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curioffl

Proactive Backup Failing poorly - turn off auto-checking of "Skip this Member"?

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I have a Proactive Backup that writes to a network drive. That drive's connection has some trouble blipping out now and then. My hope was that because of the nature of the Proactive Backup it would go into "awaiting media" mode till the end of its allotted time, force a stop, and then resume the next night on its own. This seems to have been the case a couple of times but then I noticed that it had actually stopped running at all.

 

It seems that at some point a disappearance of the drive caused Retrospect to automatically check "Skip this member" for the backup set's only member, which caused the proactive backup to never resume.

 

The last mail it sent out was 'error -116 (volume doesn't exist)' (which is better so far than a 'regular' backup to the same drive which often sends no mail at all when it fails, and keeps the client locked to other backups till it gets discovered) but is there any way to turn off 'auto check skip this member'? If it would have checked the next night, it would have found the NAS online again.

 

Curio

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You seems to be trying to fix the symptoms rather than the illness.

Fix your network and/or the network drive and you don't have to "fix" stuff in Retrospect, stuff that isn't intended to be "fixed".

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Does anyone have an actual suggestion?

 

-

 

Even in a perfect network there are possibilities with any kind of off-box storage like someone rebooting the NAS without knowing that the backup software is writing to it right now, etc.

 

Off-site backups are what my customers want and will expect me to have in the event of a fire at my facility (and of course, the want me to be as cheap as dirt too, that's just the way). A hard-drive backup on a computer/NAS somewhere else really seems perfect. But I seem to be compiling a growing list of conditions that can cause Retrospect to stop making backups altogether, and not send warnings.

 

I like Retrospect enough that I have recommended/resold it a number of times, but I am increasingly having to babysit these resales even though I think that they are being implemented quite reasonably... including off-site NASes, or 'just do a backup to that creaky old box' types of things... which would be fine if it would only send mail instead of just sending up a login prompt (in the case of traditional backups) or not just decide "oh, that NAS got turned off, I guess I'll stop making backups to it forever" without warning.

 

My customers have trusted me to recommend them a stable low-maintenance solution for their backups, and (because Retrospect has worked so well for me) I have told them about this product. As I see it in different environments and configurations though, I am becoming increasingly worried that a day not spent checking on backups is a day you may very well not have backups... which is fundamentally the problem with using NTBackup, which is built-in and free... but dangerously unreliable unless constantly checked.

 

I really don't think that it is so unreasonable for a backups software to have a "don't automatically stop taking backups without warning" regedit somewhere.

 

Curio

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I sold Retrospect too when I was a consultant. It has some really great features, but it is high maintenance relative to other backup solutions. In one way, this is good... you never want backups to be failing silently, and Retrospect will highlight each and every little hiccup in the system. Unfortunately, it does not do a great job at distinguishing intelligently between "temporary hiccup" and "something really bad is happening"... thus the "high maintenance" aspect.

 

The basic problem you are having is that Retrospect just hasn't been designed to work well over a WAN of any kind (where there are glitches). It works well with backup clients on a hardwired LAN and directly-attached backup storage- that configuration was the norm when the current incarnation of Retrospect was built, and EMC is just not putting the resources into moving it into the new world of detached / WAN-connected storage (at least on the windows version). Some people do make it work with those configurations, but it requires extremely high quality networking and careful procedures (like making sure the NAS isn't rebooted from underneath it).

 

My suggestion is that you consider backing up to a local volume and then synchronizing that backup set offsite via rsync or something that does block-level differencing and is designed to deal with the vagaries of WAN connectivity.

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Thank you for the suggestion Mr. Dana. Do you happen to have any recommendations for alternative backup software generally? (I also babysit two different implementations of Veritas, and have never been terribly impressed with it either - particularly where disconnecting network drives are concerned. Veritas has a number of other issues too, for most uses I consider Retrospect much better, but neither is good at dealing with the realities of remote hard drives... which otherwise seem like such a simple/cheap/and increasingly common solution).

 

You mention that EMC appears not to be investing in Retrospect for the realities of current and future sensible backup schemes. So who is?

 

Thank you.

 

Curio

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Do you happen to have any recommendations for alternative backup software generally

Sorry guys. This is a Retrospect backup forum. If you want to recommend other software, please email each other directly....

 

I do not agree with the above implication that EMC is not investing in Retrospect. We just released the most advanced backup program for the Macintosh and we have new windows release scheduled.

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For the specific job I've got, which is backing up a network of windows-based workstations and servers, I don't think there's a better tool than Retrospect. In environments where there is meaningful data on end-user machines, the combination of the "unlimited" client licensing, proactive backup and incremental-centric backup sets is killer. We back up every bit on our network (other than temp files and such), and can recover any machine from scratch in case of a drive failure without reinstalling and rebuilding, and it didn't cost an arm and a leg. There's tremendous value in being able to put a machine back to exactly the way the user had it... so many IT professionals disregard the productivity loss when someone is given a "clean" computer and has to recustomize / repersonalize it to their needs. There are other tools that do pieces, but Retrospect is the only solution I know that brings it all together, for this specific need.

 

Robin, your service on this forum is a tremendous credit to the product and your company. There are so many useless vendor-run support forums monitored by L1 overseas technicians with no real knowledge outside what's written in the KB. I can't tell you how many times I've run into a problem and found the answer here, and I really appreciate that.

 

But... (you knew this was coming) while I didn't suggest that EMC isn't investing in Retrospect at all, the Windows product has stagnated (just as the Mac product did before it). I could write a laundry list of all of the longstanding issues that haven't been addressed that make my life as a Retrospect administrator difficult on a daily basis, but I've done that before, so there's no point to rehashing it. I'm glad to hear that there's a windows release scheduled... there hasn't been anything about it on the blog, and without knowing about it or what is coming it's kinda difficult to get excited when I've got yet another backup set rebuild to run that's going to hold up my weekly offsite tape transfer.

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I'm having the 'error -116' issue with an Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive. I have the issue whether or not I have the drive directly connected to the Retrospect computer or if I have the Iomega "NAS" hooked up through a hub. I've had the issue with two different drives and I've been working the issue with Iomega as a hard drive issue.

 

At the same time, I've have flawless backups for the last week using Retrospect by backing up to a 1TB FireWire-connected WD My Book Home Edition drive. I've also had great success backing up with Retrospect over the LAN using the same 1TB My Book as a shared drive hooked up to my laptop.

 

Also at the same time, I've been able to torture-test my Iomega NAS without any notable issues over the same time period, so I'm quickly getting to the realization that it's an interaction between Retrospect and the Iomega network drive.

 

Hope the previously mentioned Windows update is right around the corner and will contain a fix for this.

Edited by Guest
hijacked another thread

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As a follow-up to my previous post re: the "116 error", I've been working with Iomega support and they provided me with copies of Iomega QuikProtect and RetrospectExpress HD 2.5. Both of these products also are having trouble with my network drive.

 

Retrospect 7.6 has been working flawlessly with a different drive for over a week, even when that drive is connected via a network share.

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The Express HD is based off the same code as Retrospect 7.6 but the QuickProtect shares no code at all. If 2 different programs have trouble, then it isn't the software, it is the computer or the drive.

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