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Pre-binding for New Media backups, and a Recycle Backup question

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I may be missing something, but can you only bind existing tape sets to drives? The problem I have is that we have multiple Backup Scripts, all of which are scheduled to automatically start a New Media set every week/month/quarter as appropriate to our backup policy.


We have two tape drives: a fast LTO for priority backups and a slow DLT1 for low-priority backups.


Inevitably, the New Media backups will happen on weekends as the amount of data being backed up can be time-consuming.


Now the problem...


I can't see a way to instruct which drive to use when a particular New Media backup happens. One would have hoped that, as the previous backup set in a series was bound to a drive, that the next incremented backup set would use that same drive, but it does not appear so. Hence, we come in and find that sometimes a new set was started on the wrong kind of tapes.


Can this be avoided?


Scheduling the New Media backups differently won't work, as I always have blank tapes in both drives at all times anyway, as spill-over tapes for active scripts. Plus, as the New Media backups happen at weekends, it would inevitably mean someone having to travel in just to put blank tapes in the other drive - not an option for us.


I don't want to have to remove the automatic New Media backup schedules, and resort to creating a New Media set manually each time, as this requires someone to remember to do it on the right date, and we have about lots of scripts, scheduled on different rotations: at the moment, we can see when a new set is coming up by looking in the Schedule tab for a New Media Backup entry. All we have to do is just make sure we have enough blank tapes in there.


Any suggestions?




Next follow-on point:


This is a new-ish implementation. Eventually we will hit the maximum number of backup sets we require for a script in accordance to its backup policy (for example, 3 x monthly rotated sets). At this point, we will change the New Media backups to Recycle Media backups and start cycling the existing media.


Now, when the backup sets are first started off, the first backup of each set is a New Media backup, resulting in the first set in a series that contains any data being called, for example, "Backup Set A [001]". The original backup set "Backup Set A" never gets any tapes added to it - it is created simply to allow us to add the series to Backup Scripts. We delete the original tape-less backup set once the first backup has run.


This is our preference, as it confuses people having the second set in a series called "[001]": if we state "we start backing up to the first set again tonight", they would expect [001] to be the first set, not a set with no suffix at all.


So here's the question...


When we start recycling media, will Retrospect go back to the "Backup Set A [001]" set, or will it expect there to be a "Backup Set A" set there and throw an error?




These are my "thinkers" for today.

Kind regards.

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Okay. I've done some lateral thinking and some experimenting.


I can get around the binding problem by creating all the backup sets in advance, manually naming them [001], [002], etc. That way, I can use the binding tab to force them onto the correct drive.


So, in my example, I have 4 groups of 3 sets, and those groups rotate every quarter:


Q1: Backup Set A [001], Backup Set B [001], Backup Set C [001] rotating daily

Q2: Backup Set A [002], Backup Set B [002], Backup Set C [002] rotating daily

Q3: Backup Set A [003], Backup Set B [003], Backup Set C [003] rotating daily

Q4: Backup Set A [004], Backup Set B [004], Backup Set C [004] rotating daily


I can add all 12 sets to the Backup Script, and start it off backing up on [001] group.


Now the new problem...




I was hoping that a Recycle Backup would automatically recycle the media of the next incremented backup set: e.g. if the [001] set is active, it would reset the members in the [002] and start using that.


If the last set was active (in my example, this would be [004]), then it returns to the [001] set again.


It would then adjust the script so that all future backups are going to the newly-cycled set.


In other words, I'd hoped that it would do everything a New Media backup does, except that it cycles through existing sets, rather than starting a brand new one.


This, to my mind, would be sensible behaviour.


However, it appears that if I run a Recycle Media backup against a set, although it will reset and use that set for that specific backup, it doesn't then adjust the existing script to use that set for all future backups.


This leaves me with two problems:


* I can schedule the Recycle Backups within Retrospect, although it is a little clunky as I have to schedule it specifically for each of the [001] to [004] groups. So for the 4 groups of A-C sets on quarterly rotation, I schedule 4 x 3 Recycle Backups, each offset by 13 weeks (one quarter) on 52 weekly occurences, moving each A-C set from the [001] through to [004] sets. This means I have to do 12 entries for this backup alone, as opposed to just 3 entries on 13 week occurences, if Recycle Backup was a more intelligent feature.


* I also have to manually edit the scripts after each Recycle Media event to move each of the scripts onto the newly recycled set. This will be time-consuming as it will involve editing upwards of forty separate entries across all our scripts.




So I suppose the short version of this post is that I can resolve my original problem with binding, but it's a clunky workaround that requires a lot of constant editing and administration.


Any better ideas out there?

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Using version 6.5 Multi Server.


What's the official line in terms of implementing what I'm trying to do?


The way I'm trying to do this is to keep running New Media backups until I have the number of sets I require to rotate (e.g. 5 sets for a script that is on a quarterly rotation, requiring a minimum of 1 year's retrieval at any one time), and then to start doing Recycle Backups onto the existing media (starting with the first set again) once that number is reached.


Is this how Dantz/EMC envisage this being accomplished? Or would you suggest I just keep doing New Media backups, but erase and reuse the media from the oldest sets as we exceed our maximum retrieval limit: although I don't see how you could ever each an end on the numbering sequence for the sets being created (potentially going into the 000's over enough time, especially on those sets on weekly/monthly rotation).


Advice would be gratefully received, as it will be easier for me to alter this backup regime now whilst it's fresh, rather than further down the line.


Kind regards.

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Your plan (run new media backups till you have enough sets then start reusing them) is fine. This would be handy if you have lots of sets to create. If you are really only making 5 sets you might just want to make them ahead of time anyway and not worry about the new media backups.




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This will require a little manual labor every time you change tapes but it will also solve your binding problem. You won't have to schedule recycles either.


Create a dummy script in Retrospect:

Source = up a single folder containing at least one file.

Destination = _all_ of your backup sets.

Schedule = none


Any time you insert either a blank tape or a tape that needs to be recycled, select the dummy script from the "Run" menu at the top of the Retrospect screen, choose recycle backup, choose the apropriate set name and hit execute now.


If the tape is blank Retrospect will use the tape in the proper drive and give it a name so the real backup will automatically use that tape later. No more binding necessary.


If the tape just needs to be recycled the dummy script will take care of that leaving the set ready to recieve new data when the real script runs.


This manual procedure will be a part of your regular tape rotation but it will be quick and easy. You won't have to schedule any recycles and you won't have to bind any media.


Would something like that work for you?




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