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Backups "freeze" part way with no error

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47 minutes ago, DavidHertzberg said:

JamesOakley,

Do you actually use Remote Backup? 

Nope. I'd clocked what it was for, which was pretty much as you put it. Except for Sally. I could see a use-case for it for us, actually, with a second office site that could then be backed up as a client to my backup storage. But I'm not sure it's an optimal solution even for that, so I've not done anything with it.

I took #7748 to be about a "remote" backup client only in the sense of "not the same computer as the one running the Master copy of Retrospect". In other words, I hadn't noticed the word "remote" as significant. It's funny though, because apart from "remote" that's exactly the issue we're discussing here.

I did ask in my support ticket whether my problem relates to that fix. I wonder what they'll say

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Just an update.  I just upgraded to 15.6.1.104 on Windows 10.  Since I did the upgrade, I haven't had any more of those mid-script freezes (that I got only after upgrading from v 12 to 15.6.0.)

Mildly encouraging.

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On 12/3/2018 at 5:02 PM, JamesOakley said:

Nope. I'd clocked what it was for, which was pretty much as you put it. Except for Sally. I could see a use-case for it for us, actually, with a second office site that could then be backed up as a client to my backup storage. But I'm not sure it's an optimal solution even for that, so I've not done anything with it.

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JamesOakley,

Too bad you don't know Sally.  In my imagination (which is, of course, entirely where she exists ;) ) she is an excellent salesperson, and speaks Shanghainese as well as Mandarin.

Seriously, if your organization has a second office site, you'd be better off having a permanent connection from its LAN to the office where your "backup server" sits—so you can use regular Backup scripts.  You can read all about it in "Advanced Networking" on pages 305-313 of the Retrospect Windows 12 User's Guide.  AFAIK you'd need a second network card in your "backup server" machine.  If your second office is also somewhere in Britain, BT (or its competitors) will love you for this if you don't already have the connection—which for other purposes you probably do. :)

IMHO Retrospect Inc. developed the Remote Backup feature for organizations with far-flung employees/contractors to whom a permanent network connection would be too expensive.  That's why they were satisfied with having it work only for Proactive scripts, although there may be technical difficulties I'm not qualified to understand in making it work for regular Backup scripts.

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On 10/31/2018 at 9:33 AM, JamesOakley said:

But if it's running in the background, with no UI visible, it shouldn't pop a dialog that you have to click "OK" to before anything continues.

I'm now on 15.6, and it just did it again - no backups ran for 3 days until I noticed that they hadn't. Killed retrospect.exe, and started the program again, and the waiting executions all began to run. The thing is, under 15.x for Windows, even Desktop edition gets multiple execution units, so one stuck job shouldn't freeze the whole setup.

About these multiple execution units.  I thought it was a bug, so i submitted a trouble ticket (within my 30 days of free support).  The support response was to ask me if I had ever run Multi-Server.  Of course not!  So he had me rename my configxx files to something else, and let Retrospect create new configxx files.  Not only did that not fix the "problem" but I lost all my backup session history!  So I undid the changes.  My assumption, from the agent response, was that I was supposed to get only one execution unit.  Now I'm reading that someone else had the same problem.

In practice, I still get only one execution unit for backups. But if I'm running a grooming operation, I can in fact have multiple executions going at the same time.  Since I didn't use any versions of 15 before 15.6, I don't know when this first appeared in the release, but all I can say is that either the Programmers or the Quality Assurance group didn't do such a great job.

 

x509

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40 minutes ago, x509 said:

About these multiple execution units.  I thought it was a bug, so i submitted a trouble ticket (within my 30 days of free support).

I've been a Retrospect user for many versions now. When I upgraded from 12.x to 15.x, the Executing tab of Activity Monitor jumped from 1 to 16 units. So it seems that it's a feature as of version 15. At the time, I looked in the release notes, and the only reference I could find was this:

Quote

FIXEDDesktop can now reduce its maximum execution units (#7317)

So I think (hope) you were asking support to fix a bug that, this time, is actually a feature.

40 minutes ago, x509 said:

About these multiple execution units.  I thought it was a bug, so i submitted a trouble ticket (within my 30 days of free support).

The support response was to ask me if I had ever run Multi-Server.  Of course not!  So he had me rename my configxx files to something else, and let Retrospect create new configxx files.  Not only did that not fix the "problem" but I lost all my backup session history!  So I undid the changes

I have to laugh. If you read up a few posts, that's exactly what support tried getting me to do. I wasn't convinced at the time, and like you quickly reverted. But seriously: Is this their solution to every support request and bug report? It causes a lot of disruption (you lose your backup session history, but also all the sub-volume and volume group definitions), and shouldn't be something to ask someone to do unless there's reason to believe it will help.

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JamesOakley and x509,

I caught onto the new Desktop Edition feature on 31 October, based on JamesOakley's having noticed it, and got DovidBenAvraham to put an announcement in the Wikipedia article—which I mentioned in the second paragraph of this post.  In that mention I said

Quote

The new feature, of course, is simply a disabling of the Desktop Edition code that previously reset the number of units/threads to 1 every time the Engine was started—thus forcing Desktop Edition to mimic the non-multithreaded Retrospect Windows/Mac 6.  :rolleyes:  Retrospect Inc. is apparently so reluctant to mention this improvement that DBA had to reference it with a roundabout bug fix note in the cumulative Retrospect Windows Release Notes. <_<

From what you're saying, it seems Product Management was so reluctant to mention the new feature that they didn't tell Support about it :rolleyes:, which must be why Support told x509 to rename his config files to something else etc.. 

In two posts immediately subsequent to the one I linked to in the first paragraph of this post, I discussed the results of a thread I started on the Ars Technica Linux Kung Fu forum regarding the technical feasibility of Retrospect Inc.'s implementing a future painful new feature that I think this new feature is a prelude to.  I won't repeat that discussion here, one reason—besides the sin of double-posting—being because its results are sensitive enough that they might IME cause the head of Tech Support to delete this and/or other posts.

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If "Sally" is in sales, "she" is probably in the office only for the "annual sales meeting" and meetings with major customers.  And if "she" is like most of the sales people I have known, she is not exactly "IT intuitive."  LOL!  So Sally and all her fellow sales people can benefit greatly from Remote Backup.  By the way, Sally may travel across time zones, especially when she is visiting the home office.

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This new "feature" would be nice, if it actually worked.  But it doesn't. 😖  Yes, I can now assign different execution units to different backup scripts, but I still can't run two different backup scripts at the same time.

And product management "reluctant" to tell Support about a new feature?  In all my 30+ years of doing software product management, I was never reluctant to announce a new features, nor were my colleagues.  So I'm going to guess, and I'm going out on a limb here, is that the multi-execution feature somehow "escaped" from the Programming group, who probably didn't communicate it to other parts of the company, including Quality Assurance and Support.  Draw your own conclusions, and feel free to disagree with mine.

x509

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9 minutes ago, x509 said:

This new "feature" would be nice, if it actually worked.  But it doesn't. 😖  Yes, I can now assign different execution units to different backup scripts, but I still can't run two different backup scripts at the same time.

I am doing this, and it is working.

But, if the two scripts require a lock on the same source volume or backup destination, the system will respect that and wait for the lock to exit. But where the scripts are truly independent, one doesn't hold the other up.

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James,

So "it's a feature, not a bug."  So I just tried to run immediately some backup scripts that all work on different backup sets.  I deliberately selected different Execution Units.  Here is what I got:

 

image.png.d9c0d88830945081d5c8427837dabb88.png

DELOS and APHRODITE are two LAN clients.  The currently active script will back up from these clients.  Is that why scripts Software Library and DATA are waiting?  If so, major bummer.  With some exceptions, all my backup scripts back up different files from both the server (this system) and the LAN clients.

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x509,

If you want scripts doing Backups of the same LAN "client" drive to run concurrently, they must be backing up different Subvolumes of the same "client" drive.  Even that is new for Retrospect Windows 12.6, as noted here.  As j-polasektamu.edu's OP in that thread said nearly 3 months before 12.6 was released:

Quote

We are consolidating Departmental Data from individual servers to a College NAS.  I have setup subvolumes from the NAS.  But I can only backup one sub volume at a time.

 

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Fair, but ouch!  I thought about this for a while, but if I wanted to enable concurrent backups, I wouldl have to completely restructure all my scripts as well as my source groups, and every time I redo my scripts, I find an issue a few days later.  I can live with the lack of concurrence on my four main backup scripts, because I know they work.

Still, it's good to know that I can run a grooming operation, even more than one, at the same time I'm doing backups.  🙄

x509

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