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Remotely Viewing Logs/reports?

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Hi everyone,


Is there any way to access the Retrospect reports without using the Retrospect application to connect to the Retrospect engine? Ideally, I would like to generate the reports on-demand from a command line to some parsable format. I would then install a cron job which parses the files and emails me if e.g. a machine had not been backed up in a few days.


At present, the only way I can determine whether the Retrospect application/engine is running properly is either to physically sit at the machine it runs on or rely on receiving emails that something failed. The failure emails are also usually uninformative compared to the reports so any function to have reports emailed to me as above would be incredibly useful.

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Is there any way to access the Retrospect reports without using the Retrospect application to connect to the Retrospect engine?

Reports and past backups are contained in the Config80.dat file and so can only be accessed through Retrospect.


The operations log is basically a text file with certain special characters, so is semi-readable using a text app such as MSWord. However, each log entry is likely to appear to Word to be on a new page, so if your log file is large, Word may very well choke on it.


Retro 6 allowed users to export the log info as a tab-delimited text file, which was a nice feature.

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Guest Steve Maser

This iOS app can allow you to access the server log file remotely and seems to work fine with Retrospect 9.


(It's not exactly what you asked for, but it *is* a way to access something without the console app...)

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Thanks for the reply, Steve but I missed the name of that app.


Thanks for the information, twickland, it was very useful. Maybe Retrospect 9 will add the export to tab-delimited text file feature back in... but I won't be upgrading until it's well tested. In the meantime, I wrote a Python script to parse the file for terminal printing so I can read error messages from home. Next I'm going to write another script to create XML so I can run XSLT over it on our webserver.


In case this is useful to anyone else, here's the script I'm using for terminal printing. It does one particularly bad thing by stripping the high byte off the 16-bit characters but it works fine for me; our logs don't contain any strange characters and string conversion functions aren't the best in old versions of Python anyway.


import os, sys, re

maxchars = 32000
logfile = "operations_log.utx"
internalregex = re.compile("\$\0\[\0[^[]*?\]\0") 
entryregex = re.compile("\+.*?")

# Read from the log file
sz = os.path.getsize(logfile)
F = open(logfile, "r")
if maxchars < sz:
F.seek(sz - maxchars)
maxchars = sz
contents = F.read(maxchars)

# Remove all nested $[...] sections from the log 
lasts = None
while contents != lasts:
lasts = contents
contents = internalregex.sub("", contents)

# Remove high byte from string characters (Warning: this could break the string if it uses certain characters e.g. non-ASCII) 
contents = re.sub("\0", "", contents)

# Optional: Remove leading whitespace from lines 
contents = re.sub("\n\t+", "\n", contents)

# Entries seem to begin with a plus sign. Skip to the first full entry or use the entire string if no full entry exists.
contents = contents[contents.find("\n+")+1:]

# Print the file contents, highlighting entry headers in green
for line in contents.split("\n"):
if entryregex.match(line):
	print("\033[92m%s\033[0m" % line)

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I spent a few hours writing a script to help me remotely administer our Retrospect installation (v8.2.0.399). I'm pretty happy with the results. The script parses the log file, converting UTF-16 to ASCII, and throws away the $[...] comments as above. It then produces both a HTML table and a plaintext list of the most recent and the last successful runs for each job I'm interested in. Jobs that haven't run successfully in x number of days are marked as erroneous.


My webserver script prints the HTML table along with a date-decreasing series of log entries. The HTML table hyperlinks to their log entries.


A separate script runs as a cronjob every 12 hours and sends me a HTML/plaintext email with the HTML table and plaintext list with hyperlinks to the relevant logs.


This is an enormous improvement on the system I had before which involved being in the office and leaving my chair a lot. If this is something people would be interested in, let me know and I could check with my boss whether it's okay to make the scripts available.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finally got round to fixing the code up for public view. You can download it from here for the moment (I may move the location in the future):



There are three Python scripts: one parsing script which does most of the work, one executable script which emails a status summary of the log in HTML and plain text to admins, and one script to be added to a Python-driven webpage. An example of the webpage output (in Chrome) can be seen here:



The HTML table in the email looks similar to the screenshot.


The method used to check whether a script has passed is simplistic at present. You define a list of scripts and the expected frequency at the bottom of retrospect.py as described in the readme file. A value of 1 means daily, 7 means weekly, etc. Ideally, you could give it a more descriptive schedule e.g. 'every day from Monday to Friday' or 'on Sunday'. This shouldn't be difficult and is the reason for the Script class but I didn't have the time or need to implement it.


If you have any problems or suggestions, feel free to let me know.

Edited by oconchus
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