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How to create backup to new disk, every day?


BillClark22
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Running Retrospect Desktop v9 and wanting to do something that I think should be simple, but haven't got it figured out yet.  Here's the setup:

-Retrospect software on network-attached workstation

-Several network shares on an external NAS

-Backup devices are external USB 3.0 drives (x11) Split into two sets (Set1-Monday.....Set1-Friday, Set2-Monday...Set2-Friday)

-All data written to be AES-256bit encrypted

 

I want to setup a backup script/job that will copy ALL the folders/files from the network shares to the current external drive that is attached.  Each day a new external drive would be attached replacing the previous nights drive.  Ideally, I would like to be able to re-use each set twice per month, so I have a full months worth of backup.  For example:

MonthWeek1 - Use Set1-Monday through Friday (overwrite media)

MonthWeek2 - Use Set2-Monday through Friday (overwrite media)

MonthWeek3 - Use Set1-Monday through Friday (append to media)

MonthWeek4 - Use Set2-Monday through Friday (append to media)

 

At start of following month, start the process over.  If this can't be done, then at the very least I want to overwrite the media every night (and I'll just purchase more drives).

 

This all has to be done automatically.....I can't manually add members or sets or whatever as these jobs will need to run late at night and early in the morning.  Can anyone help out with this?  Really need this to happen ASAP or I just need to cut my loses and find a different backup software.  Thanks!

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How will you manage the unused disks in MonthWeek1 when the month starts after Monday?

 

Your proposed scheme only allows for twenty-eight days (four weeks) of backups per month. How do you plan to handle the eleven months of the year that have thirty and thirty-one days?

 

Retrospect can handle some very complex schedules. However if you want this to be fully automatic the simpler you can make it the better — especially if you are relying on a user to change a disk daily (and use the right one).

 

What is your make and model of NAS? Some allow for the installation of apps on them to facilitate the backup of data from shares to externally connected USB/eSATA/Thunderbolt drives.

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Not too worried about those exact details, if I need another day or two on a disk due to a longer month, then the disks have plenty of space compared to what is being backed up.  Or I simply buy more disks and just work them into the schedule as needed.  I really just need Retrospect to do an full backup, every day either appending data to an existing disk, or overwriting what is on the disk.  That is my hangup right now.  I thought I had the script set correctly, but it keeps asking for a new member after the first night when I have a new disk attached.

The NAS is a Lenovo/Iomega unit.  I've used the copy/backup that it has built-in before and it isn't very reliable or good.  Thanks!

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I only use a NAS with Retrospect for my backup sets so can't help with regards to media rotation and requests for USB drives.

 

With your proposed scheme it can never be fully automatic because there will need to be manual intervention at the beginning and end of the month to deal with the unused disks. If you go for a schedule which uses a fixed number of weeks and ignores calendar months then the schedule will be simpler and the need to handle exceptions of part weeks will be avoided.

 

Example: Suppose the current month starts on a Wednesday. When you come to MonthWeek3 then the Monday and Tuesday disks will still have backups from the previous month because there was no overwrite of the media in the current month.

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I think we are getting caught up in the actual management and rotation of the media, I'll manage that however works best.  Let's simplify things a bit.  How do I create a backup job, that will automatically write out the same, full data sets to new disk media every time it is run without intervention or prompting for adding new members or media sets.  If I need to prep media sets or members prior, I'm ok with that.  I just want the end-user to disconnect one drive, and hook up another and that's it for intervention.  Can that be done?  Thanks again for your time and input on this!

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For the scheme I use, see the second paragraph of this post.  For the reasoning behind the scheme, which IMHO is rather similar to what you want to do, see the third paragraph.

 

In case it's not obvious how I schedule my scheme:  I have two scheduled scripts;  "Sat. Backup" does a Recycle backup (I'll use the Retrospect Windows terminology here) every Saturday, and "Sun.-Fri. Backup" does a Normal backup every Sunday through Friday.  Each of these scripts has three schedules; each schedule repeats at three-week intervals and specifies a different one of my three Backup Sets.

 

For example early yesterday morning 22 July, which was a Friday, the last daily run of "Sun.-Fri. Backup" ran using Backup Set Blue.  After checking the log to see if there were any unexpected  compare errors, I detached G-DRIVE Blue from the USB3 cable on my Retrospect "backup server" machine and put it on a little table inside the door to my apartment.  From that same table I then I picked up G-DRIVE Red, and attached it to the USB3 cable on my Retrospect "backup server" machine.  Later yesterday I walked over to my bank branch with G-DRIVE Blue in my pocket, handed my safe deposit box key to a bank employee so she could open my safe deposit box, put G-DRIVE Blue into the box and pulled out G-DRIVE White from it, and walked back to my apartment with G-DRIVE White in my pocket.  Now G-DRIVE White is sitting on the little table inside the door to my apartment, ready for me to swap it for G-DRIVE Red on the "backup server" this coming Friday morning, and also ready for me to temporarily attach to the "backup server" in case I want to restore an obsolete file that was backed up Saturday through Friday two weeks ago (if I wanted an obsolete file created last week, I'd have to retrieve G-DRIVE Blue from my safe deposit box).  Meanwhile, as I write this, "Sat. Backup" is doing a Recycle backup of the fourth of my six drives—from another "client" machine.

 

I chose the Backup Set names Red and White and Blue because I was raised as a patriotic American, singing "Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue".  If you've got another set of names whose sequence you can remember, use those names—such as successive names from the NATO Phonetic Alphabet—instead for your Backup Sets.  I suggest you adopt my scheme, but have five weekly Backup Sets instead of three so you will always have more than a month of backups.  

 

If you instead try to implement some version of the scheme you proposed in your OP, then "Using the Repeating Interval Scheduler" on page 245 of the Retrospect Windows 11 User's Guide is your only friend—but you can at least be aided by what I have described in my second paragraph above about Recycle and Normal backups.  After a quick intentionally-aborted Console experiment with adding a schedule to a script that doesn't have one, it looks to me as if you would have to have 31 schedules for your single script—one for each possible day of the calendar month. 

 

I've still "got all my marbles", so I don't need to remind myself which day of the week it is.  However I'm sure Retrospect Windows has the ability to send your end-user an e-mail if a scheduled backup fails to run because the correct drive was not attached to the "backup server".  I suspect it may also have the ability to send a reminder-to-switch-the-Backup-drive e-mail to your end-user ahead of time.  However I'll leave it to Retrospect Forums posters familiar with Retrospect's e-mailing capabilities to advise you on that.

 

Good luck!

 

P.S.: Split fourth paragraph into two paragraphs, with new fifth paragraph suggesting inelegant way Bill Clark could do what he said in his OP he wants. 

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I think we are getting caught up in the actual management and rotation of the media, I'll manage that however works best.

But media management and schedule are linked. The schedule relies on pre-defined media management for it to execute successfully and the user's execution of the pre-defined media management governs whether the schedule works or not. Both have to be considered together. The "I'll sort that out when I need to" approach with backups can cause big problems down the line when a restore is needed.

 

I just want the end-user to disconnect one drive, and hook up another and that's it for intervention.

For this to have any chance to work the user in charge of changing the drive must ensure the drive is properly logically disconnected in Windows before physically disconnecting it. Failure to do so can result in the next drive to be connected becoming irrevocably corrupted because the previous drive was not properly disconnected.

 

If you want something simple and reliable with minimal user intervention then the scheme suggested by David Hertzberg is a good starting point.

 

 

If you instead try to implement some version of the scheme you proposed in your OP, then "Using the Repeating Interval Scheduler" on page 245 of the Retrospect Windows 10 User's Guide is your only friend—but you can at least be aided by what I have described in my second paragraph above about Recycle and Normal backups.  After a quick intentionally-aborted Console experiment with adding a schedule to a script that doesn't have one, it looks to me as if you would have to have 31 schedules for your single script—one for each possible day of the calendar month.

Another potential pitfall of having so many schedules for one script is when one scheduled event does not complete Retrospect will wait until that scheduled event can be completed before moving onto the next event. At that point user intervention is required to get the schedule back on track.

 

However I'm sure Retrospect Windows has the ability to send your end-user an e-mail if a scheduled backup fails to run because the correct drive was not attached to the "backup server".  I suspect it may also have the ability to send a reminder-to-switch-the-Backup-drive e-mail to your end-user ahead of time.  However I'll leave it to Retrospect Forums posters familiar with Retrospect's e-mailing capabilities to advise you on that.

Retrospect (Professional or Desktop) on Windows has from my experience the ability to send e-mails for:

  • Application start and exit (Retrospect is a single application on Windows so no separate engine and console.)
  • Media requests (e.g Current media full and waiting for user response.)
  • Backup successful
  • Backup failures (e.g. Network communication problems during client backup.)
  • Backup progress events (e.g. Automatic grooming of a disk backup set during backup to free more space, Windows VSS errors and warnings.)

I'm not aware of any way for Retrospect [in Professional or Desktop] to send an e-mail to prompt the user for the media required for the next scheduled event. The nearest you could get would be to habituate on change the media to the next required on receipt of the backup successfully completed e-mail.

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....

 

For this to have any chance to work the user in charge of changing the drive must ensure the drive is properly logically disconnected in Windows before physically disconnecting it. Failure to do so can result in the next drive to be connected becoming irrevocably corrupted because the previous drive was not properly disconnected.

 

If you want something simple and reliable with minimal user intervention then the scheme suggested by David Hertzberg is a good starting point.

 

 

Another potential pitfall of having so many schedules for one script is when one scheduled event does not complete Retrospect will wait until that scheduled event can be completed before moving onto the next event. At that point user intervention is required to get the schedule back on track.

 

....

 

I'm not aware of any way for Retrospect [in Professional or Desktop] to send an e-mail to prompt the user for the media required for the next scheduled event. The nearest you could get would be to habituate on change the media to the next required on receipt of the backup successfully completed e-mail.

 

 

First of all, I'm not sure I understand why either of the Backup drives has to be disconnected, unless Bill Clark's end-user is going to take the drive containing yesterday's Backup Set off-site.  If s/he isn't going to do that, then Bill Clark can simply leave both Backup drives connected to his "backup server"; Retrospect (at least the Mac version) will just write to today's Backup drive, and ignore yesterday's drive.  If Bill Clark only has one available USB port on his "backup server", he should buy a hub.  If OTOH s/he is going to take yesterday's Backup drive off-site, Bill Clark simply has to train his end-user to bring back yesterday's drive tomorrow, reconnect it, and put today's drive in his/her pocket to go off-site.

 

I should add that, unless Bill Clark's end-user lives in the states of New South Wales or Victoria in Australia—where there's a constant danger of the whole workplace burning down, I think it would be sufficient to simply have the "backup server" computer on the same LAN but in a room distant from the one the end-user's computer is in—thus protecting the data from room flooding as I do. Moving a Backup drive off-site once a week IMHO is adequate protection against the remote danger of the whole workplace burning down.

 

Secondly, Scillonian,  are you saying that when Bill Clark's end-user—using the 31-schedule approach for his script—comes to the beginning of October, the October 1st schedule will not run without intervention because the September 31st schedule did not run?  If so, IMHO Retrospect Inc. should treat that as a bug and fix it.

 

Finally, as Scillonian says, end-user habituation (not superstition per Stevie Wonder) is the way.

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First of all, I'm not sure I understand why either of the Backup drives has to be disconnected, unless Bill Clark's end-user is going to take the drive containing yesterday's Backup Set off-site.  If s/he isn't going to do that, then Bill Clark can simply leave both Backup drives connected to his "backup server"; Retrospect (at least the Mac version) will just write to today's Backup drive, and ignore yesterday's drive.  If Bill Clark only has one available USB port on his "backup server", he should buy a hub.  If OTOH s/he is going to take yesterday's Backup drive off-site, Bill Clark simply has to train his end-user to bring back yesterday's drive tomorrow, reconnect it, and put today's drive in his/her pocket to go off-site.

 

From Bill Clark's original post this is eleven (11) drives split between two sets of five (5). (Yes, I know 2*5=10 — perhaps 11 is a spare.) Every weekday a disk will be swapped. User has to remember the week of the month and the day of the week.

 

Secondly, Scillonian,  are you saying that when Bill Clark's end-user—using the 31-schedule approach for his script—comes to the beginning of October, the October 1st schedule will not run without intervention because the September 31st schedule did not run?  If so, IMHO Retrospect Inc. should treat that as a bug and fix it.

 

Bill Clark's proposal will require at least ten (10) backup sets if not more. Each one is going to need a script with appropriate schedules.

 

I see the problems arising when after a backup the disk is not replaced with the next one. When the time arrives for the next backup it cannot run because the media is not present so by default Retrospect will wait until the media is present indefinitely. Because the Desktop and Professional versions of Retrospect only have a single execution unit nothing more can happen until the media problem is solved. At this point user intervention is required to supply the correct media to allow the backup to run or abort the backup and ensure the correct media is available for the next scheduled backup so normal service can resume.

 

This is why I like the simplicity of your scheme as a starting point. It is tolerant, within reason, to a late media change and it is easy to identify which is the next media in the rotation.

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From Bill Clark's original post this is eleven (11) drives split between two sets of five (5). (Yes, I know 2*5=10 — perhaps 11 is a spare.) Every weekday a disk will be swapped. User has to remember the week of the month and the day of the week.

 

 

Bill Clark's proposal will require at least ten (10) backup sets if not more. Each one is going to need a script with appropriate schedules.

 

I see the problems arising when after a backup the disk is not replaced with the next one. When the time arrives for the next backup it cannot run because the media is not present so by default Retrospect will wait until the media is present indefinitely. Because the Desktop and Professional versions of Retrospect only have a single execution unit nothing more can happen until the media problem is solved. At this point user intervention is required to supply the correct media to allow the backup to run or abort the backup and ensure the correct media is available for the next scheduled backup so normal service can resume.

 

This is why I like the simplicity of your scheme as a starting point. It is tolerant, within reason, to a late media change and it is easy to identify which is the next media in the rotation.

 

Your first paragraph is absolutely correct, Scillonian; I did not comprehend Bill Clark's OP from the correct point of view.  However, this does not invalidate the point I made in the first paragraph of mine that you quote in your first paragraph, about being able to leave multiple Backup Set USB3 drives connected to the "backup server" machine.  10-port USB3 hubs are available for US$40 to $60 (just make sure all 10 ports can connect to a drive, instead of some ports only being usable for charging).  Finding a little rack to place 10 drives on is left as a Google exercise for Bill Clark.

 

However, while now re-reading Bill Clark's OP, I have thought about his point of view—why he is trying to implement his 10-Backup-Set scheme.  It seems to me that Bill Clark must be trying to deal with an end-user who keeps updating the same files over and over without changing their names, but who needs to occasionally recover file X as of a particular day in the past month.  Bill Clark, can you please confirm or deny that this is what your 10-Backup-Set scheme is trying to deal with?

 

AFAIK, Retrospect (at least for Mac) allows the end-user to do this very simply from his/her client machine—without his 10-Backup-Set scheme.  Just now on Wednesday 27 July I booted my Mac Pro "backup server", and then clicked the Retrospect icon on my MacBook Pro client's menu bar and selected "Restore Files..." from the resultant drop-down.  This gave me a "Restore Files and Folders" window, which itself has a drop-down just to the right of "Select the file or folder you would like to restore".  That drop-down lists date-drive lines (the drive being the Macintosh HD on my Macbook Pro) for each daily backup since last Saturday 23 July—when I ran a Recycle "Sat. Backup" of all my drives onto Backup Set Red—plus date-drive lines for the last backup to each of my other two Backup Sets.  I selected 15 July from that drop-down, and then selected an innocuous file (a Food Diary from several years ago) from the resultant hierarchical window of files to be restored.  The drop-down from the Retrospect icon on my menu bar said "waiting for restore", so after several minutes I went to my "backup server".  The Retrospect Console there showed a Restore activity that was "waiting for media"—specifically Backup Set White.  I could actually have connected the Backup Set White drive—which is sitting on the little table near my apartment door waiting to be Recycled this coming Saturday—to the "backup server", but instead I just canceled the Restore activity on the "backup server" (which I could have also done from the client).

 

Assuming equivalent facilities are available on Retrospect Windows, Bill Clark's end-user could have done exactly the same thing to restore file X as of a particular date—at least for a date during the past week.  I suspect that, if Bill Clark had used Backup Set Red for daily Normal backups for the past several weeks instead of just the current week, his end-user could have restored file X as of any date during those several weeks.  I'm not going to test that, but Bill Clark can.  If I'm correct, then Bill Clark's 10-Backup-Set scheme is unnecessarily complex, provided he can give his end-user some simple training.

 

As for your second paragraph, Scillonian, I still don't think Bill Clark's 10-Backup-Set scheme would need 10 separate scripts.  On Retrospect Mac, each separate schedule for a single script can designate its own particular "Destination" Backup Set and its own particular "Media Action" (e.g. Normal or Recycle).  All the single script has to do is specify all the drives to be backed up and all the permissible Backup Sets.  So a single script with 31 schedules would be sufficient for Bill Clark's 10-Backup-Set scheme.

 

As for your third paragraph, Scillonian, let's assume Bill Clark had connected the proper drive for his/her 1 October scheduled backup.  On 1 October would Retrospect Windows first try to run the scheduled backup for 31 September, even though there is no such day in September?

 

P.S.: Expanded first paragraph to point out the applicability and availability of 10-port USB3 hubs.  Shifted last sentence of second paragraph to beginning of third paragraph and enhanced that sentence, then added request at end of second paragraph for Bill Clark to confirm my guess in first sentence of second paragraph.

 

P.P.S.: Revised first sentences of first and second paragraphs to emphasize that I hadn't originally considered Bill Clark's scheme from his point of view—not that I hadn't read his OP (which I had).

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I'm not really trying to do a 10-day backup or anything like that.  I have 11 external drives purchased to keep & rotate daily backups(M-F; 2 sets with one to go offsite at end of month).  All I'm wanting to do is to backup the same files and folders from a NAS share, to an external drive, have one of the office staff change out drives in the morning, and have that exact same job run again.  All without any software-based intervention.  IF this works well, then I'll purchase more of the drives ($50 each) to have 4 weeks worth of M-F backups and a couple of monthly drives to change.  Really want a simple solution, but I'm thinking Retrospect isn't going to let me do it as I want.  Thanks!

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All I'm wanting to do is to backup the same files and folders from a NAS share, to an external drive, ...

 

Why are you wanting to back them up to an external drive? Is to protect against the failure of the NAS or to have historical copies of the files and folders?

 

If it is for historical purposes you could use the existing NAS as the destination.

 

... have one of the office staff change out drives in the morning, ...

 

Regardless of what backup application you use this will always be the weak link. If you have one person tasked to this job and this job takes priority over other activities then you may stand a fighting chance. 

 

... and have that exact same job run again.

It will if the person tasked to change the drive is allowed to do their job without interference. I've seen it happen all to often where something apparently more important comes up so the task gets postponed and before long the day is gone and the drive is not changed. Unless management are well educated backup is seen as a low priority.

 

All without any software-based intervention.

 

For any backup to run reliably you need to be certain that the destination for that backup will be there. This is why I suggest the NAS as the destination as you can be fairly certain it will be there each time the backup runs. When you are using external disks can you be certain the needed one will be there?

 

IF this works well, then I'll purchase more of the drives ($50 each) to have 4 weeks worth of M-F backups and a couple of monthly drives to change.

 

For the monetary investment in all those external drives you could source and provision another NAS for the backups if protection against failure of the production NAS is also required. A small number of external drives will still be needed for the off-site requirements but these can be under your control to ensure reliability.

 

Really want a simple solution, but I'm thinking Retrospect isn't going to let me do it as I want.  Thanks!

Regardless of what backup application you choose a NAS is the simple solution. As a destination you can be certain it is there. With RAID redundancy, depending on the RAID level used, it can tolerate the failure of at least one disk without data loss. I've been using a NAS as destination for at least ten years and it been basically set and forget

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So long as you're satisfied with keeping the Backup Set(s) on-site, I think Scillonian's suggestion of using a NAS is very good.

 

However thinking about the problem this morning, before Scillonian's last post, I belatedly thought of another reason why Bill Clark wants a 10-backup-set scheme.  It is that [A] each one of the USB3 drives can barely hold the contents of a Recycle backup—plus possibly a single Normal backup later in the month—of his external NAS, and that [Bee] he is committed to using USB3 drives.  His last post, in which he says has purchased 11 drives, pretty much proves ; if [A] is true, it really would have saved a lot of discussion if he had stated that in his OP.  However it's my fault for not deducing [A] earlier—even though I have no familiarity with NASs.

 

Let's assume both [A] and [Bee] are true.  Then there is in fact a way Retrospect Windows as it exists today can satisfy the objectives of Bill Clark's 10-backup-set scheme.  It helps to have read page 405 of the Retrospect Windows 11 User's Guide.

 

The way is to use the New Backup Set option in the script schedule media actions for Tuesday through Friday schedules, as suggested by Mayoff in this post (watch the embedded video) in another thread.  But Bill Clark would also have to introduce the concepts of odd-week-of-the-year and even-week-of-the-year, which he'd designate to his office staff via posting and distributing copies of a specially-annotated calendar.  That would mean that Monday's Media Set for the Recycle in OddWeek would be named something along the lines of OddWeekSet, Tuesday's Media Set for the Recycle in OddWeek would be automatically created as OddWeekSet [001], and so on through the Friday's OddWeekSet [004].  The same would be true for EvenWeek, Recycling to EvenWeekSet through EvenWeekSet [004].  He would schedule the script somewhat as shown in minute 6:00 and beyond in this video, except that he would have two schedules alternating at two-week intervals—with each schedule only executing Monday through Friday.  Every Monday he'd have to delete the to-be-recreated Backup Sets ...WeekSet [001] through ...WeekSet [004] on the Retrospect Windows equivalent of the "backup server" Console, and erase the corresponding USB3 disks.  At the end of the last full week in a year he'd have to Disable All Schedules, substituting one-shot schedules for each of the remaining dates in the year and also posting and distributing copies of the odd-even-week annotated calendar for the new year.

 

I thought earlier tonight that a second way would be to use the New Member option (also described on page 405) in the script schedule media actions for Tuesday through Friday schedules, instead of the New Backup Set option, but otherwise proceed as in the preceding paragraph (except that the next-to-last sentence in that paragraph would change, as described below in the last sentence of this paragraph).  However that would not produce Recycle backups each day, because page 36 of the User's Guide says "Since New Member backups use an existing Backup Set, they only copy new and changed files since the last backup."  Moreover, every Monday Bill Clark would have to delete the to-be-recreated Backup Set ...WeekSet—apparently the only way to delete its members from the catalog—on the Retrospect Windows equivalent of the "backup server" Console,  erase the corresponding USB3 disks, and then re-add the to-be-recreated Backup Set ...WeekSet back as a Backup Set and in the appropriate schedule—which would be more complicated and therefore more error-prone.

 

Bill Clark, if you can find a different backup software app that can implement your 10-backup-set scheme better than the way I have outlined two paragraphs above this, IMHO you should use that app—instead of Retrospect Windows with its current capabilities.  Otherwise, I think Scillonian's suggestion is easier than the way I have suggested—even if it means finding some other use for your 11 USB3 drives.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
(B) or [B] gets converted by the Forums software into a "smiley", so substituted [A] and [Bee]].
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Let me start of by saying this....THANK YOU BOTH for taking all your time and thought to answer my question.  I really do appreciate your time and effort.  Now for the "ugly" part, simply put, you guys are trying to solve problems that don't really exist.  My client has one NAS already, they don't need another one.  We've investigated cloud-based backup storage, and frankly nothing fits for simplicity, cost and desired end-result.  The staff in this office is VERY reliable and there are multiple staff members that know the closing duties, so the external drive will get switched out as needed without fail and taken offsite.  All I need is the ability for Retrospect to re-run the same job to copy files/folders from their onsite NAS, to the external drive Monday-Friday with the only intervention being staff members change out disks.  At this point, it appears this software cannot do this, so I'm going to be looking at different products that can.  Again, thank you both so much for your time, effort and suggestions, but I think at this point I need to abandon this software and find something else.

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On 8/5/2016 at 11:22 PM, Bill Clark said:

.....  .... My client has one NAS already, they don't need another one.  .... ... the external drive will get switched out as needed without fail and taken offsite.  All I need is the ability for Retrospect to re-run the same job to copy files/folders from their onsite NAS, to the external drive Monday-Friday with the only intervention being staff members change out disks.  ....

 

OK, now we've gotten to the real problem, which boils down to the fact that you—Bill Clark—are a consultant to a client (an organization and a person within that organization, not a computer).  It sounds to me as if your client is a financial person,  with that profession's customary [C] obsession with calendar months.  If s/he didn't have that obsession, I'm sure you could convince him/her that five weeks of backups is always more than 31 days.  It also sounds to me as if your client person is [D] obsessed with the fear that the organization might have to rerun more than one day of financial work, which might happen unless there is a cumulative backup every night onto a USB3 disk distinct from that of the previous workday—with the previous workday's backup taken off-site.  That IMHO explains why s/he does not want to rely on recovery from Recycle plus Normal (incremental) backups to the same USB3 disk, unless the Normal backup to a particular disk is separated from the Recycle backup to that same disk by two weeks of a calendar month.

 

If you can talk your client person out of obsession [C], then your obvious solution is to setup a five-week-rotation version of my Retrospect three-week-rotation scheme.  If you can also talk your client person out of obsession [D], then all you would need is 10 USB3 disks—with one Backup Set for each week allowed to overflow onto a second pre-wiped USB3 disk member if needed.  If you can't also talk your client person out of obsession [D] (which I can actually understand; I used to program in-house accounting apps and know about monthly closing periods), then within each of the five weeks you might—but see two paragraphs below this for an alternative—need a distinct Backup Set for each workday of the week—which means you would need a total of 25 USB3 disks (I assume that, with each USB3 disk holding only a single day's Recycle backup, it wouldn't overflow onto a second USB3 disk).  

 

In either case, your client person would need to annotate a yearly calendar with week numbers repeatedly cycling from 1 to 5.  Wait, what am I talking about?  He/she wouldn't need to post and distribute that annotated calendar to the staff.  Yesterday morning, which was a Friday, I didn't need to look at the Retrospect Console or a calendar to see which Backup Set I would use for today's Recycle run.  Instead I simply looked at the USB3 drive that was already connected to my "backup server".  Using the advanced American technologies of artist's masking tape and a ballpoint pen, I had a year ago marked that drive as "G-Drive White".  Since Friday was the last day for a Normal backup—which I had just run—to "Backup Set White", I simply disconnected "G-Drive White" from the "backup server" and connected "G-Drive Blue"—because "Red, White, and Blue" is the sequence I learned as a child.  Instead—for a five-week-rotation—you could use the names "Alpha", "Bravo", "Charlie", "Delta", and "Echo" from the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.  If you can also talk your client person out of obsession [D], you would simply name your USB3 drives "USB3 Alpha", "USB3 Bravo", "USB3 Charlie", "USB3 Delta", and "USB3 Echo"—each containing a correspondingly-named Backup Set.  If you can't also talk your client person out of obsession [D], you would have to name your drives "USB3 Alpha Monday", ..., "USB3 Bravo Monday", ..., "USB3 Charlie Monday", ..., "USB3 Delta Monday", ..., "USB3 Echo Monday", ..., "USB3 Echo Friday".  Thus your client's reliable staff members wouldn't need to look at an annotated calendar or the Retrospect UI on the "backup server" to know which USB3 drive to connect next; they would simply have to look at the name marked on the already-connected drive and remember the sequence of the English alphabet and possibly which day of the week it was today.  Your client person would simply need to have annotated his/her own yearly calendar with week names (initial letters would suffice for NATO names) repeatedly cycling from "Alpha" to "Echo", and then have marked the USB3 drives accordingly.

 

Even if you can't also talk your client person out of obsession [D], the five-week-rotation scheme allows a USB3-drive-saving alternative to "USB3  Alpha Monday" etc..  That would be to name your drives "USB3 Alpha MWF", "USB3 Alpha TuTh", ..., "USB3 Echo MWF", "USB3 Echo TuTh"—with corresponding Backup Set names.  Using a five-week-rotation on your schedules, you would have each "... MWF" Backup Set do a Recycle backup when run on Monday and Normal backups when run on Wednesday and Friday.  Similarly, using a five-week-rotation on your schedules, you would have each "... TuTh" Backup Set do a Recycle backup when run on Tuesday and a Normal backup when run on Thursday.   That way your client person would be assured that the previous day's backup—taken off-site—would always contain a cumulative backup through the end of the previous workday, but you would only need 20 USB3 drives—with a second pre-wiped drive allowing for overflow on a daily Normal backup—for the five-week-rotation.  If you don't have to worry about one or two Normal backups added to one Recycle backup causing overflow onto a second drive, as you have said above you don't, then you would only need 10 USB3 drives. 

 

If you can't talk your client person out of obsession [C], then you're going to need to find another backup app that can do the kind of day-of-the-month scheduling—allowing for months varying from 28 to 31 days—that your client person requires.  Based on the scheme you outlined in your OP, you would still need a minimum of 10 USB3 drives—which you say you already have—without allowing for any non-rotating off-site backups—which your financial client person will probably insist on.  That's assuming your client person will, as you indicated in your OP, accept Normal backups during calendar weeks 3 through 5 of a particular month onto drives which hold a Recycle backup from weeks 1 or 2.  If s/he can't accept that, then—as I think you already envision—you'll need a total of 31 USB3 drives.

 

Actually, now that I think about it, your client person's obsession [C] doesn't seem so crazy from a financial person's point of view.  You might be able to talk Retrospect Inc. into enhancing Retrospect's day-of-the-month scheduling capabilities in a future release of Retrospect, although they are likely to create a special Accountant's Add-on and charge your client person an arm and a leg for it (which might be justified, because Mayoff would have to create a video and make an inadequate attempt to document the capability in the User's Guide).  I say that's likely because, if there were a lot of demand for this capability, Retrospect Inc. would have added it to Retrospect years ago.  

 

Good luck.

 

P.S.: Inserted new third paragraph, containing my simple technique (which I have used for 21 years) for eliminating the need for distributing an annotated calendar.

 

P.P.S: Re-arranged my first paragraph, enhanced the third sentence of my second paragraph to evince more sympathy for client person's obsession [D], and added new fifth paragraph suggesting Bill Clark at least ask Retrospect Inc. about a scheduling enhancement to satisfy client person's obsession [C].

 

P.P.P.S: In a new fourth paragraph, added a USB3-drive-saving alternative that would still allow for client person's obsession [D].  Later clarified that the alternative would allow for as few as 10 USB3 drives, assuming a Recycle backup plus a maximum of two Normal backups would fit onto a single USB3 drive.

 

P.P.P.P.S.: Clarified first and and second and fifth paragraphs to indicate that  [D] is not just a financial person's  "obsession" but a reasonable concern.

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