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Full tapes and new Backup Sets...

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Hi Everyone!


I´m a graphic designer in an intern advertising agency of a company. Because we are the only ones who use Macintosh in the house we have to care for our hard- and software problems alone... Learning by doing... Perhaps anyone can help me.

We use Retrospect to backup our server since 4 months. We use a tandberg tape drive.

Approximately once a week we have to change the tape because it´s full. We have 5 tapes and all tapes who are full will be kept in a fireproof safe. And now our problem: When Retrospect told us the tape is full we change it, but retrospect wants everytime a special tape. It says "insert a new tape and it will be named (for example) 10-back up set". And after changing tape it says "couldn´t use tape 4-backup set. It already belongs to a back up set." But Retrospect was it who named it 4-backupset at it´s first use. So we can´t go on with our backup without a complete recycle backup instead of a normal backup. But after a recycle backup the whole catalogue was killed... It seems not possible to rename the tape or to erase its contents an do a normal backup.. We only want to have a possibility to use 4 or 5 tapes, so that all tapes which are not in use are in the safe. When the actual tape is full we want to use the oldest one in the safe to rewrite it with the actual data. Do you understand me?

We have one script which automatically does a backup every day at the same time which checks the data on the server that has been changed today.

Where is our mistake with the tapes? Is a reycle backup everytime after changing the tape neccessary? Ist it normal? Or do we need more than one back up script? What do we do wrong? Retrospect should erase the contents of the old tape, but sometimes it also says "couldn´t erase the tape because it belongs to a backup set".

Do I need a recycle backup? How can I easy get a new catalogue after it? Last time the search catalogue was deletet... What is the easyiest logical way for us? I´m thankful for every answer!

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It sounds like you are getting confused between tapes and backup sets.


Retrospect stores its data to a backup set. That backup set has a single catalog file, but may have many tapes that are members of the backup set. Until you recycle a particular backup set, Retrospect will request a new blank tape every time the previous tape member becomes full. This new member will be named beginning with a number one higher than the number of the previous member (like 1-Your_Backup_Set, 2-, Your_Backup_Set, and so on).


When you do recycle a backup set (either manually or by performing a Recycle Backup), the catalog is reset so you can reuse all the tapes that were members of the backup set. Recycling a backup set means you are telling Retrospect you no longer need any of the data that are on that backup set.


When you perform a Normal backup, Retrospect writes only new or changed data to the backup set. This will be written to whatever is the current member of the backup set (say, 4-Your_Backup_Set). The earlier tape members will probably contain data that is still on the disk volumes you are backing up; that is, any data that has not changed since the time of backup. If you were to erase any of these earlier tape members, you would lose all the data that was on that tape.


Why do you want to reuse the oldest tape member? Is it to save money? Tape is cheap compared to the value of your precious data.


It sounds like you what you want is a different backup strategy. For starters, it would be a good idea to back up to several different backup sets. This would enable you to always keep one backup set off-site in case of a fire or other disaster. You would rotate or switch between these backup sets at some time interval you decide (be that daily, weekly, etc.). A rotation strategy can often be written into a single backup script. (For example, we rotate among three backup sets on a daily basis using a single script.)


When a backup set becomes so large that it would be inconvenient to add any more tape members, you have the option either to perform a recycle backup (resetting the catalog and allowing you to reuse the old tapes) or a new media backup (saving the old catalog and tapes, but creating a new backup set that will seamlessly use your existing backup scripts). With a new media backup, the new backup set's name will have a number appended that is one higher than the previous backup set. The first member of the new backup set will have a name such as 1-Your_Backup_Set [001].


You would use a recycle backup if you will never need to access your old data. If you think you may ever want to do this, instead perform a new media backup. (If in doubt, remember that tape is cheap.)


And of course, you should perform any recycle backups on a schedule that will always enable you to retain at least one copy (and preferably two copies) of your data at all times.


There is much more information about all of this in the User's Guide.



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thank you. I´ll think you´re right.

We are getting confused between tapes and backup sets.

Many thanks for your explanation of Retrospect.

The point why we don´t want to buy more new tapes is that we burn DVD´s every month in addition to the tapes. Our Archive looks like this:

We have all files of the last 10 years on CD/DVD

in double achievement - one copy of each DVD in the safe and one copy in our bureau. Why we don´t use tapes and retrospecct for everything? Because we have to access to all of our old files several times a day. We must have direct access to all files, old ones and new ones, everytime. Recover each single file or folder we need from tape via retrospect every day needs much time... Insert the DVD with uncompressed files needs less time.

We only need a way to back up the actual files at our server we are working on and which are not burned yet. My first idea last year was to use a raid system for our server, but our IT-department

bought the tape drive. Now I don´t know if this was the right decision for our needs.

Did anyone knows the "drobo" raid system?

I´m pondering if this will be perhaps the right solution for us...

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