One of the things I’ve loved about Retrospect for Windows over the years is the ability to groom a backup set. Grooming is essentially taking the old data that doesn’t need to be in the set and removing it, providing there’s still a copy if the file is still resident on the source. I’ve always felt that for clients with Retrospect for Mac the lack of grooming left them at a serious disadvantage. Well, in Retrospect 8 the Mac should end up with this same feature. When you go to Scripts you can add a Utility Script. In this case, we’ll select Groom. You then check the box for each set you’d like to groom using this script and set a schedule.
Next, you’ll want to go into your sets and configure a grooming policy. To do so, click on Media Sets and then click on the set you’d like to setup a grooming policy for and then click on the Options set tab. Here, you’ll see a little option there for No grooming (the default) or the number of backups to keep.
Basically, by telling Retrospect to retention 6 or 7 backups for a given set you are eliminating the need to do an occasional recycle script unless you just want to still use the same script architecture you used in previous versions. You can also tell a given set to use the global grooming policy. Overall I see grooming as a requirement for modern backup software and I’m glad to see that once Retrospect for Mac comes out of Beta that it will be a feature available to Mac admins. This feature alone will cut down considerably on complexity and annoyance for many organizations that I’ve seen over the past few years.
But grooming isn’t always the greatest thing ever. Keep in mind that it has a history of causing corrupt catalog files in the Windows version of the software. So make sure to backup your catalog files. Potential FUD disclosure: I’ve been running it for a few weeks with no problems on the Beta, but it would stand to reason that this could manifest itself on Mac OS X as well in Retrospect 8. Be careful stopping grooming scripts. These can cause your catalogs to require a rebuild (stands to reason they might be jacked up if you stop a stream of data writing to them). Also, if you’ve been doing file based sets then you’ll have to get away from this. Retrospect grooms disk based sets, not file based sets. Finally, don’t groom across disks. Use grooming on sets that only take up one disk…