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Backup pattern Full then Hourly for File/Folder to compliment Full/Diff full system backups

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sim
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Posts: 9
Comments: 35

I currently run ATI at 6 pm every day with full/diff; new full at 5 days; delete chains older than 7 days. I'd like to increase backup frequency for some specific folders. I would consider altering my existing scheme, or alternatively running a separate ATI backup for the faster/more limited backups.

I considered ATI nonstop backup but read enough about issues with it to not want to experiment with it.

Steve and other have talked about the pattern of full followed by 23 incremental images (assuming the system runs 24 x7), then a new full version etc. I would consider this option; it would replace my current backup routine; no separate backup would be running in parallel. I'd expect full system restores to be more difficult this way, but I don't need to recover my system very often (thankfully). I'm also not sure what would happen with my storage space; I'd still want to keep a week or so of backups around.

My thinking then at this time is to keep the current daily image backup (backup A) and create another backup (backup B) to run in parallel. Pick the dirs I want to be included, run it hourly. I'd never need to restore a full backup, just specific files and folders as needed.

#1 does ATI have issues with multiple backups on the same pc? IE if I'm working at 6 pm and it starts a full backup "A" which can take hours to complete, and at 7 pm backup B kicks in to deal with the files I've updated since the last incremental.

#2 What might some recommended Full/Incremental settings for Backup B look like? Detail like new full every 5 days, delete chains older than 7 days etc.

#2 Backup B is more likely to need adjustments to "source" since it's being aimed at specific dirs. What dirs might be of interest will change month by month. With my "Backup A" system (full/diff) I gathered that if I change the source setting or any of the main details about how the backup is performed, that it's best to create a new backup from scratch. Would a Full/Incremental like Backup B have issues with changes to source? If so it becomes more fussy to maintain.

 

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Legend
Posts: 46
Comments: 15436

Sim, ATI will only ever allow one backup task to be active at any time, so if you have a task that starts at 6pm but which takes up to 2 hours, and another to start at 7pm, then the second task will show in 'queued' status until the first one has finished.

When using the option to keep backups for 7 days, you need to understand that this period does not start being counted until the next Full backup image has been created.  For this reason, my own preference is to use the alternative option to 'Store no more than X version chains' as this is easier to understand and manage.  Any older version chains will not be deleted until the X+1 new Full backup image has been created, but this time the deletion happens immediately after this, not with a delay period.

If you are considering an hourly incremental backup, then I would guess that these image files will be smaller unless your files / folders are being changed very often.

Changes to your Source data selections may need a new task to be created (or cloned) but it depends on how your source data is organised.  If all your source data share the same parent folder(s), then any new sub-folders beneath these parents will be automatically included in the backup, but those present but not selected will continue to be excluded.

sim
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Posts: 9
Comments: 35

Hi Steve, I found out about the concurrent backup issues on my own tonight before seeing your post. It means my master plan is not going to work, I think. If I could set the hourly backup to run up until just before 6 pm and then call it a day, that would suffice for my needs, but I don't see a way to configure that.

Any suggestions re how to approach this? I could run incremental hourly on the system, and give up the parallel backup idea. But I really do like Full/Diff if I need to restore from a catastrophic event.

sim
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Posts: 9
Comments: 35

Something else happened with acronis that is worrisome. All of the contents of the original backup vanished. The folder was there but no files. I am certain that I didn't touch that folder, didn't even look at it. The original backup is to drive U; the new, hourly backup (now diabled) is to drive V.

Legend
Posts: 46
Comments: 15436

sim wrote:

If I could set the hourly backup to run up until just before 6 pm and then call it a day, that would suffice for my needs, but I don't see a way to configure that.

 Sim, it is not possible to create a schedule within the ATI GUI to do what you want, but it is possible to do this in a different way using a Windows Batch file.

I have used the following batch command file to launch a backup task when doing testing for an issue (now modified to repeat a backup once an hour for 9 hours).

@echo off
set ATI="C:\Program Files (x86)\Acronis\TrueImageHome\TrueImageLauncher.exe"
set task=75BA2979-24ED-445A-A021-7D5E64A990BB

set loopcount=9
:loop
echo Launching ATI Task <Software>  %loopcount%
%ATI% /script:%task%
set /a loopcount=loopcount-1
if %loopcount%==0 goto exitloop
timeout /t 3600
goto loop
:exitloop
exit

The task name needs to be identified and put into the batch script - you can find this by going to the C:\Program Data\Acronis\TrueImageHome\Scripts folder and looking at the XML data files that are stored there.  If you open these files with Notepad you will see your task name shown near the top of the file contents.

Example: (from one of my tasks)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<batch>
    <version>1.0</version>
    <uuid>75BA2979-24ED-445A-A021-7D5E64A990BB</uuid>
    <display>Software</display>
    <priority>normal</priority>

You can see the uuid value used in the batch file for the task identifier, and the task name shown in-between the <display> brackets.

The batch script is a simple loop but you could easily use the Windows Task Scheduler to run this task daily at your preferred time using this type of method.

sim
Forum Member
Posts: 9
Comments: 35

Yes that would work very well, thank you. This is what I'll do.

It would be good if Acronis added a time range feature if hourly is selected. Has this been requested of them?

Legend
Posts: 46
Comments: 15436

sim wrote:
It would be good if Acronis added a time range feature if hourly is selected. Has this been requested of them?

Sim, please use the Feedback tool in the ATI GUI to submit a request for this type of scheduling option using a time range.

sim
Forum Member
Posts: 9
Comments: 35

Sent the feedback.

I may not use this approach after all. This pc sleeps sometimes during the day or is off. If I interpret the script correctly, it'd resume it'd countdown from 9 to 0 after it wakes up, which could then collide with the other ATI backup.

I know that problem could be scripted around, but in order to keep it simple I think I might use another backup system I have which does offer more granularity for this kind of backup.

Legend
Posts: 46
Comments: 15436

Another method that you can use....

Create a simple batch file:  RunBetween.BAT

@ECHO OFF
rem testing for specific time for task execution
SET hour=%time:~0,2%
IF %hour% GEQ 9 IF %hour% LEQ 17 (GOTO RUNIT)

ECHO Wrong time to run!
exit /b 1
GOTO END

:RUNIT
ECHO Right time to run!
exit /b 0

:END

Next, edit your backup task and schedule it to run Daily, every hour.

Finally, open the Advanced Options and set your RunBetween.BAT file as a Pre Command for the task and test that it is successful when between 09:00 and 17:59, but fails at other times.

2018-08-30 17_38_44 Run hourly.png
2018-08-30 17_38_06 PreCommand.png

Legend
Posts: 46
Comments: 15436

Note: I would recommend if using this method to change the Advanced Options > Error Handling to prevent the task being retried after the error exit..

2018-08-30 17_43_56 error handling.png

sim
Forum Member
Posts: 9
Comments: 35

That's really neat...it seems you have a script for every eventuality! I don't script very often (though I do a lot of programming) so recreating all of that from scratch would have been a bit of labor. Thank you again.

Legend
Posts: 46
Comments: 15436

Sim, mainly my good friend 'Google' search for script examples then making minor changes to fit the need - re-use rather than reinvent!

sim
Forum Member
Posts: 9
Comments: 35

I used another backup system for file/folder backups for the last few weeks. It was ok but far more difficult to restore from. I re-read what you posted in your first reply here and realized that the two jobs might be able to coexist ok even without scripting. What struck me this time was your comment "...the second task will show in 'queued' status until the first one has finished." I hadn't thought about the job as queued; I had only noticed that after a handful of notices, the job would fail. I found the setting for retry attempts in advanced/error handling, and changed it from the default of 30 seconds to 30 minutes, 8 retrys, on both jobs. That is sufficient for my needs, I think. Either job could be running when the other one starts so it was neccessary to adjust both. With the queue feature, I expect that the waiting job will commence successfully at some point. Neither of these jobs can take longer than 3 hours to complete.

Legend
Posts: 46
Comments: 15436

The error retry settings should not affect a queued task - these only apply when the task is active and an error is encountered.  My default settings for error handling are to fully disable all these and let ATI inform me if any issues are encountered.

2018-08-15 18_37_09 Error handling.png

sim
Forum Member
Posts: 9
Comments: 35

Oh, I see. Then, can you describe the pattern that is applied for queued jobs? They simply test the ability to run and some non-customizable interval, and then start when there is no contention?

Legend
Posts: 46
Comments: 15436

There is no pattern for a queued job - the job is inactive and waiting for the active job to complete before any action is applied.