Jump to content

Backup Strategy Help

Recommended Posts





I'm currently running Retrospect Desktop Backup v4.3 in Mac OS 9. I'm backing up two PowerMac G4s, one old Pentium II, and two Pentium 3s. The backup server is a Blue and White G3 backing up to an APS SCSI tape drive.




This setup takes forever to backup and frequently crashes. Not only that, it seems like the backups are unusually large. It does an incremental, but it seems like it's doing more than that. SOmetimes it says that it has something like 1 1/2 gigs left to copy. To me this is an unreasonable amount of data to copy. That much data has not been modified in a day- typically we're talking about code for a website -- text files and some Flash, and some print files (XPress, .docs, ppts, etc.)




I want to find a more effective method to back this up that can free me up for other things.




I thought about a FireWire drive: large capacity, blazingly fast, hot pluggable. The only issue is that once I hit capacity that's it. Retrospect is gathering some large incrementals, and I don't think this will make sense.




Tape: I'm using tape now, but I'm up to my 15th 12gb (native, 24 gb compressed) tape. This is killing me, especially since he server that those tapes are backing up is only 80 gb. Is something REALLY wrong here?




Online: I'm nervous about placing sensitive files in unknown hands. I know there aren't people sitting around double clicking every XPress file, and looking at every invoice that we generate, but the prospect of turning over ever file to cyberspace is daunting.




What are options? I don't want to load tapes every day, but I do want a secure, reliable method that is hands-off.




I'm extremely appreciative of every bit of help.




Best regards to all,



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Scott,




I too am running 4.3 and trying to figure a new backup strategy. We've been using Jaz drives and the load/unload required means that we have to do most backups during the day (consistently interrupting my other work). Here's what I'm thinking -- buy (they're cheaper now) a large hard disk drive, place in on a G4 on a computer in another building, automate all backups at night to this disk, periodically do a duplication for each computer that I back up to another media, then do recycle backups.




This will keep us from filling up the disk space, keep backups off site in temperature controlled environment and should save me a lot of grief.




I'm not sure I'm not missing something here, so I'm hoping others will also give feedback.




I'm also afraid that I've just talked too much about my problem and too little about yours. I have no idea about the the large amounts left to copy.




Anyway, it seems the hard disk may be a solution. Good luck and let me know if you have any ideas for me.







Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Gini.




Our operation is not large enough to have off site backups in another building; we're a small office. I'd love to backup to a drive so that I don't have to keep ordering tapes and going through the rotations.




I'm going to look into the drives some more, but I don't know if I can get a drive large enough. And, again, once I max the drive out, I'm stuck.




Thx for the reply.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

1.5 GBs doesn't sound right for your situation. Any chance somethings screwy with the clock on one of your computers (effecting modify dates).


Take a look at your sets snapshots -- you'll likely discover something is being backed up again and again.




The crashes sound very unreasonable (I've only crashed once in about 9 years of using Retrospect -- tho I've never tried to back up a PC). I should also note I'm using Retro 4.3 (not 5)




Suspect items to check:


• APS Driver (is this up to date? compatable?)


-- Regardless, I HIGHLY recommend you switch to an Ecrix VXA drive (Firewire and SCSI available)


The drive itself is fairly pricey ($900 - 1400). But is beautifully built -- unlike most of the cr*p available these days.


The advantages: They use up to 33/66gb Tapes -- media cost FAR cheaper than most - search around when buying as price varies considerably - ProAdvantage sells the 33/66GB tapes for $55.) The price per GB more than makes up for initial outlay if you backup a fair amount of data.


I've been using the FW version with Retro for about a year now -- operation has been fast and flawless.




You might also consider using large external HDs for Duplicates and Incremental backups of important files.




• SCSI and or Network stability: a quick cheap test: copy a few really large files from each computer. This is obviously NOT a very reliable test, but might uncover a serious problem, warranting further investigation.




• See what happens if you do your backups with minimal extensions enabled.




Frankly, it sounds like you've got bigger problems than backup strategy - You should consider calling Dantz.


It's a shame they've gone from one of the best phone support agreements, to one of the worst - Nonetheless: Their tech support people are outstanding, and may just save you hours of grief.







Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Are you mounting the remote volumes throught TCP/IP or Appletalk? I had much the same problem, with large, so-called incremental backups. There seems to be a problem with the Mac OS and mounting the volumes locally on the host computer fooling Retrospect into thinking the files have been changed.




You could try Retrospect 5, install the 5.0 clients, and backup only via TCP/IP. We have Macs and a Pentium backing up this way, and after upgrading and a bit of configuring, everything is working fine.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Freezing or crashing can occur for a multitude of reasons. The fact that you crashed during the backup indicates there is some underlying issue with your configuration/setup. You have to understand that backups on your computer are uniquely stressful since it exercises all aspects of your CPU for a sustained period of time. Packets are moving at high speeds through the i/o channels of your SCSI bus. If there is a weak link, a backup will surely bring it out. Retrospect products have been tested extensively before release to the public and is used widely by many segments of computer users (which is the real test of the software!) without such problems.




Attempt to isolate the following things one by one.




1) For a local backup test, disable as many extensions as possible to rule out an extension conflict.




2) Remove all external SCSI devices not related to the backup to rule out any SCSI interference. If the backups are successful, add the other external SCSI devices on one by one until the problem reemerges to narrow the cause down.




3) Run disk utilities on the hard disks being backed up like Norton, Virus programs, Tech Tool Pro, and the disk test built into your formatting software (e.g., Hard Disk Toolkit or Apple Setup).




4) Update all disk drivers on your hard drives. This should have been done as you upgraded your System to newer versions of the OS. Also ensure you're using the latest version of Iomega's drivers for your Zip disks. Check their web site for the current version. If you have an older version, download the latest and reformat your Zip disks with it and start over on your backups.




5) If all else fails, you could have corrupted system resources. Perform a clean install of System Software.




6) Perform a test backup to another device besides the primary backup drive to see if the problem is isolated to the backup drive's configuration.




7) Remove other hardware components for test backups. This would include a G3 upgrade card (obtain any necessary firmware updates on it if applicable), any SCSI or network cards (update drivers for it as applicable), or any new RAM that may have been installed recently. As a point of comparison, you need to know if backups were ever successful before. If so, what new hardware or changes to the configuration were made? Eliminate or add such hardware as relevant for test backups.






Retrospect uses several matching criteria to compare files that have already been backed up to what is about to be backed up. If one of the following has been changed at all, Retrospect will back up the file again: name, size, type, creator, creation date and time, modify date and time, and label.




If Retrospect is reporting that it is about to back up files you know have not changed since your last backup, take a closer look at a sample file. Choose a file and start a restore by search for that file. When you get to the final window (you don't actually have to do the restore), click Files Chosen and Get Info (type Command-I) on the most recent version of the file on the backup. Print or take a screenshot of this window.




Now, go to the Configure tab from the Retrospect Directory and click Volumes. Choose the volume the file is on and click Browse. Find the file in question and Get Info on it. Put the two windows side by side and look for even the slightest difference in any of the criteria I listed above.




Many things can cause a change in a file, even if the file has not been accessed by the user. The operating system, as well as applications, are constantly making changes to files. Further, whenever you change time zones in the Date & Time control panel, your creation and modify dates are offset. We have also found an issue in Mac OS 8.1 with HFS+ formatted volumes where changing the Daylight Savings Time setting offsets the creation and modify dates of all files.




There is also an issue where AppleShare might make a time translation when connecting to another machine whose time is off by more than a certain number of minutes. This time translation would also offset the creation and modify dates of all files. I have also seen this happen when upgrading operating systems or doing a complete restore of data with Retrospect.




Unfortunately the only known way around this problem is to do a full backup of your data. I know of no way to force file attributes to regress to the way they were before. Either do a full backup or use this time to introduce new media.




You should also look at the Backup Set configuration window. From the Retrospect Directory click Configure, then Backup Sets. Choose the set and click Configure. Click Members. Are any members marked "Missing?" If so, mark them found again. Retrospect will attempt to recopy any files on a member marked as missing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...