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kidziti

Errors when laptop not connected

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So I have a script that backs up my network, including a sometimes-connected laptop. If it's there, I definitely want it included with my nightly backups. But when it's not there, I get a slew of errors. While I understand these errors are to be expected (at least the way I have it set up), I am wondering if there is a more elegant way for Retrospect to know that if the laptop is connected, back it up - and if it's not connected, stop trying and stop spitting out errors for 20 minutes.

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I had one error in the history but the active page shows several items which I imagine are based upon my selector (choosing several different folders.) It would still be nice not to have retrospect chewing away at a client that is not there.

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13 minutes ago, kidziti said:

I had one error in the history but the active page shows several items which I imagine are based upon my selector (choosing several different folders.) It would still be nice not to have retrospect chewing away at a client that is not there.

Can you post that part of the log?

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kidziti,

Disclaimer: I administrate a Macintosh home LAN, and the laptop "client" in it never leaves my desk.  My nightly incremental No Media Action (the Retrospect Windows term would be Normal backup action) script is scheduled for 3 a.m., but it actually runs at or after 3 a.m. whenever I boot the laptop "client" and then the "backup server" machine in that order.  My scripts are all Backup scripts; I've never used Proactive scripts.

Nevertheless IMHO what you need is a Proactive script, as described on pages 239-254 of the Retrospect Windows 16 User's Guide (that information hasn't changed for years, but there's a more-recent Knowledge Base article that you probably don't need to read if you're only backing up one dis-connectable "client").  You can schedule it (pages 250-253) before or after your nightly Backup script, specifying all the Backup Set destinations your Backup script ever uses.  "Rotate Among Backup Sets" on page 242 says "Rotate through the sets by inserting different media in the backup device each day. ProactiveBackup uses whatever media you inserted"; so you'd just have to make sure the media for whatever Backup Sets your nightly Backup script isn't using that night aren't mounted on your "backup server".  (The alternative would be to manually change the Proactive script's specified single Backup Set whenever the schedule for your Backup script switches to a different Backup Set, but IMHO that would be a bigger nuisance than un-cabling/re-cabling drives—which I do every Friday preparing for Saturday's Recycle Backup). As it says on page 240, "Proactive Backup uses only the Normal backup action because New Member, Recycle, and New Backup Set backups are inappropriate for use with Proactive Backup scripts."

If the Backup script is still running when the Proactive script starts, many of us administrators have learned—some the hard way— that Retrospect has a (undocumented, I think) feature that will delay running the second script until the first script using the same Backup Set destination has finished.  I'm not sure what will happen if the Proactive script is still running when the Backup script is scheduled, so I suggest you put a Stop time (page 252) on the Proactive script if you schedule it before the Backup script. 

HTH; over to you, Lennart_T.

 

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Add last sentence to 2nd prgf.; add No Media Action after "incremental" in first prgf.

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I think David hit the precise answer I was looking for (thank you, DavidHertzberg!) - if there is a way for the software to be "smarter" about the variable that some backup clients such as notebook PCs may or may not follow a schedule of being connected to the network. Time to hit the learning curve again because my two alternate-night-backup external drives are always "mounted" or connected to the computer. Surely there must be a way to add the notebook to the script without ensuring that one of them must be unmounted (if I understand your explanation correctly - which I suspect I do not.) My philosophy on backups is that if any user intervention is required, it will ultimately fail. I may even buy a third drive and remember occasionally to swap it out with one in a safety deposit box, but some day I will forget to do it or be on a trip or put it off for whatever unforeseen reason or lack of backup enthusiasm I may have in the future.

And thank you, Lennart. There is actually only one single error (-530) so I figure there's no need to post the log which only shows a single entry (can't access backup client.) But running out the door yesterday, I noticed what I now realize are not errors per se - but it remains an oddity I still cannot explain - so I'm attaching an image.

Activity Monitor.jpg

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On 10/31/2019 at 10:44 AM, kidziti said:

I think David hit the precise answer I was looking for (thank you, DavidHertzberg!) - if there is a way for the software to be "smarter" about the variable that some backup clients such as notebook PCs may or may not follow a schedule of being connected to the network. Time to hit the learning curve again because my two alternate-night-backup external drives are always "mounted" or connected to the computer. Surely there must be a way to add the notebook to the script without ensuring that one of them must be unmounted (if I understand your explanation correctly - which I suspect I do not.) My philosophy on backups is that if any user intervention is required, it will ultimately fail. I may even buy a third drive and remember occasionally to swap it out with one in a safety deposit box, but some day I will forget to do it or be on a trip or put it off for whatever unforeseen reason or lack of backup enthusiasm I may have in the future.

kidziti,

The "Proactive Backup Script" column in the table at the bottom of page 240 in the Retrospect Windows 16 User's Guide says, in the "Destination Backup Sets" row, "Copies to the most ideal available Backup Set in the destinations list. Automatic media rotation among multiple available Backup Sets."  The only Forums mention of that sentence I can find is this post by me, and I didn't know any more in January 2017 about Proactive than I do now. 

Since AFAICT from pages 250-252 of the UG you can't specify days of the week or alternate weeks for a Proactive script's schedule, this feature may result in more perfect alternation between destination Backup Sets than your schedule(s) of Backup scripts.  If so, you may have to compensate by disconnecting the Backup Set drive you don't want to use on the next Proactive run on Friday/Saturday nights or Monday mornings—IOW the last night or first morning  you are in the office during a particular workweek.  That's assuming you have multiple schedules for each Backup script, so that the Backup script backs up to Backup Set A on Mondays of some weeks and to Backup Set B on Mondays of other weeks.  In that case,  a better idea would be to put all your "clients"—including the ones that never leave the LAN—on the Proactive script and ditch the nightly Backup script.

If you buy a third drive for offsite storage, you should use it as a destination for periodic Transfer Backup Sets or Transfer Snapshots scripts—where the source would be the most-recently-used destination Backup Set for your nightly scripts.  See pages 209-220 of the UG.

P.S.: Backing up to both Backup Sets per your post directly below, you'd have to have two Proactive scripts, each one specifying one of your two Backup Sets.  Read that same column-row entry on page 240 of the UG; each Proactive script would back up a "client" based on that Backup Set's Catalog.  This 2006 thread confirms you can't alternate weeks, but—despite what I said in the second paragraph above—pages 251- 252 of the UG imply you may be able to effectively suppress execution of a Proactive script on a particular day of the week by Customizing with Stop time <= Start time on that particular day.  If you want to use Backup Set A on Monday of week N but use Backup Set B on Monday of Week N+1 (5 or 7 workdays per week instead of 6 workdays)—and the built-in rotation doesn't fit your requirements, you'd then need twin Proactive scripts with "invert-of-twin" Start-Stop for each workday in the week.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Replace last sentence in second paragraph with a better idea, add third paragraph; P.S. saying you'd have to have _two_ Proactive scripts to implement backing up to both Backup Sets

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Okay - thanks for clarifying. I have two backup sets, so I'll probably just have it back up to both. I don't keep much on the laptop anyways (most of the files I work with are on my NAS and some of the NAS items are synced to the cloud) so I imagine after the main backup, the incrementals will be quick enough to allow for two copies (one to each backup set) even after the main incremental backups.

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The problem of having a "nightly" script and a "pro-active" script backing up to the same set is that only one can write to that set, blocking the other while it is running. While David has some suggestions above, may I offer another?

Move *all* your systems onto the "pro-active" script!

Schedule it to run during your overnight window. Set it to back up sources every 22 hours or so (roughly 24 hrs - time taken to back up all systems) so it only backs up each once. When it kicks off it will start polling the network for client availability, starting with the one least-recently backed up. Each system in turn will be backed up if present, or skipped for a while (I think the default is 30 minutes) then checked for again -- meanwhile the script continues with the other clients.

It's not good if you need to back things up in a certain order, or if you need to hit a certain time (eg quiescing databases first), but it's great to make sure that "irregular" clients get backed up if available and that those "most in need" get priority.

AFAIK, with two backup sets listed *and available* the above would alternate between them nightly, but things may have changed in more recent RS versions.

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21 hours ago, Nigel Smith said:

... may I offer another?

Move *all* your systems onto the "pro-active" script!

Schedule it to run during your overnight window. Set it to back up sources every 22 hours or so (roughly 24 hrs - time taken to back up all systems) so it only backs up each once. When it kicks off it will start polling the network for client availability, starting with the one least-recently backed up. Each system in turn will be backed up if present, or skipped for a while (I think the default is 30 minutes) then checked for again -- meanwhile the script continues with the other clients.

... or if you need to hit a certain time (eg quiescing databases first), but it's great to make sure that "irregular" clients get backed up if available and that those "most in need" get priority.

AFAIK, with two backup sets listed *and available* the above would alternate between them nightly, but things may have changed in more recent RS versions.

kidziti and Nigel Smith,

I considered that alternative , but felt that having separate Proactive and Backup scripts would be simpler—even with having to coordinate the alternation of Backup Sets.

However, regarding quiescing databases, note that Retrospect Windows 12 added Script Hooks.  These can be used in conjunction with: Lotus Domino, MongoDB, PostgresSQL, MS Exchange, and MS Outlook.  Also note that the Open File Backup Add-On for backing up Windows applications, which is free for the Desktop Edition, "is designed to back up line of business servers while they are up and running" and "is looking for a 'disk inactivity threshold'".

AFAIK things have not changed in more recent Retrospect versions as far as alternation between Backup Sets is concerned.   However, according to this Knowledge Base article,  what Nigel Smith described as "polling the network for client availability, starting with the one least-recently backed up [my emphasis]" has been replaced in Retrospect Windows 12 with a much more sophisticated "AI" (misnomer; it's decision-tree+linear-regression) algorithm.

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I will provide a different perspective here.  I have a relatively simple home LAN, which includes two laptops that may or may not be plugged in and active when my nightly backups run, starting at 9.30 pm.  I have separate scripts for drives C:, D:, E: and F:.  Each volume on all my systems has a specific storage purpose, e.g. C is always Windows + programs.  E is alwasy media like photos, music, and books.

In the spirit of keeping things as simple as possible I do not have proactive backup scripts.  If a laptop is plugged in when a script, it gets backed up.  Otherwise it doesn't.  if either laptop hasn't been backed up in several days, then I will do an Immediate Backup as needed.

x509

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