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Rebuild Catalog from tape or disk?

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I am new with this company, and not familiar with Retrospect. We are using version 6!! Old (but still used) data is archived to tapes for retrieval, and to HD for nightly incremental. At the end of the week, a full backup to HD is performed and on Monday mornings the external ATA HD is swapped with a 2nd identical ATA external HD. Recently, the nightly incrementals stopped - some BS - seems like it is full, or wants to name it differently or something. Not really sure - all I know is it doesn't backup nightly anymore. Also, when the drives are swapped on Monday, it never seems to find the new drive - it always has to be manually remapped. I was told to rebuild the disk backup catalog (Tools --> Repair Catalog) but I have a few questions:

 

1) What catalog is being repaired? Am I inserting all the tapes so the application knows what files are on what tapes, or am I rebuilding from the nightly HD incremental backup, which is incomplete since it hasn't worked for a few weeks? If I do this, will I lose the ability to retrieve data using the "Find File" search?

 

It seems like I want to rebuild from the tapes - if I understand correctly, is it making a new library of what files are on which tapes? So I can find them easily later?

 

2) If I wipe out the HD to start fresh, will Retrospect lose it's connection to the HD and/or will it lose the ability to retrieve or find data using the "find file" search?

 

It is EXTREMELY important that we are able to regularly and quickly be able to find and retrieve data from the tapes, so whatever steps I take must not wipe out that data nor can I afford to lose the ability to locate what data is on those tapes.

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Ok - here's what I learned so far. I tried to recatalog the HD but since it is a backup only and not an archive it can't recatalog; I guess that was kind of a "duh!" Although it says to insert the most recent tape from the archive you want to recatalog, it's untrue - I inserted tape 9 of 9 and then it wanted tape 10 which there is none. I cancelled the recatalog and started again, but with tape 1. These tapes are 70+ GB compressed and take about 4 hours to go through. I am now on tape 4 and will be doing this through the weekend to be able to retrieve archived data on Monday. This is BS! There has to be a better way!

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Christian,

 

I think you misunderstand the process, perhaps because you are new to Retrospect, and it's a bit unclear what you are trying to do.

 

First, it's unclear whether your daily process was to create a "duplicate" of files or instead to create a "backup". A duplicate is not a backup, but instead is simply a copying of files. In contrast, a backup preserves history and past versions, is incremental, and that's the purpose of the catalog. It's a database of where within the backup set the various versions of files are, and also preserves a "snapshot" of the state of the backed up source(s), as to what versions of what files were present when the backup was made, so that only changed/new versions will be backed up, as needed.

 

If you are new to Retrospect, the paradigm to understand is that, under the hood, it operates similarly to other backup programs, doing an initial "full" backup and subsequent "incremental" backups, except that, in contrast to other backup programs, it also preserves a "snapshot" of the state of the source(s) at the instant of backup so that, when you need to restore, you don't have to go through the process of restoring the last "full" backup and then sequentially restore all "incremental" backups after that. Instead, Retrospect pulls the selected files from the backup set based on those files selected from the "snapshot", so that the restored destination can match the state of the "snapshot" at the time of the restore. It's a very different model from other backup programs, and takes a bit of thought to comprehend. The benefit is at the time of restore.

 

Here's a KnowledgeBase article that might help explain the difference between a "backup" and a "duplicate":

http://kb.dantz.com/article.asp?article=1061&p=2

 

If, in fact, you did a "backup", then you will be able to recatalog that backup set, if needed. An archive is simply a backup into an archived backup set that also deletes the source files, thereby "archiving" the deleted files. So, if there was a need, you could also recatalog a backup set made during the archive process.

 

Quote:

I tried to recatalog the HD but since it is a backup only and not an archive it can't recatalog; I guess that was kind of a "duh!" Although it says to insert the most recent tape from the archive you want to recatalog, it's untrue - I inserted tape 9 of 9 and then it wanted tape 10 which there is none.

 


First, Retrospect doesn't "recatalog the HD" - it recatalogs the backup set. See above for a discussion.

 

Second, the reason that Retrospect asked for tape 10 is that it realized that it already had a catalog for tapes 1 through 9, and needed to know whether you were trying to supplement an old (or backed up) catalog copy with additional tapes that may have been made after the catalog was last updated. You should have responded that there was no tape 10 (i.e., the catalog new about all tapes that existed), and the recatalog would have completed immediately. What you actually tried to do was to "update" an existing catalog.

 

Quote:

I cancelled the recatalog and started again, but with tape 1. These tapes are 70+ GB compressed and take about 4 hours to go through. I am now on tape 4 and will be doing this through the weekend to be able to retrieve archived data on Monday.

 


Ok, what you are now doing is rebuilding the entire catalog from scratch, rather than updating an existing catalog. The only time that this should be necessary is if the catalog becomes corrupted. It happens, who knows why. The only valid reason might be if the program crashes or is abruptly and forcefully quit. I personally have never had to rebuild a catalog, and we have been using Retrospect on our server and its network of client computers since 1992.

 

Sadly, you are discovering the painful process of a full catalog rebuild. One thought that you might consider for the future would be the tradeoff between such time and the expense of having smaller backup sets with more tapes total. Here is a discussion of many of the issues when developing a backup strategy:

http://tinyurl.com/nn435

 

Good luck.

 

Russ

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I posted several times to this forum over the past few days and it might be due to a lack of activity/interest on this board, but I didn't really get any responses.

 

Let me explain our problem here again, and allow me to stress this is Retrospect v6 on Windows 2000 Server. We have roughly 150-200 GB of data on said server that should be incrementally backed up each night, with a full backup on Friday nights. Older data has been previously archived to 9 AIT tapes. For some reason unbeknownst to us, the incremental and weekly backups stopped. There was a weird error message, which sort of gave an indication that the backup HD was full, when in fact it was not - the backup HD is 500 GB.

 

I remapped the drive and made a new folder on the backup 500 GB HD and did a manual backup of data, which I think did what I wanted. On a daily basis, I think I intend to do a "duplicate" of files by your terms, as I need active data available and accessible on the Server HD and want a duplicate (or backup?) on the backup HD so if something happens to the server HD I can restore it to it's former glory via Retrospect's data on the backup 500 GB HD.

 

In regards to the archival tapes of which we have 9, I want to use Retrospect's "find file" feature to locate and retrieve old jobs from years past. Soon we will want to write some of the data on the server HD to tape 10 and remove it from the server HD. I believe this is what you mean by "archive" data.

 

Bottom line - how do I do this with minimal/newbie exposure to Retrospect and little knowledge of insider terms? I do not want to lose access or referrence data on the 9 archival tapes, and I want my stuff on the server HD on the backup HD in a form I can use in emergency situations. The backup HDs are connected via ATA and are external; we have 2, but are swapped weekly and taken offsite in case of theft, fire, etc. We want to swap them without have to make a new backup script - just plug in the other backup HD and it works without issue.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Quote:

I posted several times to this forum over the past few days and it might be due to a lack of activity/interest on this board, but I didn't really get any responses.

 


I'm sorry that the substantial time I spent trying to help and providing a lengthy response (above) didn't count. Good luck, I won't bother you again.

 

Russ

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My point was that in the first 24 hours, I got no responses. I appreciate your response, but the reason I was cataloging incorrectly was that no one took the time to help me do it correctly. Then I posted again, and got your response. I replied, matter-of-factly, and you act like you're all hurt about it. I'm frustrated with the apathy of other members, but since you took the time to respond previously, why act like a jerk and not respond to my follow-up? I'm sorry if you took my response to be an insult - it's not - I am lost on this damned Retrospect and frustrated with the inability to get assistance.

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I have been really busy building the new forum, so I haven't had time to post like I normally would.

 

Keep in mind that while this is a user to user forum, the best and fastest way to get direct technical support is to call EMC. http://www.emcinsignia.com/contactsupport

 

We can quickly and easily answer all questions about doing a catalog rebuild.

 

The "users" in the forum reply because they use Retrospect enough to speak from direct experience. Not everyone who reads the forum will be an expert of each topic, so they may not reply.

 

 

Have you watched the training videos? http://www.emcinsignia.com/video

 

The videos are a great resource to learn how different parts of the software work.

 

As far as the post from Russ. I think he was upset by the phrase "but I didn't really get any responses", when he did actually reply. The "tone" of a post can sometimes be just as important (and harder to write) then the content itself.

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I understood what his issue was. I thought the tone of my response was fine. I only meant to imply that I got involved in doing the wrong thing because I didn't have any response within 28 hours and I needed to do something to resolve my issue. I said "but I didn't really get any responses," which I thought implied that prior to his reply no one helped me, so I got involved in the wrong thing. I wasn't saying I discarded his/her response. I thought the reply I received in return was uncalled for. I also said clearly several times I am using Retrospect 6 and I keep getting links for Retrospect 7 and 7.5 (on this and another post), so either a) no 6 documentation exists that I can be pointed to, B) 6 works EXACTLY the same as 7 or c) no one is really reading my posts. I post on Preps and Rampage forums and never get chastised the way I do on this forum; it has really soured my experience with Retrospect. I know it's the industry leader in backups, but right now I really wish there were another way.

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Back to your last post. I had to read it a few times, but I think I now understand what you are asking.

 

It looks like you would like to take data from the hard disk and put it on tape 10.

 

Is the data on the hard disk in the original Windows format (created with the duplicate) or is the data on the hard disk in a Retrospect backup format (.rdb) files?

 

Data in the original format would simply be backed up to the tape backup set using the "normal" option.

 

Data in a Retrospect format would need to be copied using the Backup Set Transfer option under Tools

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No. No. No. (sadly shakes head...)

 

Let's try this again from scratch. My communication skills must be terribly lacking.

 

There are two things going on here. 1) Retrospect is no longer functioning to do nightly or weekly backups. 2) Old data is already on 9 AIT tapes and I need access to them.

 

To begin, Retrospect 6 is running on a server with a 250GB internal HD. It is called S1SERVER. All current "live" working files are stored on S1SERVER and accessed frequently by the entire office. This data needs to be backed up or duplicated nightly to an external ATA 500GB HD. We use Retrospect to do this. It was configured to write data incrementally nightly (my understanding of this process is that it only updates with new or altered files). This data is supposed to be written to the 500 GB HD. On Fridays, it doesn't do the incremental - it is supposed to be everything - all data backed-up or duplicated from S1SERVER to the external 500GB ATA HD. It uit doing this - we don't know why. It gives an error message that seems to imply it is out of disk space, but in reality it is not. It seems to work if you manually map the drive and create a new folder, but otherwise it does not run on it's own. I have looked at the "active" processes and they are set to run daily/nightly and are current.

 

Every other week, on Mondays after the weekend, we have a twin 500GB external ATA HD we want to swap. This way we always have our data a week behind off site in case of catastrophic emergency. On the swap, it never "sees" the new drive. We want this swap to be seamless; right now it is clearly not.

 

Those describe the first issue. The second is to follow:

 

S1SERVER has an AIT tape drive. We have archived data to 9 different cataloged tapes. We use the "find file" feature of Retrospect to access old data from archived tapes. This data only exists on tape and needs access on a frequent basis. Whatever changes we make to our setup, we still need to be able to access this data. Soon, we will be writing tape 10 with new data to be archived. I understand "archive" to mean it is permanently removed from S1SERVER and put on tape 10. Retrospect needs to know what is on these 9 (soon 10) AIT tapes and we have to be able to find and retrieve data relatively quickly. This part works currently - I just don't want to lose any of this access with any changes we make to problem 1. I also want to make certain that when we create archive tape 10, Retrospect will know what it is on tape 10 when we try to "find file" search for it.

 

I know I am probably not using the correct terms or Retrospect "slang," but I am trying desperately to explain what our issues are and what we are trying to do.

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Quote:


It gives an error message that seems to imply it is out of disk space, but in reality it is not.

 


 

What is the exact message being reported?

 

Quote:


It seems to work if you manually map the drive and create a new folder

 


 

What do you mean by "map the drive"? Is this backup drive plugged directly into the backup computer or are you accessing it over the network via filesharing? Typically a local external hard disk will have a drive letter and mapping the drive isn't needed.

 

What happens if you create a new backup set for the hard disk and start again.

 

You are running an older version of Retrospect, and the older version would not always handle free disk space correctly when writing to the hard disk. The current versions do a much better job.

 

 

Part 2

If you can search and access the existing 9 tape backup set, then this is good. Just do an immediate or scheduled archive to the existing tape backup set. It will just add the selected files to the selected backup set.

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Well, it was still cataloging when you replied. Immediately after completion, it decided to do its Friday Full Backup, which completed without error. Then it immediately launched into it's Monday incremental, which again completed without error. I decided to check it by letting it run last night for it's regular 10 PM incremental and it ran again without error, so I was unable to duplicate the error message and seemingly have resolved my issue. Thank you for the assistance.

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