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meld51

Proactive Backups and Background Running

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Should Proactive Backups run when Retrospect is running as a service? They don't appear to.

I have 3 proactive backups that only run if the full Retrospect is running on my PC. They are scheduled to run anytime . See screen shots attached.

I have notification emails set up and I can see that Retrospect is automatically launched now and then but it closes down in the same minute that it runs. Why does it do this?

This is on Windows 10 with Retrospect 16.

Schedule.PNG.1e921be903d48dfed7e2bd3d5bcf0771.PNGProactive_Schedule.PNG.5c247a3a5d6bde89f41a2bb3c1d08d76.PNGSettings.PNG.d0071d275f8fc3414747447c7c41fa4c.PNG

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What you are trying to achieve here. Retrospect won't quit after a Proactive script has finished (see p253 of the manual), and you have no finish time on an always-on schedule anyway. So why not just launch Retrospect and leave it running?

6 hours ago, meld51 said:

I have notification emails set up and I can see that Retrospect is automatically launched now and then but it closes down in the same minute that it runs. Why does it do this?

I'm not sure why it's starting up, since always-on has no start time. Do you have another script that would trigger the launch? As to why it exits again straight away -- since always-on has no start time, there's no script set to run in the next 12 hours so RS does what you've told it to -- exit.

If you are trying to minimise the amount of time Retrospect is running for some reason, "normal" backup scripts would be a better approach. But if you must use Proactive, eg for automatic media rotation, you might be able to do what you want by scheduling Proactive to specific start and stop times, then scheduling a "spoof" normal backup script to run just after your Proactive stop-time, with the "Exit" startup preference set.

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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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2 hours ago, mmcleary said:

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.

mmcleary,

If my "tea leaf reading" is correct, you're going to get that (see the P.S. of that post) in 17.5 or 18.0.  We've had it in Retrospect Mac since 8.0, and the only reason they didn't similarly split off the Console from the Engine in Retrospect Windows is because of mandatory Windows security settings (see the first paragraph of this History section of the old version of the Wikipedia article).  Three years ago Don Lee (then using the "handle" iCompute) got a Retrospect Mac Console to fairly-effectively control a Retrospect Windows Engine, because the engineers have intentionally left the inter-process communications paths in Retrospect Windows—which is what makes the Retrospect for iOS monitoring app (originally an engineer hack) possible.

If you're then still running your Retrospect Engine on a Windows machine—instead of some kind of beefed-up Drobo (or other Linux) NAS with a built-in Web server, your Retrospect Windows Console will IMHO use Heroku to provide the needed server—as the Retrospect Management Console now does.

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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.

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Disclaimer: Anything I may say about the intentions of Retrospect "Inc." in this or any other post is merely the result of "reading the tea leaves", the "tea leaves" being documentation and public announcements supplemented by an occasional morsel from Retrospect Sales.  I have never been paid a cent by Retrospect "Inc." or its predecessors, and I pay for my upgrades. Any judgements expressed are—obviously—mine alone. The same is true of Retrospect's history, outlined here.

Malcolm McLeary,

Since the last post you made in these Forums was in 2005, I'm going to possibly insult your general knowledge of forums software by assuming you don't know how to follow the links in my preceding post in this thread.    If you see words that are underlined, and if you see the white icon of a pointing finger when you pass your cursor over those words, then clicking anywhere in the underlined words will make your same browser tab "follow the link" to another post or article—or create a new browser tab if the link is outside the Forums.  When you've finished reading the material there that the author of the link-containing post thought you should see, clicking the back button—if the link was to a Forums post— in your browser will make that tab return to the post that contained the link (otherwise just close the new tab).  If you haven't already done so, I suggest you follow the links in my preceding post.

The second paragraph of your immediately-above post  implies that you're not familiar with the content of my posts in this Forum over the past year.  Apparently  you don't realize that the Retrospect programmers at Dantz were working on "a new UI that was separate from the Engine" for Retrospect Windows, but they couldn't implement it for a reason explained in the first paragraph of this Knowledge Base article. They therefore left the Retrospect Windows GUI as it was in 7.5, IMHO because a design-and-terminology change without a Console capability would have simply confused the dickens out of Retrospect Windows administrators; the GUI+terminology change with the Console in Retrospect Mac 8 puzzled many administrators (me belatedly).

There seems to be an exception in Microsoft's User Account Control (I know very little about Windows) for a GUI-containing task interacting with another task when the interaction is done over the Internet, which would explain why Retrospect for iOS works with Retrospect Windows and why Don Lee was able to control a Retrospect Windows "backup server" Engine from a Retrospect Mac Console.  Competing client-server backup applications have taken advantage of this exception by incorporating a Web server in their "backup server" Engines, but the Retrospect Inc. engineers didn't want to—or couldn't—do that.  In 2019 those engineers introduced what is now called the Retrospect Management Console, which uses Salesforce Heroku as its intermediary Web server.  You can use its Granular Remote Management to get two-way interaction with a Retrospect Windows Engine if you pay US$49 for the Management Console Add-On (price is for the Desktop Edition), but I'm not sure whether that two-way interaction is currently complete enough for you.

In June 2019 Retrospect Inc. became a subsidiary of StorCentric, which also owns Drobo.  StorCentric top management, as well as the now-"General Manager" (formerly CEO) of Retrospect "Inc.", have said they intend to implement a variant of the Retrospect "backup server" Engine running on (probably beefed-up) Drobo hardware.  I have indications that the engineers are busily working on that, and that it may also run on other manufacturers' Linux-based NASes—which you've asked for.  NASes don't have their own keyboards and video and pointing devices, so obviously such a variant would have to be accompanied by a Console running on Windows and macOS hardware—using either a Web server built into the NAS's OS or Heroku.  Lo and behold,  in December 2019 the Retrospect Console Preview (not to be confused with the Retrospect Management Console) was released—which IMHO is actually intended to preview the Windows/Mac Console for the Linux and other variants of the Retrospect Engine.  The Preview currently only runs on the same Windows or Mac "backup server" the Engine is running on, and its KB article says it is an extension of the existing Dashboard.  I doubt that its current control capabilities are adequate for your needs, but Retrospect Sales would probably be happy to give you at least a 45-day trial version of the Preview.

 

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Add clause, stating GUI+terminology change _with_ the Console in Retrospect Mac 8 puzzled many administrators. to last sentence in third paragraph

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14 hours ago, Malcolm McLeary said:

 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.

What's the issue with running a desktop session all the time, especially on a headless machine? OK, as a mainly Mac guy it grinds my gears that it is necessary on Windows -- but my Windows-administering colleague assures me there are no particular implications assuming the box is properly secured (and he'd slap me silly if it wasn't 😉 ).

Serious question in case there's something he's missed, or our particular situation mitigates an issue that would be truly serious in the outside world (in which case I should stop advising people to do similar!).

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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.

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Malcolm McLeary,

(The disclaimer at the start of this up-thread post applies.)

The Engine has been common code for both Retrospect Windows and Retrospect Mac since late 2009.  The only core feature that has not progressed substantially since then has been the GUI for Retrospect Windows.  AFAICT it was actually EMC upper management who dictated the development of a separate Console; then the Retrospect engineers discovered that they couldn't do it for Retrospect Windows without adding a Web server to the Engine.

The guiding principle of Retrospect Product Management has always been to keep pace with the large-installation features of competing client-server backup applications such as NB and BE and P5 (the head of Retrospect Tech Support actively discourages the naming of competing application in the Forums), while at the same time keeping the product available at a price suitable for SMEs.  The way they successfully did this until 2018 is what I call the "soak the rich installation" strategy (others have called this "value pricing"), which charges much higher prices for Editions that can backup macOS Server and Windows Server machines.   That strategy fell apart when many large installations switched from Server OS machines to NASes, whereupon a yellow 15.0 Release Note announced "Linux Client: In a future update, Linux clients running on server-level Linux distributions will be treated as server clients". 🙁 Posters in the Ars Technica Linux forum told me that there was no non-manual way of identifying "server-level Linux distributions", and in fact Retrospect engineering never implemented this threat.  So starting with 15.5 Retrospect Inc. Product Management implemented what I call the "go big or go home" strategy—to attract large worldwide installations and multi-installation consultants; this included the introduction of the Management Console, Remote Backup, and Storage Groups.  When that strategy was apparently not financially successful either, Retrospect Inc. sold itself to StorCentric.

StorCentric top management evidently want to implement what I call a "go wide or go home" strategy, with Retrospect competing with such NAS backup applications as Synology Hyper Backup while boosting the sales of StorCentric Drobo and  Nexsan hardware.  That IMHO is the reason for releasing the Retrospect Console Preview; the GUI of a Console suitable for use by the typical unsophisticated NAS owner must appear less complex than the existing Retrospect Mac Console—not to mention the Windows-95-influenced klunkiness of the GUI embedded in the existing Retrospect Windows "backup server".  (I'm observing the klunkiness first-hand; for the past few months, in order to back up a 2001 Digital Audio G4 "client" that Retrospect Mac 15.5 stopped being able to back up because its Client is 32-bit, I've been running Retrospect Mac 6.1—which has an embedded non-multi-tasking version of the Retrospect Windows 7.5 GUI—directly on the G4.  BTW my installation is in my apartment, so IMHO two locks on the door is sufficient security. )

 

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Add sentence saying my installation is in my apartment to parenthetical ending of third substantial paragraph

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6 hours ago, Malcolm McLeary said:

Just saying that this configuration is not best practice ... just necessary given the application's design.

Totally agree with all you wrote -- which is why I asked, since our Win RS server is in a locked and alarmed server room to which access is tightly controlled and so it isn't such an issue. We've also been burnt enough times by "auto-restarts" (on both Win and Mac) that we stop them wherever possible -- we'll control when updates are applied thank-you-very-much, and if a machine gets shut down because of power loss we both want to know why and to make sure it has come back up cleanly -- so having to log in isn't an issue, we're doing it anyway.

I would add that there are plenty of ways to physically secure a machine in a more open situation such as yours, and that having RS run as a background process wouldn't solve any of the many other security issues that arise from physical access to a computer.

It's obvious from the length of time this has been an issue that Windows's security features make switching the RS Engine to background daemon a non-trivial exercise, else it would have been done already. Until it does happen we'll just have to find workarounds -- and, being a Mac guy, I'm particularly partial to your idea of repurposing that old Mac Mini 🙂 

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3 hours ago, Nigel Smith said:

I would add that there are plenty of ways to physically secure a machine in a more open situation such as yours,

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.

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3 hours ago, Malcolm McLeary said:

Hmmm ... I didn't provide details

My apologies, I'd assumed that:

14 hours ago, Malcolm McLeary said:

In my Office, Retrospect is installed on a...

...was a detail, in that RS was installed on a machine that was just lying around in your office rather than a secured server room. In such situations we've used lockable security enclosures and hard-wired power so cleaners/users/random passers-by can't "accidentally" power cycle the machine after "accidentally" plugging in a bootable USB, etc.

And I agree, requiring a login is a major minus for RS on Windows.

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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.

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Malcolm McLeary,

With all due respect, I think you're wrong about why Retrospect Windows still requires auto login to the "Desktop Experience".  User Account Control was introduced with Windows Vista, which meant it became pervasive just about the time Retrospect Mac 8 was released.  If you read the rest of that History section of the Wikipedia article, you'll see that UAC hasn't fundamentally been relaxed since then.  Over the years I've gotten indications from Retrospect Tech Support that the engineers really wanted to provide a separate Retrospect Windows Console, but I've never gotten an explanation why they couldn't put a Web server into the "backup server"—which is the method competing client-server backup applications have had to adopt to provide a Console.

As far as taking away legacy support is concerned, I can personally testify that the Retrospect engineers recently have not hesitated to do that for the Retrospect Mac Engine.  In March 2019 they announced that Retrospect Mac 16 wouldn't support the 32-bit Legacy Client, which I'd been using for LAN backup of my Digital Audio G4.  In October 2019 they announced Retrospect Mac 16.1 would be the last version whose Engine would run on and whose Client would support Mac OS X 10.6 or 10.7; this didn't affect me because I only do a backup of one 10.6.8 drive local to my Mac Pro "backup server".

But the situation is different for legacy support on Windows machines.  You should know that Retrospect administrators are frequently actual administrative employees—not members of an enterprise's IT staff, because backup administrators need an quasi-legal knowledge of what needs to be backed up but not advanced technical skills.  If you'd been reading these Forums as long as I have, you would know that—to save money—Retrospect administrators are frequently forced by their management to use outmoded "backup server" machines and to back up ancient "client" machines.  IMHO Retrospect "Inc." Product Management has been acutely aware that, if they told customer administrators that their offices' computers would not have further Retrospect support unless they were upgraded to a modern version of Windows, the administrators' bosses' response would be to order the replacement of Retrospect with NB or BE rather than order the minefield-laden upgrading or replacement of multiple office computers.  See the third subgstantive paragraph of this up-thread post for the direction StorCentric management is making the engineers take.

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