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had it with retrospect

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I have about had it with retrospect. It seems that so much about retrospect is hidden, that the bugs which exist are not admitted to and that even when you try to find out what issues could be that the search mechanism in the knowledgebase does not work. Why is there nothing about transferring data sets?. Why is search so poorly implemented. Just try searching under an article number... why can I not find a specific article number?



Here's my story. Since 1999 I have been backing up a variety of OS9 machines which have migrated with the main content being moved from one machine to a higher powered machine with progressively larger disk drives. All of this stuff is data from our home business. But the tape drive (a 2 GB HP drive) has stayed the same because it was easy to keep incrementally updating 5-50 MB every night. After all I have backed everything up incrementally and now my backup set has 40 2 GB tapes. So one night Retrospect (5.1)decides to back the whole disk up. 3 days later and goodness knows how many tapes later we are done, but WHY??? I checked the fora and there seems to be 1 bug - which is due to daylight savings time but otherwise I cannot figure it out. I presume this is somehow related to the time settings on the machine changing during the back up or something similar.


So I decide to move the backup set from tapes to DVD. Oh no... not so simple. Not with Retrospect. I start with tape 1. About a day later, Im up to tape 3, the 4.7 GB DVDs are about 1/2 full and I start getting tape errors. I clean the tape drive and start retransferring the backup set again. From scratch. Then I get up to tape 3 and again I get errors. So I download HP's tape drive testing software and check the drive - and the tape which somehow Retrospect cannot read. I tell the HP software to check the reading of the whole tape and it passes. So if HP's SW can read the tape (of course it does not know what it is reading, its just reading bits, but I presume that some kind of CRC checking is being done) how come Retrospect has a problem?? If you browse the fora you see that you get the message that "retrospect is more sensitive to errors" in some way (go figure, no explanation of this is provided). So I get back to trying to transfer the tapes again. I tell the system to forget tapes 1 and 2 (you see Im learning, but I don't really have an idea of the implications of doing this - since there is nothing anywhere that tells you what you can do with this problem,) and start with 3. Somehow I get through it. Then I get through the next 5 days with about 6 more tapes - all of them show read errors in the log, but read perfectly on the HP software) and then I get enough errors that transferring the tapes stops. And I have to tell the system to forget all of the 11 or so tapes to be able to go on.


What I want to know is why is transferring the tapes to DVD such a bloody nuisance, why Retrospect seems to find so many errors, what the heck to do about transferring these tapes when there are errors and why oh why it is impossible to do any decent searching in the knowledgebase or elswhere on the site. In fact just try searching from http://www.dantz.com/en/search.dtml - I never get anything -even when I search for "Retrospect". Why is this software so UN-intuitive and why are so many settings and functions hidden from the user. I realise that I have just provided a lot of material to think about, but I am guessing that I am not alone with my confusion with this software, with the problem I describe and with the frustration that I feel about software whose role is to provide me with a safe haven for my data and succour when things go wrong.


Retrospect is neither of these. It's an upgrade machine for EMC and a disaster for usability. I would love to know of alternatives I could use.

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Well lets see, it's about Feb 3rd and Im still trying to transfer tapes to DVD. Despite the fact that my DVD burner (a Plextor 716A) is can easily handle 4.7GB DVDs not one of the DVDs has more than ~ 3.3GB of data on it. Yes somewhere in the fora there is a thread which describes this fact - but does not explain it. On several occasions Retrospect has reported tape errors and in some cases has shut down with "execution errors". At what point does Retrospect decide not to continue any more? Another example of hidden settings that you have no control over. So I told Retrospect to ignore the particular tape and plodded on. I have no idea what I am going to be left with when I am done with about 40 DVDs. I will try to recreate the material from the DVDs and try to create a storage set. Moral of the story is : the notion that all content owners can rotate tapes is wrong, the lack of ability to create a new backup set without having to back up everything which you have already backed up is dumb. And Tape backup is simply unreliable. I wonder how many people are in the same situation?

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