Controlling Operations

You previously learned how to set up and initiate immediate and automated backup, duplicate, archive, restore, and transfer operations. This section describes how to monitor and control scheduled and executing operations using the Activity Monitor. It also describes how to take advantage of Retrospect’s ability to run multiple concurrent executions.

Controlling Operations Overview

Retrospect’s Activity Monitor allows you to control operations that are executing, as well as scheduled and waiting operations. In addition, the Activity Monitor provides information about operations that have finished executing. To learn more about the Activity Monitor, see Activity Monitor.

If the media required to complete an operation is not available, Retrospect displays the media request window (except for Proactive Backup scripts). For more information about this window, see Media Request Window.

Retrospect allows you to perform multiple simultaneous executions, provided that the backup computer and backup devices can support this feature. For more information about multiple executions, see Multiple Concurrent Executions.

If you specified password protection for Retrospect using its security preference you can choose Lock Application from the File menu to prevent other users from stopping operations without entering the password. See Security Preferences for more information.

Stop Button

The Retrospect toolbar includes a stop button that makes it easy to stop all currently executing operations.

If Retrospect is set up with numerous scripts, including Proactive Backup scripts, that run at all times of the day and night, it can sometimes be difficult to manage your scripts and Backup Sets, since Retrospect starts executing the scripts soon after it is launched.

When Retrospect launches and a script is about to run, a countdown dialog displays.

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Click Stop, then confirm your selection to temporarily stop all execution activity. If you are unable click Stop before the countdown expires, you can click the Stop all execution activity button in the Retrospect toolbar to achieve the same effect.

Proactive Backup is stopped and scripts are not allowed to start until you click the button in the Retrospect toolbar again. When you click the button again, Proactive Backup starts and Retrospect allows scheduled and waiting scripts to execute.

Clicking Stop also turns off and disables the Automatically launch Retrospect preference until the button is clicked again. See Startup Preferences for more information.

Once you click the Stop button it remains selected even if you exit and relaunch Retrospect. When all execution activity is stopped, the Retrospect icon in the system tray of your Windows taskbar will flash until you click the Stop all execution activity button in the Retrospect toolbar.

Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor provides an interface for viewing and interacting with immediate and scripted operations, before, during, and after they execute. The Activity Monitor automatically displays (on the Executing tab) when an operation is executing. To open it manually, click the Activity Monitor button on the Retrospect toolbar.

The Activity Monitor contains the following tabs:

Each tab provides a unique set of commands and information about Retrospect activities. One item that appears on all the tabs is the “Don’t allow scheduled and waiting executions to start” checkbox. Select this checkbox to prevent any Proactive, scheduled, or waiting execution from starting until the checkbox is deselected.

Proactive Tab

Click Activity Monitor>Proactive from Retrospect’s navigation bar to monitor Proactive Backup scripts.

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You can start and stop all Proactive Backups, pause and resume specific scripts, and modify the script schedules.

For more information on controlling Proactive Backup and Proactive Backup scripts, see Controlling Proactive Backup.

Once a Proactive Backup script starts, you can monitor the operation’s progress in the Executing tab. However, unlike other types of operations, if the required media or execution unit for a Proactive Backup script is not available, the script will not move to the waiting tab or display a media request dialog. Proactive Backup waits until all the required resources are available before beginning the operation.

If the required media is not available the Status column (visible when Sources or Backup Sets is selected in the list box) in the Proactive tab will say “Media”. The script will execute automatically when the required media becomes available.

If the required execution unit is not available, the Proactive Backup script will wait until it is.

For more information on execution units, see General Preferences,

Proactive Backup Status

There are three ways to view Proactive Backup script information. Choose one of the following options from the list box:

  • Sources shows the source volumes used by all running scripts, and indicates the status of each source and the time of the next backup. From the Sources view, you set a specific schedule for backing up any of the script’s sources.
  • Backup Sets shows the Backup Sets used by all running scripts and indicates the status of the operation.
  • Scripts lists all Proactive Backup scripts by name and indicates their status. From the Scripts view, you can deactivate a script.

Retrospect lists the status of each item under the status heading.

Blank means Proactive Backup has yet to connect with the item.

Active means the script is functioning.

ASAP means the source will be backed up as soon as possible. This may be either because the client user initiated the backup or the client’s most recent backup is older than the script’s backup interval.

Backed up means the source volume has been backed up within the specified interval.

Busy means that Proactive Backup is waiting for a resource that is currently in use.

Deferred means the client user has intercepted and postponed the backup. Such user deferments are entered in the Operations Log.

Device means that Proactive Backup cannot find the tape drive to which the required Backup Set is bound. See The Binding tab for more information.

Inactive means the script was deactivated or its schedule does not currently permit it to run.

Media means Proactive Backup cannot find the proper media for the item’s Backup Set.

Password means that a Backup Set required by Proactive Backup is password-protected and requires the password for any access. To make the Backup Set accessible, go to Configure>Backup Sets, select the protected Backup Set, and click Properties. Once you enter the password, the Backup Set will be accessible until you relaunch Retrospect.

Ready means a source is currently being backed up or is about to be. It also means a Backup Set is ready as a backup destination.

Retry means Proactive Backup failed to back up the source and will try again.

Scheduled means the source has never been backed up, but the administrator has scheduled a pending backup.

Source means Proactive Backup cannot find the source volume.

Wrap up means a Proactive Backup script is in its wrap up period.

Click on a source, Backup Set, or script to see more status information in the lower part of the Activity Monitor window.

Proactive Backup Commands

The Proactive tab includes the following commands:

  • Click the Schedule button to override a Proactive Backup script’s execution schedule. If Sources is selected in the list box, enter a date and time in the dialog box, then click OK. If Scripts is selected in the list box, select a radio button option for when the script should be active, then click OK.
  • Click the Pause button to pause all pending Proactive Backup script executions.
  • Click the Continue button to continue all pending Proactive Backup script executions.
  • Click the Start button to start Proactive Backup. If you have created any Proactive Backup scripts, and Proactive Backup is not disabled, it will start automatically after 10 minutes.
  • Click the Stop button to stop Proactive Backup from running. When you click Stop, no Proactive Backup scripts will execute until you click Start. If you do not disable Proactive Backup, it will automatically start up again after 10 minutes. When you stop Proactive Backup, any schedule overrides you specified while Proactive Backup was running will be lost.
  • Choose an item from the Sources list box to change the view. Choose Sources to view Proactive Backup scripts based on their source; choose Backup Sets to view Proactive Backup scripts based on their destination; or choose Scripts to view to view Proactive Backup scripts by script name.
  • Select the “Don’t allow scheduled and waiting executions to start” checkbox to prevent any Proactive, scheduled, or waiting execution from starting until the checkbox is deselected.

Deactivating a Proactive Backup Script

Retrospect allows you to temporarily deactivate a Proactive Backup script so its sources are not included in Proactive Backup’s routine operations.

When Proactive Backup is stopped and later started, the script will be active.

To prevent a specific Proactive Backup script from executing, first click the Scripts tab. Then select the script from the list and click Schedule from the toolbar and in the dialog that follows select Never active and click OK.

Reactivating a Script: To allow a deactivated Proactive Backup script to execute and include its sources in Proactive Backup’s routine operations, follow the same steps as deactivating but select Always active.

Scheduling a Backup of a Source

Retrospect allows you to schedule a backup of a source from a running Proactive Backup script. This lets you set a definite time for Proactive Backup to back up the source, rather than wait for Proactive Backup to back it up at its convenience. This is useful, for example, when the backup administrator knows a salesperson will be leaving the office with her notebook computer. The administrator can schedule that client for backup immediately.

To schedule a backup of a source, first click the Sources tab in the Proactive Backup status window. Then select the source from the list and click Schedule from the toolbar (or double-click on the source).

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Use the controls to set the date and time to back up the source, then click OK. Retrospect changes the priority of the source in the Proactive Backup queue according to your scheduled time.

A backup scheduled this way is not remembered by Retrospect when Proactive Backup is stopped.

Scheduled Tab

Click Activity Monitor>Scheduled from Retrospect’s navigation bar to preview upcoming scripts (excluding Proactive Backup scripts).

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You can edit and delete specific scripts from this window, and also prevent all scheduled executions from starting.

The Scheduled tab includes the following commands:

  • Click the Edit Script button to display the script summary window. From this window, you can modify the script sources, destinations, selected files, options, and schedule. Make your changes, then click OK.
  • Click the Delete button to delete the script execution for the selected date and time, as well as all other executions of the script scheduled prior to the selected date and time. Retrospect displays a dialog asking you to confirm the request.
  • Select the “Don’t allow scheduled and waiting executions to start” checkbox to prevent any Proactive, scheduled, or waiting execution from starting until the checkbox is deselected.

Once a script’s scheduled execution time arrives, it moves from the Scheduled tab to the Executing tab, or, if the required resources are not available, to the Waiting tab.

Waiting Tab

Click Activity Monitor>Waiting from Retrospect’s navigation bar to view operations that are waiting for resources (Backup Sets, sources, execution units.).

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For example, if an operation requires a specific execution unit that is already in use, or if all available execution units are currently in use, the operation will get put into the waiting queue. For more information about execution units and multiple simultaneous executions, see Multiple Concurrent Executions.

The Waiting tab includes the following commands:

  • Click the Suspend button to pause the selected operation. Suspended operations will not execute until they are resumed (even if the required resources become available).
  • Click the Resume button to resume a selected suspended operation. When the resources required to run the operation become available, it will execute.
  • Click the Delete button, then click OK to delete the selected operation.
  • Click the Defer button to defer execution until a specified a date and time. At that date and time (provided you have not quit Retrospect in the meantime) the operation will try to execute. If the required resources are available, it will execute. Otherwise, it will get placed in the waiting queue.
  • Select the “Don’t allow scheduled and waiting executions to start” checkbox to prevent any Proactive, scheduled, or waiting execution from starting until the checkbox is deselected.

Once an operation starts executing, you can monitor its progress in the Executing tab.

Executing Tab

Click Activity Monitor>Executing from Retrospect’s navigation bar to view executing operations.

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When an operation begins executing, the Activity Monitor’s Executing tab displays automatically.

You can monitor the performance of currently executing operations, temporarily pause, or permanently stop an operation, and view the log associated with an operation. If the operation requires media that is not available or accessible, the Media Request window displays during execution.

What Retrospect does after the operation is complete depends on whether it’s an immediate operation or a scripted operation and the preferences you have specified. See Startup Preferences and Schedule Preferences for more information.

While an operation is executing, it includes the following commands:

  • Click the Pause button, then click Yes to temporarily suspend the selected operation. If you want to pause all executions and/or not allow scheduled and waiting executions to start, select the appropriate checkbox(es), then click Yes.
  • Click the Continue button, then click Yes to resume the selected operation. If you want to continue all executions and/or allow scheduled and waiting executions to start, select the appropriate checkbox(es), then click Yes.
  • Click the Stop button, then click Yes to halt the selected operation, bringing it to a premature end. If you want to stop all executions and/or not allow scheduled and waiting executions to start, select the appropriate checkbox(es), then click Yes.
  • The Log button displays Operations Log information for the selected operation.

If the media required for the selected operation is not available, Retrospect displays a media request dialog. See Media Request Window for more information.

Once an operation is complete, it is removed from the Executing tab. Click the History tab to view details about the operation.

History Tab

Click Activity Monitor>History from Retrospect’s navigation bar to view operations that are finished executing (successfully or unsuccessfully).

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The History tab includes information about the date, time, and performance of the most recent operations and has the following commands:

  • Click the Delete All button, then click OK to clear history information for all listed items. If you don’t delete the operations history, Retrospect automatically removes the oldest operations to display information about more recent operations. Use the Execution history limit to control the maximum number of operations listed in the History tab. See General Preferences for more information.
  • Click the Delete button, then click OK to clear history information for the selected operation.
  • Click Errors to display a browser listing the file(s) that caused the error. The Error button is only enabled if there is a file-related error. Other errors are explained in the Log.
  • Click the Log button to display the Operations Log information for the selected operation.

Events Tab

Click Activity Monitor>Events from Retrospect’s navigation bar to see special messages from Retrospect concerning past and current operations.

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For each event, Retrospect displays information about the event type, the date and time of the event, the event category, and a brief description of the event. You should periodically review the Events tab as part of your regular monitoring of the Retrospect backup computer.

Event types include Information, Warning, and Error. Information events are displayed for operations that complete successfully or are stopped before completion. Warning events can be more serious. For example, if a backup completes with errors, Retrospect displays a Warning event. Finally, Error events are the most serious. Retrospect displays an Error event when it cannot complete an operation, for example, if a script fails or a volume or device is not accessible.

Each event displayed by Retrospect falls into one of the following categories: Volume, Client, Device, SCSI, Backup Set, Engine, or Script.

You can delete a selected event or delete all events using the following commands:

  • Click the Delete All button, then click OK to delete all events. If you don’t ever delete events, Retrospect automatically removes the oldest events to display information about more recent events. Use the Execution event limit to control the maximum number of events listed in the Events tab. See General Preferences for more information.
  • Click the Delete button, then click OK to delete the selected event.
  • All Retrospect events are also logged in the Windows Event Viewer’s Application log. See your Windows documentation for information on accessing the Event Viewer. If you select Retrospect’s “Enable notification for external applications” preference, certain applications, such as EMC Legato Networker Management Console, can also display Retrospect events. See Reporting Preferences for more information.

Media Request Window

When an operation moves into the Activity Monitor’s Executing tab and the required media is not available, Retrospect prompts you to insert media with the correct name or blank or erased media, by displaying a media request window.

You can avoid this prompt if you insert the correct medium before the operation executes. So it does not overwrite valuable data, Retrospect is very particular about tapes, discs, and removable disks—they must be blank or erased, or their names must exactly match the requested names in order for Retrospect to proceed without prompting you. When performing new or Recycle backups, consider erasing removable media or adding hard disks beforehand to be sure Retrospect will proceed automatically without a media request.

The media request window looks different depending on whether your destination is a tape/CD/DVD Backup Set or a disk Backup Set.

Tape/CD/DVD Media Request

When backing up to tapes or CD/DVDs, the media request window looks a lot like the Storage Devices window.

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Click Stop to halt the current operation. If Retrospect is looking for new media, insert blank/erased media and click Proceed to continue the current operation. If Retrospect is looking for a specific named member of a Backup Set insert it and click Proceed. If the named member is unavailable click Choices (see Media Unavailable for more information).

The window has a toolbar with the same commands available from the Storage Devices window. See:

The most useful commands during a media request are:

Eject: unloads the selected medium from its drive so you can insert the correctly named medium or a blank/erased tape/CD/DVD.

Erase: erases the contents of the selected tape or CD/DVD and then uses the erased medium for the current operation.

Media Unavailable

If the requested media is unavailable, click the Choices button. The media choices dialog displays. Choose one of the following options:

Missing: tells Retrospect to designate the requested member as permanently unavailable from the Backup Set. Retrospect will ask for a new member and, if possible, copy the missing data to it during the next backup or archive.

Select Missing only when you have permanently lost or damaged the requested member. It is not appropriate for other situations.

Skip: tells Retrospect to skip the requested member and ask for a new member. Data on the requested member remains intact. Effectively, you are saying, “Stop copying to this member and start copying to a new one.” This is useful when a member is nearly full and you think it may not make it through a complete unattended backup before Retrospect fills it and asks for a new medium.

Do not select Skip when you have lost or damaged the requested medium, or you may lose your data. Select Missing instead.

Disk Media Request

When backing up to disk, the media request window looks a lot like adding a disk to a new disk Backup Set. The window displays when the disk is full or unavailable to Retrospect.

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Click Cancel to halt the current operation.

Click Show Members to show all members of the Backup Set and view details about each with the Properties button. If any of the existing members has more disk space available, you can add it to the Backup Set in the Properties window. If you are able to add enough space, Retrospect continues the current operation.

Browse to and select a disk with available space and click Proceed to add it as a member of the Backup Set. Retrospect displays a window that summarizes information about the disk you are adding and lets you specify how much storage space to dedicate to the Backup Set.

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Click the Advanced button, to specify additional options.

  • A location for the backup data folder. If you don’t specify a location, the folder is automatically saved on the root level of the disk.
  • A password for a network volume so Retrospect can automatically log in during unattended backups.
  • With non-system local volumes, you can also have Retrospect erase and rename the disk.

Click OK to add the disk and continue the current operation.

For disk Backup Sets with grooming enabled, Retrospect only displays the media request window after it has already groomed the Backup Set and determined that it still needs more disk space to complete the current operation. If the Backup Set is grooming to the Retrospect defined policy, you must add another disk (or increase the space available to the current disk) to continue the current operation.

If the grooming policy specifies the number of backups to keep, you can click Groom to decrease this number and delete older Snapshots and their associated files to reclaim disk space on the current Backup Set member. This frees up room for the current operation, but the groomed data cannot be recovered.

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Click Groom, then enter a new, reduced number of backups to keep and click OK. Retrospect grooms the Backup Set and, if it now has enough available disk space, continues the current operation.

Multiple Concurrent Executions

Retrospect allows you to: change configuration settings while and operation is executing; execute independent operations in parallel; handle resource conflicts (including serializing conflicting executions); have the Proactive Backup system kick off multiple executions; and use multiple drives in a tape library simultaneously.

Retrospect has both core multiple execution capabilities and additional capabilities (support for simultaneous use of multiple tape drives) that are enabled through the Advanced Tape Support add-on.

Retrospect Desktop does not support multiple concurrent executions.

Multiple Executions

Retrospect comes pre-configured for multiple execution units, the exact number of which is based on the backup computer’s total amount of memory.

The software allows up to 8 concurrent executions, provided the computer has enough memory and backup devices to support such a configuration.

When you're using multiple execution units, you can run multiple operations at the same time. If you start more operations than there are available execution units, the additional operations are placed in a “Waiting” queue until an execution unit becomes available. See Waiting Tab.

Proactive Backup scripts operations do not go into the waiting queue. They only launch when an execution unit (and other required resources) is available.

Generally, in order to execute operations concurrently, the operations must each have a unique source and a unique destination. Disk Backup Sets are unique in that the same Backup Set can be used as the destination in one operation while, at the same time, as the source for one or more additional operations. This feature is discussed in Disk Backup Sets and Multiple Executions.

Subvolumes and mailboxes are not considered unique from the volume or Exchange Mailbox container on which they are stored. Therefore, you cannot back up from or restore to a volume and any of its subvolumes (or an Exchange Mailbox container and any of its mailboxes) concurrently. Retrospect will run these executions consecutively.

If you have multiple disk Backup Sets stored on the same disk, Retrospect, Inc. recommends that you not use those Backup Sets in concurrent operations.

Disk Backup Sets and Multiple Executions

Retrospect server-class editions are unique in that they support a single write operation and multiple read operations simultaneously using the same disk Backup Set.

Write operations include:

  • Backing up to the Backup Set
  • Transferring to the Backup Set
  • Archiving to the Backup Set

Read operations include:

  • Restoring from the Backup Set
  • Transferring from the Backup Set
  • Preparing for disaster recovery
  • Viewing the Backup Set Properties
  • Browsing a Backup Set’s Snapshots or Sessions

As long as you have enough execution units available, you can perform one write operation at the same time as one or more read operations. You can also perform multiple read operations at the same time.

For example, you can back up to a Backup Set, while simultaneously restoring a Retrospect Client from the same Backup Set. You can also:

  • Perform multiple restores from the same Backup Set
  • Transfer Snapshots from a Backup Set while backing up to that Backup Set

The only limitation, other than execution units, is that none of the concurrent operations can require same volume/database/mailbox or the same non-disk Backup Set.

Certain operations require exclusive access to the Backup Set (e.g. updating a Catalog File, grooming, recycling, verifying media). When one of these operations is using a disk Backup Set, no other operations can use that Backup Set at the same time.

To take full advantage of these disk Backup Set capabilities, make sure your scripts specify that Retrospect use “Any Execution Unit”. See Assigning Execution Units for more information.

Other than specifying “Any Execution Unit” in your scripts, there is nothing you have to do to use this feature. Scripts that are unable to run simultaneously due to resource conflicts are placed in the Waiting queue and execute as soon as the required resources become available. For immediate operations and Backup Set management tasks, Retrospect either asks if you want to wait for the required resource to become available or displays error -843 (resource in use by another operation), in which case you’ll have to try again later.

Retrospect Desktop supports only one execution unit and therefore cannot take advantage of disk Backup Sets’ single write/multiple read capabilities.

Configuring Multiple Execution Preferences

You must have more than one execution unit to perform concurrent executions.

See General Preferences for information on specifying the number of execution units.

Retrospect automatically determines the optimal number of execution units based on the backup computer’s memory. Override this setting at your own risk.

Assigning Execution Units

You can decide whether you want an operation to use a specific execution unit or the first available execution unit (“Any Execution Unit”). When you have two or more execution units and you create a script or set up an immediate operation, its summary window includes an execution unit list box.

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To take advantage of multiple executions, choose “Any Execution Unit”. In some cases, you may want executions to run consecutively. For example, you may back up a volume to hard disk, then back up the Catalog File to a CD. In this case, you should assign the same execution unit to both operations and schedule the main backup to start before the Catalog backup. This guarantees that the second operation will not execute until the first one is complete.

Multiple Drives

Concurrent executions to multiple tape drives requires Retrospect's Advanced Tape Support add-on. You can perform concurrent executions to multiple stand-alone tape drives, or to tape libraries with multiple built-in drives.

Advanced Tape Support is not available for Retrospect Desktop or Retrospect Single Server (Disk-to-Disk).

Binding Tape Backup Sets to Tape Drives

When using multiple tape drives with Retrospect, you may want to “bind” a Backup Set to a specific drive. For example, if you have two tape drives, a faster drive and a slower drive, you may want to bind the Backup Set for your client computers to the slow drive, and the Backup Set for the local server to the fast drive. That way the networking speed and drive speed will be more in sync and the tape drives will have to spend less time repositioning the heads.

By default, Retrospect allows Backup Sets to use any available tape drive, but there are two ways to change this setting:

  • You can specify and modify the binding of a tape Backup Set through the Backup Set properties window. Go to Configure>Backup Sets, select a tape Backup Set, and click Properties. In the Properties window, click the Binding tab. Click “Selected tape drives” and select one or more drives. You can also remove a binding by selecting “Any tape drive”.
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  • You can also specify and modify the binding of a tape Backup Set through the Storage Devices window. Click Configure>Devices. In the Storage Devices window, click the Binding tab. Select a Backup Set, click “Selected tape drives,” and select one or more drives. You can also remove a binding by selecting “Any tape drive”.
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Multiple Tape Drive Strategies

Retrospect Advanced Tape Support (ATS) add-on allows Retrospect to write to multiple tape drives or read and write to separate tape drives at the same time. This allows for more data to be backed up in a given backup window.

The key strategy for maximizing the performance of ATS and meeting your backup window demands is to set up your scripts to stream a unique source to a unique destination, so that multiple operations can run concurrently.

If a specific source or destination is in use by one operation, Retrospect cannot use that source or destination for another concurrent operation.

The following scenarios describe how to structure your scripts and Backup Sets to get the greatest advantage from ATS:

Without Advanced Tape Support, you would most likely create one script to back up all the servers to a single Backup Set. Since you cannot back up simultaneously to two tape drives without ATS, this is a good option.

With Advanced Tape Support however, you can create two scripts, each of which backs up two servers to a different Backup Set. You can schedule the scripts to run at the same time and back up all the volumes in less time.

Scripts

Script 1

Script 2

Sources

Script 1: Server A and Server B

Script 2: Server C and Server D

Destinations

Script 1: Backup Set 1

Script 2: Backup Set 2

In this example, the servers need to get backed up every night at 10 p.m. and the notebooks need to get backed up as they’re available on the network.

Create two scripts, one regular script for the servers and a Proactive backup script for the notebooks.

Scripts

Server Backup

Notebook Backup (Proactive Backup script)

Sources

Server Backup: SQL, Exchange, file server

Notebook Backup: Notebooks

Destinations

Server Backup: Backup Set 1

Notebook Backup: Backup Set 2

Schedule

Server Backup: 10 p.m., every night

Notebook Backup: Always active

This arrangement makes it possible for Retrospect to back up the servers and the notebooks at the same time to different tape drives (as long as the resources are available).

Organize the clients into four logical groups of a similar size, then create a source group (in the Volumes Database) for each and add the clients.

Create a Backup Set and Proactive Backup script for each source group, then start Proactive Backup.