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Portable Firewire Drives instead of Tape

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I need some help with backup strategy using portable firewire drives as backup media. Any help is greatly appreceated.


I had been using DDS-3 tape as my backup media/device until Retrospect inexplicably started choking on 206 errors (see other support threads). I've now abandoned hope of backing up to tape over SCSI, and am in the process of switching to portable firewire hard drives as my backup media. The firewire drives are relatively inexpensive, portable, faster than tape, and not much bigger. Most importantly, Retrospect doesn't choke on 206 errors when performing backups to hard disk.


The idea is to use the firewire drives similar to the way I used to use tape. My old tape backup system called for nightly backups using three sets of tape ("Backup Set 1", "Backup Set 2", and "Backup Set 3") rotated in a three week schedule:


Wk 1, Mon: Recycle Backup to Backup Set 1

Wk 1, Tue-Sun: Normal Backup to Backup Set 1


Wk 2, Mon: Recycle Backup to Backup Set 2

Wk 2, Tue-Sun: Normal Backup to Backup Set 2


Wk 3, Mon: Recycle Backup to Backup Set 3

Wk 3, Tue-Sun: Normal Backup to Backup Set 3


Wk 4, Mon: Recycle Backup to Backup Set 1

Wk 4, Tue-Sun: Normal Backup to Backup Set 1


Wk 5, Mon: Recycle Backup to Backup Set 2

Wk 5, Tue-Sun: Normal Backup to Backup Set 2




Tapes from the two backup sets that were not in use were stored off site (e.g., tape members of "Backup Set 2" and "Backup Set 3" were stored off site on weeks when "Backup Set 1" was being written to).


I'm having difficulty setting up a script to accomplish the same using firewire drives as the backup media instead of tape.


I created three new file backup sets ("Backup Set A", "Backup Set B", and "Backup Set C") one on each of three portable firewire drives. I set up a backup script and schedule, and thought all was well. Got an error, however, when I had Retrospect check the script. Error said:


"Script Test failed:

not ready: Can't access catalog for

backup set Backup Set B, error -43 (file/folder not found)."


I'm guessing that Retrospect requires all backup sets (A, B, and C) to be mounted for a script that backs up to file/hard disk (but does not with the same script backing up to tape).


I tried changing the three file backup sets to three removable disk backup sets, but got the same error. What am I missing? There should be a way to replicate my old tape backup strategy utilizing the portable firewire drives.


Thanks in advance for any help.

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You are correct. The script needs EVERY volume mounted when checking.


We have a similar setup as you. One hot-swappable enclosure w/ three different drives. We swap the drive every night and keep the other two unused drives in a fire safe.


The solutions for us were:


1. Make separate scripts for just one drive on a fixed schedule and MAKE SURE to swap the drives everyday.

2. Make a script that backups up to each of the drives and ignore the errors.


Since no one ever remembers to swap the drives on my days off - we are using solution 2. It looks for Drives A, B or C and will use whichever one is mounted.

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Thanks jbeek.


I went with your solution 1: three separate scripts, one for each portable firewire drive used as backup media.



1. a working work-around.



1. only one of the three scripts checks out as valid by Retrospect at any given time (the script that writes to the mounted drive).


2. each change in the backup routine (e.g., backup sources, destinations, selectors, options or schedule) requires editing three scripts, instead of just one).



Was not sure how to have (or if I wanted) Retrospect to ignore errors as posed in your solution 2.


Was hoping that someone would chime in with a "silver bullet" solution (i.e., one without any cons).


Barring that, it would be nice if Dantz would fix this limitation in Retrospect's functionality. Hard drives (in particular, portable firewire hard drives) are looking more and more like tape cassettes. They can, and are, being transported off site for safe storage just like tape. It would be nice if Retrospect treated portable hard drives more like tape when checking script validity.

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