Incremental (non-)files and other Acronis annoyances
I have been using Acronis for more than 10 years, recommended it to many people, and installed it on the machines of non-technical friends. Could have sworn by it. Now I regularly swear at it.
It started with the absolutely unnecessary bloatware. My backups are backed-up via 10Gbit Ethernet, and suddenly, the 10Gbit slowed down to 2Gbit when I was lucky, 1Gbit when I was not. I suspected Windows 10 upgrades, but after many test installs and hundreds of iperf3 runs, it turned out that Acronis was the culprit. With all “cyber” stuff turned off, the network is fast again.
ACRONIS, LISTEN UP: This is backup software, not an ant-virus, or a firewall. Keeping backup-files protected is O.K. and welcome, everything else is not. Anti-virus has become increasingly useless as it is, and Windows Defender does a halfway decent job. If you want a security Swiss Army Knife, get Kaspersky.
In the olden days, an incremental backup produced a series of small files, which was very welcome in my case. Every evening, the whole backup set gets copied to a Linux server via a Windows share (not via a share on the server, that would be accessible to ransomware …) and from that, it gets copied to another server across town the next day. The small incremental files make for a fast rsync copy, it ignores identical files.
Suddenly, after an upgrade, the incremental files were gone, and an ever-growing single file was produced. I have a few 9TB drives. Can you imagine how long it takes to copy their backup over the net every night?
I opened a ticket, and I was told ty a Sushree Sahu to RTFM, because doesn’t it say in https://kb.acronis.com/content/63444 and https://kb.acronis.com/content/63516 that incremental files are no longer created? Well duh, I want Acronis to work quietly in the background, and to protect me from a catastrophe. Acronis knowledge base is not on my regular reading list.
Anyway, turns out that what the knowledge base and Sushree of Acronis customer service tell me is not completely true.
On my end, when the scheme is set to incremental, incremental backups go to the same file ONLY if a complete disk/partition is backed up. When a directory/file is being backed up, a series of numbered *.tbx files is created as when back in the day. This is not as in the documentation. It is very inconsistent. However, see above, it is greatly beneficial in my case.
I could switch all but one backup set to directory/file, which works as above. One backup set, the system drive, must be of the whole disk, which results in long times wasted when the same data are sent via the network again and again. I understand that one file could be more robust, but if that is corrupted, the whole backup could be gone. With the previous scheme, the versions older than the corrupted file would be recoverable. I have been using Acronis for years, and I never had a problem with unrecoverable backups.
I reported the above back to Sushree, and the result was radio silence. I requested an older copy which produces individual files, radio silence again.
Acronis has fallen into the hands of investment bankers, and what they demand are ever-increasing cash flows. It shows.
I will wait a few days for Suhree sending me an older version. If not, I’ll send for Macrium Reflect.
Update: Today, I received a phonecall from Acronis. I was asked to explain my problem, and I explained again via voice what I had explained twice before via message. I was told that making the single file is as per design, that it is as it is, and that the suggestion to allow the optional making of multiple files would be sent to development. Again, I had to ask to be sent an older version that makes multiple files as it had been doing in the decade before, and this time, a link was sent. I now am the proud owner of a 2 year old Acronis sans the dubious "improvements" I made my annual contribution for. I sympathize for the need to create cashflow with new versions, but if the solution is a 2 year-old version, the exercise becomes contra productive.