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Retrospect Linux client with Docker installed going bananas!


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Hello!

We have been running Retrospect for years and seldom had any major problems, until today!

We have been backing up a lot of Linux clients, mainly Ubuntu.

Recently there is two new clients to backup that we just don't get to work. What is different from all other clients is that they have docker installed.

They both run Ubuntu 20 fully patched and have the retrospect client Version 17.0.1.132.

When connecting to them and checking volumes from the server it starts to show a lot of them, some with an icon of a pen with line across it, then after displaying all they drop off until none left.

And so it goes on... 

Picture attached below.

Now, what is wrong with the client? Why is it bananas just because we have docker installed on the client that is to be backed up?

Any hints would be much appreciated!

 

/Pontus

image_2021_04_13T12_14_18_488Z.png

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SHAB,

Unfortunately  this post in a January 2020 Forums thread says

Quote

Most probably containerd (Docker) running on this Linux server is the culprit (Retrospect client is not installed inside container). I got a reply from Tech Support regarding 16.6.0.114 version crashing, they informed me there is no support for "docker configurations". If that's true, that would be a severe limitation.

However that was for Retrospect Mac 16.6.  You might consider upgrading your "backup server" to the latest 17.5.2 release, if you haven't already done so.  For that release, the cumulative Release Notes for Retrospect Windows include

Quote

Linux Clients: Fixed issue where the client ignored certain mount points (#8985)

 

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Thanks for your answer David!

Well, I did read that but thought it was "history". I initially failed to mention that the server side run on windows and is running the latest version of Retrospect Server.

So, from whatever fix they made (#8985) it was not for servers running with docker installed 😞 

I guess we will have to try some other backup solution for those servers running docker...

We "only" have two so far but the plan was to expand that. Would have been nice if the Retrospect team could solve this since we have read about other backups that supports it and even supports backing up the containers. One example is Bacula. But we would prefer not having one more backup system running.

I will let this question hang out a bit more and see if there is any more info to get.

 

Regards,

Pontus

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SHAB,

Yesterday I phoned the Worldwide Head of Retrospect Sales, and left a message asking whether the soon-forthcoming Retrospect 18.x would handle Docker containers.  He phoned back (because they've got several people out sick and he was in meetings) while I was out to dinner , and left a message that is a bit muddy on my answering machine.  When I listened to it again tonight, I understood him to be saying that Retrospect "Inc." has no plans to handle Docker in Retrospect 18.x.

However his message indicates that he believes Docker is a Linux distribution, and I shudder to think about how he re-phrased my question when talking to the engineers. 🙄  I'm merely an ancient home user of Retrospect Mac (although one of my "clients" in 2002–2004 was a Windows 95 machine forced on me for Work From Home by my bosses' boss).  The only time I've ever encountered a VM was briefly as a remote user in 1969 of what was later to become IBM's mainframe VM/370, but I do read enough Ars Technica posts to be somewhat aware of what Docker is and its current importance.

I'll write him an e-mail tomorrow, containing links to that Wikipedia article as well as to this thread—and stressing that Bacula will handle Docker containers.  Salespeople worry about competitor's capabilities, so that should perk up his ears. 🤣

P.S.: E-mail sent 21:37 on 15 April 2021.  In the first paragraph it also links to the Ars Technica front-page article saying Docker now runs natively on the Apple Silicon M1 chip, as requested by many developers.  In the second paragraph it also links to a YouTube video on Bacula Enterprise Principles, a Web page showing Bacula's "backup server" only runs on Linux or FreeBSD or Solaris, and the Web page on Bacula and Docker you linked to below.  I then said "Bacula—rather than just Synology’s Hyperbackup or OWC's maybe-back-from-the-dead BRU—looks like the competition StorCentric will run into for the Retrospect 18.x  'backup server' running on Linux [publicly predicted by StorCentric management]."  How's that for motivating Product Management? 😎

Edited by DavidHertzberg
P.S.: E-mail sent 21:37 on 15 April 2021.
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Great work David!

I hope there was some error along the way to the developers, keep this post updated.

For further reference on Bacula you can read this: Bacula and Docker

Now, either you wanna backup anything about the docker or just a simple file on the Linux client Retrospect should be able to handle the client and the filesystem.

One could expect to be able to take backup of your /home or what ever you fancy while Docker is installed.

I do wonder if the retroclient stops working if you install docker on a windows server? If anyone reading this knows, please drop a reply!

The retroclient should not freak out and die because Docker is installed on your system(linux, mac or windows), right?

Regards,

Pontus

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/15/2021 at 5:17 AM, DavidHertzberg said:

P.S.: E-mail sent 21:37 on 15 April 2021.  In the first paragraph it also links to the Ars Technica front-page article saying Docker now runs natively on the Apple Silicon M1 chip, as requested by many developers.  In the second paragraph it also links to a YouTube video on Bacula Enterprise Principles, a Web page showing Bacula's "backup server" only runs on Linux or FreeBSD or Solaris, and the Web page on Bacula and Docker you linked to below.  I then said "Bacula—rather than just Synology’s Hyperbackup or OWC's maybe-back-from-the-dead BRU—looks like the competition StorCentric will run into for the Retrospect 18.x  'backup server' running on Linux [publicly predicted by StorCentric management]."  How's that for motivating Product Management? 😎

I do find it a bit disturbing that you have not got an answer yet, not even a "we will look in to it and get back to you". Or even a "Thank you, great input!". It feels a bit like they have not got a clue what the information we feed them with say. (Trying to interpret the silence). Well, time will tell if the penny falls and they realize the potential of backing up docker containers. Or just having a client that works for the rest of the filesystem even if there is docker installed on the system and you do -not- wanna backup the containers. I'm staying tuned for any change!

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(Disclaimer: Anything I may say about the intentions of Retrospect "Inc." in this or any other post is merely the result of "reading the tea leaves", the "tea leaves" being documentation and public announcements supplemented by an occasional morsel from Retrospect Sales.  I have never been paid a cent by Retrospect "Inc." or its predecessors, and I pay for my upgrades. Any judgements expressed are—obviously—mine alone. The same is true of Retrospect's history, especially with references to here.)

SHAB,

I did get an answer from the Worldwide Head of Retrospect Sales, the following day—16 April 2021.  It was

Quote

Hi David

 

 

I have very limited Docker knowledge …though I did just study up a bit. Thanks for the heads up …I will pass along the info 

Werner Walter
Director of Sales, Worldwide
Retrospect, a StorCentric Company
Direct (925) 231-1313
Werner.Walter@retrospect.com

IMHO the first thing you should do is to file a Support Case for a feature request.  Here's how to do that.  I can't do it myself because [1] I use Retrospect Mac—not Retrospect Windows and [2] I don't use Docker in my simple home installation.  My personal experience is that Retrospect Support will ask the person who files a Support Case to be a beta tester for the requested feature or bug fix, running instrumented code to isolate the bug.  The second thing you should do is to e-mail Werner Walter the number of your Support Case—which you should write down when you submit it.  I'm sorry to subject you to the deficiencies of Retrospect "Inc."'s Support Case software.  They've rented the software starting years ago from another company (who also rented it to the Taiwanese hardware company ATEN, which made my 5-year-old KVM switch), and—as I've noted in the linked-to post—it's somewhat primitive.  It's designed so that—for Retrospect customers rather than employees (such as Werner)—only the customer who submits a Support Case can read it.

Be aware that what's going on behind the scenes—see my disclaimer above—focuses on the management of StorCentric (which "merged" Retrospect Inc. into itself on 25 June 2019) requiring Retrospect developers—with help from other StorCentric developers—to produce a version of the "backup server" program that runs on a beefed-up Drobo device (and probably on other Linux-based NASes).  I dare to say this much on these Forums only because Mihir Shah, the CEO of StorCentric, publicly announced in 2019 that he wants to do it.  Since NASes don't have their own monitors and keyboards and mice, this means that non-Management Administration Console programs must be developed that control the "backup server" from another machine on the same LAN/WAN.  Retrospect Mac has had such an Administration Console since 2009.  However—for reasons explained in this section of the old version of the Wikipedia article—Retrospect Inc. had to leave the Retrospect Windows "backup server" with a multi-threaded implementation of the same built-in GUI it's had since the early 1990s.  So Retrospect "Inc." has now brought in a GUI development expert, but from what I hear there are a lot of meetings going on—presumably about what the new GUI should look like etc..  That's why the release of Retrospect 18.0 has been delayed far beyond the early-March date customary for x.0 releases of new Retrospect versions.  I've been told that the release of Retrospect 18.0 is expected before the end of June 2021.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So, been waiting for an update?

I'm sorry to say the update will be saying nothing!

After filing out a ticket we got a "breathtaking" responce:

Quote

 

Your Problem Description.:

We cannot backup a server which has Docker installed. Retrospect behaves very strange. This is not good, since we are starting to use Docker on many servers now and it would be a shame to have to start looking for another backup solution which we can run in parallell. Will this be solved soon?

Agent Response:

We apologize for this inconvenience but Linux systems with Docker installed cannot be backed up as Client.

 

 

The Agents "answer" is leaving out the answer to the question at hand("will it be solved soon?") and just apologize for the inconvenience of not being able to run the client on a linux system whether you wanna backup docker or just the files on the server.

Well, I think we will try another angle and see what pops out.

 

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There have been an update!

We returned the part "Will this be solved soon?" and got some additional info and an alternative (in my eyes a very bad) solution:

Quote

Agent Response:

We do not think we will be fixing this for a while. At this time it is an unsupported configuration.

You can share the disks over file sharing and add it as a network share to Retrospect. This should allow for a documents backup over file sharing.

 

Regards,

Pontus

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