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Glaring Problems With Exchange 2010

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Well I've tried out the demo, and after being a longtime Retrospect user for both Mac OS X Server and Windows Server 2003 and Exchange 2003, I have to say that I whole hearty cannot recommend using Retrospect with Exchange Server 2010. It is completely and utterly useless and is not a polished product; Exchange 2010 support feels rushed, unpolished and unrefined. Hopefully Roxio will fix these glaring issues that I have faced:


1: There is no documentation in the Retrospect manual on installation of Retrospect in an Exchange 2010 environment. The documentation that is buried in the Roxio KB is not straight-forward and required tech support calls. Thankfully the demo period allowed for free calls for 30 days. I'm not paying for phone support for bugs that are in your product.


2: Retrospect works perfectly fine as a straight-up file backup program. I love it and use it every day on my Windows 7 home PCs. It's when you try to start to use it in an Exchange environment where the faults creep up. As soon as I followed the instructions provided by the Roxio KB the server slowed down to a crawl. As soon as Retrospect comes up and is running in the background, you can immediately being to see the machine come to a screeching halt. The following happens:


*Ram usage skyrockets. The server goes from 7 or 8GB of free ram to only about 500MB of free ram. Retrospect is a major ram hog.

*Retrospect gets these annoying pauses; it literally will sit there and work; then it will pause (and appear to have crashed, even though it has not) and then will animate again. This happens whether or not it is backing up or not.

*Processor usage goes up; like by 20-40% even when Retrospect isn't backing anything up. I suspect this is because Retrospect is using MAPI to connect to the mailboxes and this is not fully supported by Microsoft anymore with Exchange 2010. Roxio needs to change this to VSS style backups and restores, ALA ArcServ or BackupEXE 2010 R3.

* I get errors in Retrospect claiming a fatal error occurred. It will randomly do this and then have to be quit; sometimes I have to reboot the server in order for it to be able to launch again. Unfortunately this error doesn't how up in the Application event log in Server 2008 R2 SP1, so I couldn't tell you what the error is.

*Performance, even on this high end server, is poor and almost unacceptable. I only get 300-600 Megabytes a minute for backups.

*Compatibility with SQL 2008 or 2008 R2, which is required for System Center 2010, is iffy.

*And the biggest issue is that after several days Retrospect caused the Server to become so unresponsive that I had to force quit Retrospect, stop all services and reboot the machine. Sometimes this would happen at 2am and ths is unacceptible. When the server would become like this Exchange, IIS and SQL would slow to a crawl and wouldn't accept any new connections. Basically the server would go down; not crash per say, but it wouldn't accept any new connections. The event log would complain about slow or inability for Exchange to access the disk. As soon as I stopped using Retrospect the issue never occurred again.

*Retrospect causes problems with Entourage 2008 Exchange Web Services edition. It causes issues with Calendar entries syncing with the server. A user will place a calendar entry in OWA or on their Windows Mobile or Android phone, it would sync with Exchange but it would then not sync always with the Entourage calendar. This would then require the user to constantly clar the cache in Entourage, and as many of you Mac user know, Entourage is very slow and a buggy program; this process on a PowerPC 1.5 GHz Mac Mini would take 2-3 hours to download locally on a gigabit LAN connection from the Exchange server. As soon as Retrospect was removed, guess what? No more calendar sync issues. I have not had any issues with Outlook 2011 for Mac SP1, but not all of our Macs are Intel Macs so unfortunately I cannot use that solution.



NONE of these issues are persistent on the Mac OS X version of Retrospect. This is surprising because usually Mac user's get the shaft compared to the Windows counterparts. Retrospect for Mac is much more polished and responsive.


My server isn't exactly slow and is enterprise grade components:

  • Dual AMD Opteron 4180 6 core processors
  • ASUS DCMA-K12 Dual Socket eATX motherboard
  • 16GB (4x4GB) Crucial DDR3-1333 Registered ECC ram Single Ranked modules
  • 4 Samsung Spinpoint F3R hard Drives, dual RAID 1
  • LSI 9240-8i PCI Express X8 Hardware RAID controller
  • Corsair Obsideon 800D eATX case
  • SeaSonic X750 80+ GOLD ATX EPS12V power supply.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Exchange 2010 SP1 Update 3.0


I sincerely hope Roxio is going to just re-build this application from the ground up. It needs large amounts of work for it to be Exchange 2010 ready. At this time I cannot recommend anyone spend a penny for Exchange 2010 support. Look into CA ArcSERV or (shudder) Backup Exec instead.


I am glad that Roxio is developing a new version as EMC just sat on Retrospect and let it rot.

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