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Check Media lies and other erased tape annomolies.


arbywon

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I recently setup Retrospect Pro at my church. The server has a Travan tape drive. I am using 6 Backup Sets and have setup a schedule for each. Since most of these sets do not yet have backups, I added a new tape to each set so that I could pre name and label each tape. An example is a backup Set named Friday A with a single erased taped named "1-Friday A" When the schedule was triggered o Friday evening, Retrospect asked for "2-Friday A". This through me for a loop - I must have done something wrong. On Saturday, after manually running the Friday A backup, I set up a test. I used Friday B, again with a single (erased) tape added to the backup set (1-Friday B). I scheduled it to run in 5 minutes and quit Retrospect. When it gave me the schedule reminder, I clicke "Check Media." Retrospect reported that Friday B was ready to go. When the job started, Retrospect again reported the wrong media and wanted another blank tape (to be named 2-Friday B). I clicked Proceed and it was perfectly happy with the tape in the drive (1-Friday B).

 

What gives? Did I miss something in the docs? Are the docs wrong or is this a bug? I want the backups to run unattended. How do I acctually accomplish this.

 

Ron B.

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Thanks for the reply.

 

Okay, Check Media doesn't work reliably. I may be able to live with that if I understood the conditions.

 

What about the completely empty member of the Backup Set? Why isn't it usable? (without manually responding with PROCEED). It appears to me that there is a bug in the software that checks the available member of the backup set? Specifically, the special case of an empty member added to the Backup Set via Configure/Backup Sets per suggestion in your docs.

 

In any case, how do I reliably run unattended backups? Am I better off using a blank (and unlabled) tape for the first backup to a Backup Set? Or do I need to manually run a normal backup to each Backup Set to "initialize" it? Once a Backup Set has one or more backups, is the unattended backup reliable? That is, will Retrospect reliably use the mounted tape if A, it is the from the correct Backup Set and member scheduled; and B, has sufficient space?

 

Ron B.

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Nate:

 

A Full backup takes about 2.5 GB on 4/8GB Travan tapes.

 

The backup sets are:

Mon/Wed -Normal on Mon & Wed; Recycle every 2 weeks

Tue/Thur -Normal on Tue & Thur; Recycle every 2 weeks

Friday A --Normal on alternate Fri; Recycle every 6 weeks

Friday B --Normal on alternate Fri; Recycle every 6 weeks

Qtr A -----Normal every 6 months; Recycle every 2 years

Qtr B -----Normal every 6 months; Recycle every 2 years

 

I wish to keep the backup sets to one tape each and will adjust the schedule to keep it that way. The backups are done by the secretary and needs to be as uncomplicated as I can make it. She leaves arounf 3:00 PM but there are others working on the network so I do not want to load the server (her computer) with the backup job. Also, the most important file is the accounting DB which needs to be closed before the backup runs. Hence the backup is scheduled for late evening when things are idle.

 

I hope this info is helpful but I do not see its relevance to my questions:

 

Under what conditions does Check Media not work?

Searching this forum suggests that Check Media makes a tape unuseable by a subsequent unattended backup. I haven't tested this but have advised the secretary not to use it just in case. (She of course thought Check Media was a pretty good test to make just before she left for the day.) Is this in fact the Check Media bug? Are there other conditions under which Check Media gives the wrong answer?

 

Besides Check Media, are there other conditions that would cause an scheduled unattended backup to not use the mounted tape even though it is (the only tape) from the scheduled backup set and has sufficient space?

 

Thanks for the interest

 

Ron B.

 

 

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Ron,

 

The scheduling info helps me sort out which media is getting changed when. Most often these kinds of problems are caused by getting tapes crossed up - That probably isn't the case here but I have a better understanding of what is going on now.

 

Travan drives can be a bit strange - as the proud owner of a 4/8 Travan like yours I speak from experience. Try this:

Schedule a script to run 5 minutes from now. Do the check media and then close Retrospect. With Retropsect closed pull out the tape and then put it back in. Then wait and see if Retrospect grabs the tape.

 

Also make sure that the "eject on quit" setting is off in the Retrospect preferences. "Skip to blank media" should be off as well.

 

Thanks

Nate

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Ron,

 

One other thing I forgot to mention:

 

The pre naming of the tapes may be part of the problem. Rather than use the pre- name feature try this:

 

Do an immidiate recycle backup of 1 small (10MB is fine) folder to each of your backup sets. That will name each tape properly so subsequent backups should proceed as normal.

 

This is the old-fashioned way to rename tapes in Retrospect. It hasn't failed me yet!

 

BTW I have not personally run into the check media problem and had not known of it before it came up in this thread.

 

Thanks

Nate

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