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Can scripts deal with missing tapes?

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Can Retrospect's back-up scripts, upon noticing that a planned tape is not available, back up to a spare tape when that one is available?


Here's our situation: a Mac OS X.4 file server running Retrospect and a tape drive connected. Five back-up sets: one for each work-day. Each set has its own tape, the tape for the day is put into its drive at the beginning of the day, while yesterday's tape is taken home by our office manager at the end of the day.


Lately, our office manager has been absent a lot, and our back-up scheme has been suffering as a consequence. I would like to buy an extra tape that gets used whenever the office manager is unable to put in the daily tapes. This tape would be stored on-site, but would at least allow us to recover from simple hard-disk failures.


The idea being that if Retrospect notices that the daily tape is not available, but the spare tape is, it uses the latter.


Is this possible? Is this the right way to go about this, or would you recommend another strategy?

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In the Preferences, click on "Media Request" and then check "Automatically skip to blank media".



The only problem with this approach is that the spare tape then becomes the next member in whatever backup set was scheduled to be used, and the previous member cannot be added to, even if some physical capacity remains on the tape.


If that would pose difficulty, you might want to consider this alternative: Create a new backup set; call it "Substitute Set" or whatever. Write a script to perform a backup to this substitute set every night, beginning 5 minutes after your normal script is scheduled to run. Under Preferences> Media Request, click on "Media Request Timeout" and set some appropriate interval, say 15 minutes. Don't check "Automatically skip to blank media".


With this alternative, the main script will time out whenever the appropriate tape is unavailable, and then the second script will run. If the proper day's tape is in the drive, the main script will run. Then the second script will attempt to run, but because (presumably) the substitute tape is unavailable, it will time out.

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  • 2 months later...

My apologies that I did not thank you guys earlier, but: thank you!


I went for the second solution today (things intervened, including tapes that were full), and I'll be monitoring how things go, and test this solution in a week. (First I want to see how this script plays with our regular back-up routine.)

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Why not make another person responsible for exchanging tapes?



Because that other person will have to visit the house of the primary responsible person to collect the tapes. Which is fine, but having an extra strategy that works as a fail-safe for human failure is nice.

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