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Hi,

 

We're currently running Retrospect 8.2.0 (399) for our backup system. Before we make the switch and pay for the new version, I want to make sure that it's a much more stable piece of software. What are your opinions on the new version? What works better, what still needs to be fixed, and what (if anything) works worse? Do you think it's worth the upgrade?

 

I think we have a pretty normal setup - maybe six or so workstations and the same number of laptops backed up onto three servers, all disk backups. Any input is appreciated.

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I'd like to know this as well. I'm still pretty disgusted that there's no concession on upgrade pricing for the v8 debacle and that v9 is largely a very expensive bugfix release. That said, I wouldn't mind putting v8 behind me at _some_ point, if v9 seems to have significantly improved the product. A reduced upgrade price would be appreciated, but short of that, at least let me make sure that I'm not recommending another highly unstable and screwed up product to my clients.

 

FT

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I saw lots and lots of bugs in 8.x. Some were cosmetic, but there were things that didn't work, and crashes, too. So far, I have no major complaints about v9. I have not gone back and compared my notes, but it feels like all the major problems are fixed, and many of the cosmetic problems are addressed. I have seen some anomalies that I have not yet resolved, but it looks like a definite improvement over v8, and is also up to where I am anxious to have it replace my v6.1 server because it is stable enough, much faster, and does things (like grooming) that I have wanted Retro to do for years.

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For me, the 9.0 build gives me SPODs when closing my disk media set catalogs (which are fairly large) -- and because I run multiple concurrent proactive backups, I get a lot of SPODs with the console, unfortunately. This appeared to be new behavior in 9.0.x. Other than that, I don't really have any other problems and for how I use it, it's not that much different in performance/behavior of 8.2. I'm not really using any of the new features of 9.0 (like self-restore), actually.

 

If you are still running 6.1, it's great (how we lived without grooming still baffles me...)

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Less than inspiring demo experience for us to say the least. I will hasten past the long description of the difficulties getting the info needed to have a functioning demo of the server ("there is no server", says the tech support guy who doesn't like people using the Retro 8 terminology apparently) and the extremely frustrating, escalating to infuriating, experience of trying to speak to said arrogant and obstructionist phone guy. When I finally did get a demo a month or two later, it did not seem to be significantly alleviating the problems I have struggled with under version 8 for years now. I am still trying to come up with an alternative that the bosses can buy into.

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Bleary, what type of problems did you have in the old version? Not sure why it would take a month or two to get a trial version. They are available for download from our website at any time.

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I find it to be more reliable and stable than any other version I have used. I have had no problems.

I skipped over 8... my momma didn't raise no dummies.

I am happy to have upgraded... seriously.

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Retro. 9 does not crash with the frequency (every other week or so) that Retro 8 did. I'm happy about that.

 

Retrospect support seems to be more responsive to fixing bugs than they were in Retro 8, based on the fact

that we got 9.01 and 9.02 in relatively short order.

 

It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is definitely much better than 8.

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I have a mixed environment - about 20 Macs and 5 PC's.

 

I'm finding less miscellaneous crashing, too. V8.x would crash every week or so while running unattended. That doesn't happen much anymore.

 

However, most of my PC's are still on XP and get happily backed up. I switched one to Windows 7 and now after a few weeks, deleted the client from the script and went to using Acronis as that's what I'm using to back up my Win2k8 servers.

 

Retrospect 9.2 is reporting huge numbers of the following errors:

error -1101 ( file/directory not found) - a huge quantity

error -1012 ( feature unsupported) - a huge quantity

error -1017 ( insufficient permissions) - a medium quantity

error -1020 ( sharing violation) - a medium/low quantity

 

It would take 3 or more days to back up this machine so I took it out and things are running pretty well.

 

I still have some personal issues with the interface, but they're just annoyances. For example, I wish I had my choice of error level logging. Whenever it has one minor error, the whole backup gets an error icon and so all my past activities show a red X. Also, since I'm emailing my errors to me, it sends an email for each computer which has an error, and since it usually finds one bad file on every computer, I get about 10 emails saying there's an error when it's only one minor problem. Then I get an error email at the end which says the backup did not complete successfully.

 

I'll like to get one email with all the errors with a severerity I determine.

 

I guess I should post this under bugs and enhancements so I will.

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Like others have said - it's not perfect, but it's a huge improvement over 8.x and earlier 9.x versions. 9.0.2.107 runs pretty well. My biggest complaint is that while the Mac client is in the "scanning" phase of operation, it seems to put a HUGE load on the server CPU. I try to run multiple proactive backup threads, and with 4 Mac clients scanning it completely eats the CPU on my quad-core Xserve. Once it finishes scanning and starts copying files, things drop back down to a more normal CPU load level. It also seem to like a reboot once a week or so. Not sure they're releasing memory the way they should, but can't prove that.

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[snip]

However, most of my PC's are still on XP and get happily backed up. I switched one to Windows 7 and now after a few weeks, deleted the client from the script and went to using Acronis as that's what I'm using to back up my Win2k8 servers.

[/snip]

 

We also have a mixed environment, a few Mac servers, a few Windows servers and 40+ Windows desktops. I suppose we should be using the Windows version of Retrospect server but all our good available backup hardware was Mac so we went with 9. We are backing up many Windows XP, 7, 2003 and 2008 clients and not having the problems you describe, other than several -1020 and the much less frequent -1017 errors. When we were running the demo version with the 'open file backup' add on enabled we did not get these errors. 3 days to back up a client indicates some other issue going on.

 

In general I find 9 to be stable and useful. When we demo'd 8.2 I was very worried about rolling it out as a production backup system. 9.x did not give me the same worries and has been reliable.

 

I am impressed by 8/9's ability to do a full client restore on Windows, it's much more reliable than with 6 and I've tried a few hard drive replacements with great success.

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Bleary, what type of problems did you have in the old version? Not sure why it would take a month or two to get a trial version. They are available for download from our website at any time.

 

It does look like it is available for download from your website now. However, I was suffering from 'early adopter' issues apparently. There was not even a download website, one still went to a Roxio address for the downloads. I ended up falling for the "upgrade now" button on launch of the client. It said that I would have a certain amount of time to try it out, but after installing itself would not run without a new license code. This is because we were running the Server version, and I could not get a demo of the server. When you went to the "try it" link on your website, you were taken to a form to fill out to request the demo. I filled it out a number of times over the course of some weeks with no response whatsoever. Finally, I went back awhile later to try it again and used the boss' name instead of mine, and this time I was e-mailed a download link finally. I suspect I was blacklisted for being a noted complainer (not to mention decades long user and administrator.)

 

My problems were (and are, since I am still stuck struggling with version 8 on a daily basis as outlined above)really too numerous and complex to detail in one thread. Unresponsiveness, obstreperousness, hitting the 'stop' and 'add' and 'cancel' and 'repair' and 'rebuild' buttons to no avail. Usually the end result is that a media set just has the vapors and can't continue, poor thing, and I have to abandon my dreams of having a back-history of incremental backups and start over once again.

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We have used retrospect since version 3. We are discontinuing use this year in favor of a more distributed backup solution (clients do the work and push updates to the server). Retrospect is just way too slow and buggy for administering 150+ machines.

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I'm mixed: the general use has been fine, and most of our archiving process is fine. But we added a new SAN, and now Retrospect cannot se it as being a volume on the machine-as a result we need to use another utility to clone data, and then back up from there. Not efficient, nor effective (given that $40 utilities can handle that clone job).

 

Compared to 8 it is much better in terms of reliability, and generally has not been working against us the way 8 was, so that was a big relief.

 

But I still find client backups to be way too slow, and I don't understand how they are unable to leverage fsevents on the Mac side to build a catalog so we don't need a full comparison scan for each client (that is the longest portion of the whole process by far). Given 8 was a rearchitecting of the whole thing, that would have been a key upgrade.

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