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Scheduling Proactive Backups


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The default time window for Proactive backup scripts is 00:00 to 00:00 i.e. midnight to midnight the next day and Retrospect server specifically treats this as the beginning of one day to the beginning of the next day.


Unfortunately the same logic does not seem to apply to custom user defined time windows. For example if one wanted to do midday to midday i.e. 12:00 to 12:00 then Retrospect rejects this and will not accept it at all and therefore will not treat it as covering a 24 hour period.


This is not only I feel a bug it is rather annoying since despite what Retrospect themselves may think I am not going to be coming in to the office to change over the backup media at midnight each day.  :P


As a result if typically one did change over the media at midday with the standard 00:00 to 00:00 window then actually you will only get backups happening for half the day at most.

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If you think this is a bug that should be fixed by Retrospect Inc., you will have to submit it as a Support Case.  For English speakers, that is done by going here, and filling out the form (sorry, I don't know what the equivalent addresses are for non-English speakers, but they can figure it out from their appropriate Retrospect website address).  IMHO this is quite reasonable; obliging you to fill out the form provides Retrospect Inc. with useful details about your Retrospect installation that they would otherwise have to query you for.


As a result, Retrospect Inc. will pay no attention to your post in this sub-forum.  On 12 December 2016, in response to a letter I snail-mailed to Mayoff,  I received an e-mail through a Mayoff account that was signed by JG Heithcock, CEO, Retrospect, Inc..  In it he says "From reading your letter, I think the main issue is that you view the forums as a good place to talk to us, Retrospect, Inc. But we view the audience of the forums as restricted to our customers [my emphasis]. The one caveat we have made on that is for feature requests, largely as we would like to see if other customers also agree on the desirability and feature set for these requests."


That means that the only audience for "Retrospect bug reports" in this sub-forum will be other administrators of Retrospect Mac.  Nevertheless, by posting in this sub-forum you are providing a useful service to us fellow Mac administrator peasants—one that is denied to administrators of Retrospect Windows who are evidently considered too peasanty (insert appropriate smiley here) to benefit from such bug notifications.  Thank you.


Please be aware that the "description of your issue" in the Support Case form is IME limited to about 2000 characters by the Support Case software.  If you go over that limit your "description" will be broken up into a "description" plus one or more "additional notes".  The same is true for any additional notes you may later post yourself.  I suggest that, to avoid the appearance of choppiness in your Support Case, you create your case in a post in this forum and then copy it paragraph-by-paragraph to your Support Case. 


If this post sounds formulaic, that's because I intend it to be.  I intend to post it in every new thread that appears in this sub-forum, unless the OP indicates that he/she has or will open a Support Case for the bug that the thread reports.  Of course, Mayoff could take 5 minutes of his time to post a slightly-more-polite version of this post as a  "sticky thread" that will always appear at the top of the forum.  I don't intend to hold my breath until that happens (insert appropriate smiley here).


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I have never used a Proactive backup script.  However I believe I have a basic understanding of them, and I have the capacity to read the last paragraph in this section of the old Wikipedia article on Retrospect and the Retrospect User's Guides.   I think you—jelockwood—don't properly understand the concept of a Proactive script, or possibly the idea that you can have multiple schedules for a Proactive script.


To quote from the WP article "... Retrospect also has a special Proactive script type that—while it is running—maintains on the "backup server" a queue[my emphasis] of its designated Source volumes in the oldest-first order of their most-recent backup date and time."  Let's start by assuming that you could schedule a Proactive script from midday to midday, and that it was scheduled to run on Mondays through Fridays.   The week's first execution of the Proactive script would start at noon Monday, and end at noon Tuesday.  Then the week's second execution of the Proactive script would start at noon on Tuesday, recreate the same queue that the week's first execution had when it ended, and go merrily on its Proactive way until noon Wednesday.  This process of recreating the script's queue at noon would continue until noon Saturday, at which point the Proactive script would cease execution until noon the following Monday.


Now let me tell you how to do the same thing with the current facilities of Retrospect, as described in steps 8 and 9 on pages 133 and 134 of the Retrospect Mac 13 User's Guide.  To schedule executions of a Proactive script from noon Monday until noon Saturday: First create a schedule for the script for Monday only from noon to midnight.  Then add a second schedule for the script for Tuesday through Friday only from midnight to midnight.  Finally add a third schedule for the script for Saturday only from midnight to noon.


If that sounds a little complicated, jelockwood, you can take an envious look at "Customizing the Schedule" on pages 267 through 269 of the Retrospect Windows 11 UG.  Retrospect Mac 6 used to  have the same UI and capability, but it got simplified per the first paragraph of this section of the WP article.  All that was really lost was the "wrap up" period capability.  If you want to know why the Retrospect Windows UI wasn't similarly simplified, read the last paragraph of the section linked-to in the second sentence of this paragraph.


P.S.:  In case it wasn't obvious from the third paragraph of this post, if you want to switch the backup media (which I assume means the Media Set) for your Proactive script at noon each day, then you must do it by manual action.  The script should specify all the noon-to-noon Media Sets  to be used during each week.  I know this is a little complicated, jelockwood, but it's workable.


P.P.S.: Revised last sentence in P.S.; it was snide, and I'm sorry.  The implication of that last sentence is that what you, jelockwood, are asking for in your OP should be a Product Suggestion; there is no bug since you can do what you want with Retrospect as it now exists.  Yes, if you are using Proactive scripts but also want to alternate between Media Sets on alternate days so you can take one Media Set off-site, there ought to be an easier method of scheduling the Proactive script.  However, on page 127 of the Retrospect Mac 13 User's Guide, it says "Copies to the most ideal available [my emphasis] Media Set in the destinations list. Automatic media rotation among multiple available [my emphasis] Media Sets."  Note also that page 258 in the Retrospect Windows 11 UG says "Create multiple Backup Sets [the Retrospect Windows term for Media Sets] and use them all as destinations in your Proactive Backup script. Rotate through the sets by inserting different media in the backup device each day.  Proactive Backup uses whatever media you inserted."  If you are alternating Media Sets at noon, you may want to manually Pause Proactive at noon while you switch tapes/disks.


P.P.P.S.: Totally revised the first and second sentences of my P.S.; I forgot that Proactive scripts—unlike regular scripts—cannot specify a different Media Set for each schedule but can specify multiple Media Sets for the script—it's that way in Retrospect Windows too (presumably the EMC Dantz engineers decided far back in the mists of pre-Retrospect-8 that manual switching of what were then called Backup Sets was the way to go for what were then—for Retrospect Mac—called Backup Server scripts).  Emphasized "available" in two quotes in my P.P.S., to explain why switching tapes/disks at noon would do what jelockwood wants.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Wikipedia article has been significantly re-edited, but old version was saved; fixed that in 4th paragraph too
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