retrospect admin client that runs from a remote computer, or a web interface, or an MMC console snapin.

 

2) Backup Set Bypass - I use a separate external hard drive to back up each day of the week. My backup policy require that each hard drive have the ability to perform a full restore of any server. Additionally, when viewing the contents of that hard drive, only the backups that exist on that hard drive should be displayed. The only way in retrospect to accomplish this, is to create a separate backup set for each hard drive, and a separate backup script for each day of the week. Unfortunately, if the wrong hard drive is plugged in on any given day, the backup is not performed at all. If I could add multiple backup sets to a single script, and configure retrospect to ignore the unavailable backup sets, that would solve my problem. Currently, if I add multiple backup sets to a script, and any of those backup sets are not available, the script fails to execute. As a result, if for any reason someone is not available to swap the drives, and an administrator is not available to adjust the backup script, the backup is not performed that night.

 

3) Improved Exchange Agent Administration - The individual mailbox backup process requires too much administration. Having to edit the backup scheme every time a new exchange user is added, removed or disabled is out of the question. Due to this, I back up the entire storage group. However, this creates a new problem. I have a very large public folder that I wish to exclude from the backup. Now I can't, since I don't do individual mailbox backups, and my backup is 20g larger per day than it really needs to be because of this.

 

4) Improve Backup Selection - If I want to backup all of the files and folders on a client EXCEPT for 1 folder, I have to create a subvolume for EVERY other folder. For example, if I need to back up only 99 folders a client drive with 100 folders, I have to create a subvolume for 99 folders. Not only does this take a very long time, it causes the snapshot list to grow exponentially, which in return makes it difficult to locate items for retoration. I should be able to select my backup items using a windows explorer type interface. For example: select the whole C drive with a check box, and then just uncheck the folder(s) I wanted to exclude. Whenever new folders are added to that drive, they should be automatically added to that backup selection. Deleted folders should be automatically "forgotten".

 

5) Sorting snapshots - For a single backup set my snapshot list can be very long based on #4. Unfortunately, it only sorts by snapshot name.. which is usually a folder or server name. This makes it very difficult, at least for someone like me who has to create subvolumes for hundreds of folders, to view all snapshots from a specific date.. for example to verify that something was backed up on a specific date. We should be able to sort snapshots by date. What is worse is that I cannot even make that window bigger. It only shows about 10-15 lines at a time and I have to sit there scrolling down indefinitely.

 

The only reason I chose Retrospect over Veritas was the snapshot technology, because it is so easy to locate something on backup and perform a restore. Now I am beginning to regret this decision because of how much more administration and TLC that retrospect requires. In browsing these forums, it is apparent that some of these very issues have been brought up quite some time ago and have still not been addressed. In all honesty, if they aren't addressed in the very near future, our company is likely to ditch Retrospect and go back to Veritas.

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Item #1) I use VNC to admin my Retrospect server. That works really well. The backup user has full access to all the data within the backup, so it is critical to trust the backup Admin to all of the resources on the server. Limited access is a feature request for sure.

 

2) You can turn on the Media Request Timeout option to skip an unavailable backup set in the script.

 

http://screencast.com/t/MPcq9Eap1F8

 

3) If you use the Mailbox Container in the source list, then Retrospect will automatically add new mailboxes to the backup script. You should be able to use a selector to exclude a specific public folder, although I have not tested this.

 

Backing of "the entire storage group" is not the same as a backup of the mailbox container. The Storage Group is All or Nothing backup of the exchange database.

 

You can also create a group in Configure Volumes to customize the mailboxes to get backed up. Not very automatic though.

 

4) Why not use selectors to exclude a folder? Defining 100 subvolumes is crazy.

 

http://screencast.com/t/RaawwRDBALc

 

5) Yes, I would like that feature too.

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Thank you for responding to my concerns so quickly.

 

I am a little frustrated at the forums. After spending a long time compiling my original message, and this message. I received an error that caused me to lose my entire message and have to retype it from scratch "We cannot proceed. The form you have submitted is no longer valid.

Please use your back button to return to the previous page."

 

With regard to:

 

1) Thank you for the suggestion, but the security policy in my organization frowns on the use of server desktops for any reason, even backups, unless there is no other choice. This causes Retrospect to be the only application "under scrutiny" at every security meeting. The backup server has other applications on it that the backup operator is not authorized to use, and so we must maintain strict group policies on that server to prevent unauthorized access. These policies must be maintained and reviewed on a regular basis. Yes, this is a feature request.

 

2) The Media Request Timeout causes the script to halt execution if a listed backup set is not available. And so in order for this to work for our organization, we would have to schedule every backup script to run every day. This is in addition to still having to create a separate backup script for each backup set and a separate backup set for each hard drive used. Our organization also requires an email notification to be sent on success or failure of a backup. Eventually our organization is going to require a separate hard drive backup for each day of the month. Having to manage such complex schedules and a myriad of backup scripts for a rotating backup of the same data requires a lot of administration. Also having to read 30 e-mails every day just to find out whether the backup was successful or not greatly increases the chance that a failed backup will not be addressed in a timely fashion. There was a user above that had similar concerns with rotating backups on hard drives. It would be nice if Retrospect was more accomodating for these types of backup routines. This is a feature request please.

 

3) I will try this and let you know, but I wish you had a more definitive answer for me. I don't have a test environment and my exchange folders are very large. Each test might take me several hours. I'd rather know for sure than take a chance that something doesn't get backed up. The ability to backup specific information stores within a storage group would help. Ideally, a windows explorer style "information store/mailbox/public folder selection list" with checkboxes would be a very good feature to have. This is a feature request please.

 

4) I've tried this and was unsuccessful. The problem is that the same folder name exists in many places on the same server and other servers as well. If I try to exclude the folder I dont want, it ends up excluding other folders that I still want to backup. I could not find a way to exclude an exact client/pathname. Also this would require a lot of administration and maintenance when dealing with 30 backup scripts (see #2). As noted in #3, the option to use a windows explorer style "backup selection list" with checkboxes would be a very good feature to have. This is also a request please.

 

As a note: When choosing files to restore, a window explorer style window with check boxes is used to pick the items for restore. This is exactly the type of window that I am referring to, except without the necessity to "highlight" what you checked. I honestly don't see the point in having to do that. When you check a box, that is your selection. The highlighting of selections after selecting them seems like an unnecessary step.

 

I feel that these are all very legitimate feature requests. The workarounds are complicated and cumbersome to use, in some cases require a lot more administration than should be required. I would much rather see these features implemented and reduce the amount of administration required to use retrospect. I do appreciate your time in reviewing and addressing my concerns.

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When attempting to backup the mailbox container with the individual mailboxes, my backup fails with a bunch of errors and warnings.

 

The warnings are all "can't read, error -1101 (file/directory not found)"

 

The errors are all either "can't read, error -3420 (unknown)" or

"Scanning incomplete, error -3407 (unexpected provider error)"

 

The 3407 errors are on mailboxes of disabled accounts. The accounts need to remain disabled and not deleted. If this is going to cause my backup to be continuously reported as failing, then I have to go back to backing up the entire storage group, and so I am still unable to exclude the large public folder from my backup.

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I've been doing mailbox backups for about a week now, and dealing with the errors and warnings to test how it works in my environment. In my testing, new mailboxes added to Exchange are not automatically backed up, nor are they even visible in the volume list. Also, deleted users never disappear from the volume list (even after the mailbox is purged). Instead, an error is generated for every deleted user, every day:

 

- 12/13/2007 10:26:20 PM: Copying [Delted Mailbox Name] on [Exchange Server Name]

Scanning incomplete, error -3405 (unknown)

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I followed those instructions to the T back when I installed retrospect.

 

The new mailboxes are showing up UNhighlighted in the volume tab of the client config, which explains why they arent being backed up automatically.

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It is almost impossible to create a disaster recovery image for Windows XP that is not too large to fit on a CD-R. This problem could be easily solved by offering the option to create a DVD image. I would guess that the majority of Retrospect users have a DVD writer and the ability to boot from DVD.

 

(You can't upgrade to Windows Vista without the ability to boot from a DVD.)

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I would like a reporting feature in Retrospect. One where it could create a report, or at least just a quick summary document of Average Backup Times for each script per week/month, list all of the failed scripts for the month for auditing purposes, etc. If there is already this feature, let me know, but if not, it would be nice.

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You can export the backup report to a tabbed text file. You can then open it in Excel and run calculations off the numbers.

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