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137491F96C428DE1E040000A2A666149

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  1. I was recently given the opportunity to evaluate the suitability of an older LTO 2 tape robot for a small video trailer house. These libraries are available on eBay for 5 to 10 K, but software packages from other companies cost in the 10's of thousands of dollars even for a small setup. Retrospect looked like a good alternative, since it appears to do the same if not more for about $1,600.00. I got the licenses, set up the server edition on an HP xw8200 with built in dual 320 ultra SCSI to connect to the tape library, and I set up a fiber channel disk array for fast storage locally, and a gig-ethernet local network with a couple of Mac clients for testing backup performance. I have the cpu running Windows 2008 server. I was able to connect and see the library and LTO drives in Retrospect, but could not get any backups to initiate. I began to try and get support from the retrospect team and discovered that when it came to tape libraries and configuration, I was TOTALLY on my own. There is no phone support unless you pay per incident, which is pretty amazing, after purchasing sixteen hundred dollars worth of software SPECIFICALLY for running a tape library. I opened support tickets, provided detailed information on configuration, setup and tests tried, including screen shots and detailed step by step actions. I would get back lame written repiles which clearly showed that the support person spent only seconds reviewing my case, and would often suggest I try something I had already indicated I HAD tried. So I took another tack, and got some evaluation licenses for Symmantec Backup Exec. I got everything set up, could recognize the library and media, and seemed ready to go. I ran into issues initiating backups here as well, but unlike Retrospect, which would just hang and never start, I got the error message "wrong media type". What I discovered is that the LTO 2 media I had been provided for the LTO 2 drives in the library had been barcoded with LTO 3 barcodes, and the library refused to put the media int the drives, thinking they were the wrong type of LTO tape. After removing the barcodes, I was able to do backups on Symmantec Backup Exec, and got an idea of the performance of this product. I wasn't too happy with two things, however. The overall throughput on backup, and the inability of Symmantec Backup Exec to use multiple drives on one backup simultaneously. It would do multiple separate jobs to the 3 drives I had in the library, but each job was limited to the speed of one drive. So I came back to Retrospect and took another shot at it. Initially the library was not recognized, until I got rid of all the custom Symmantec drivers for the LTO drives and the Library. I noticed that even with the Microsoft drivers, which allowed the Library and drives to be seen by Retrospect, that it still didn't allow hardware compression, which I believed would be crucial to acheiving my highest performance. After some digging around on the IBM website, I was able to find win64 bit drivers for my LTO drives, which when installed, enabled the use of hardware compression. Right off the bat I found several features of Retrospect that made my life much easier: 1) Using the client application for remote computers allowed me to very easily setup Mac clients to be backed up. Something that was very troublesome in Symmantec Backup Exec., which required setting up SMB on the macs, and setting up shares in the windows workgroup, which kept disconnecting and having to be re-authenticated. 2) Performance of remote backups over my Gig-E network were also about 30 percent faster with Retrospect. 3) The performance of backing up the high speed Fiber array was also notably faster with Retrospect as well. As much as 50% faster. I have run into a few additional issues, one of which I hope to get resolved with Tech Support, and the other which someone may be able to provide help on. a) Retrospect seems to be locking out the use of the mailbox slot on the ADIC Scalar 100. This is someting I had no trouble with using on Symmantec Backup Exec. Retrospect will not allow me to move tapes to the Input/Output slot (Mailbox), and I cannot find any custom commands to help me do this. Anyone have experience here that my be of assistance? My license manager says I have Advanced Tape Support, but I cannot get retrospect to use my librarie's multiple LTO drives in parallel on a single backup job, a feature detailed on the website as the capability provided by Advanced Tape Support. (I will note that I can do multiple single jobs simultaneously, a feature the website details is included without Advanced Tape Support.) Any ideas on my issues above would be greatly appreciated, as well as help geting useful information out of the seemingly useless support system Retrospect currently utilizes. Thaks, Dave Burbank, CA
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