Standalone backup agents for Linux, Mac, AIX & Solaris workloads on-premises or in the public cloud
iknowtech
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Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by iknowtech »

I'm curious to hear about any comments or experiences people have had with this. I just tried setting up my own Mac at home with this and my own experiences have not been very positive.
  • The Agent itself is not very useful on the actual computer itself, with very minimal GUI, and no methods for configuring backup jobs directly through a GUI experience, no way to even view status of current running jobs.
  • Only way I could find to connect the VSPC Management agent was via Terminal running some complicated command line stuff.
  • I was hoping like other Veeam products that this product would take image based backups of the entire computer as a possible replacement for Time Machine, but its File Based backup only, defaulting to just the /Users directory
  • I setup backup to a local NAS and cloud connect, and it will only run one backup job at a time. If one job is already running when another job schedules start time come up, it just skips the other backup entirely, and there is no method for doing Backup Copy Job
  • Backups to both my local NAS and Cloud Connect failed with errors and the Restore Points wont mount.
I've been really chomping at the bit for this to get released once there was inkling it was coming, but unfortunately I'm feeling pretty deflated right now.

Anyway, hoping to get some feedback from other users on their experiences and thoughts about this product, and if you think its something you will deploy to clients?

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by Mildur »

I haven‘t the time to test the new agent. I have to wait until I can upgrade my vcsp console. Should be next week or week after that. I have already read about the „only file level“ part. This could be a limitation from apple site.
I can give you a feedback after my testings.

Because this is the initial release, i will give it some time to evolve. Hopefully many customers will use the mac agent and create feature requests.

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by PTide »

Hi,
The Agent itself is not very useful on the actual computer itself, with very minimal GUI, and no methods for configuring backup jobs directly through a GUI experience, no way to even view status of current running jobs.
I know, this one might have been a bummer. However, the first version was specifically designed for managed backups with VBR or with VSPC, not as a standalone product. Local UI is planned for future versions.

By the way, did you intend to delegate job configuration tasks to your users, or you are asking purely because you hoped to use the agent as an end-user?
I was hoping like other Veeam products that this product would take image based backups of the entire computer as a possible replacement for Time Machine, but its File Based backup only, defaulting to just the /Users directory
May I ask you why to replace TimeMachine?

As for BMR in general - I rarely hear about cases when people screw thir macOS so royally that even local TimeMachine image cannot help them. Even in that case reverting to a read-only system image usually works, so that only files have to be restored in order to get back into business. That is, the current schema assumes that in 99% of cases people need to restore files, not the whole system, whereas that 1% is covered by TimeMachine or by a read-only system volume (is used since Catalina)
I setup backup to a local NAS and cloud connect, and it will only run one backup job at a time. If one job is already running when another job schedules start time come up, it just skips the other backup entirely
Yep, that's a known limitation of the current scheduler, we plan to change it so that it can postpone the start of the other job.
, and there is no method for doing Backup Copy Job
BCJ should be available for Mac backups if you send backups to a Veeam-backed repo.
Backups to both my local NAS and Cloud Connect failed with errors and the Restore Points wont mount.
This one has to be investigated by our support team. Please also keep in mind that if you experience any issues with setups that involve VBR then you should wait for GA release since VBR GA build will be different than the RTM that you probably got from you SE.

Thanks!

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by iknowtech »

By the way, did you intend to delegate job configuration tasks to your users, or you are asking purely because you hoped to use the agent as an end-user?
In most cases I will be configuring the backup jobs for the end users and using VCSP, but these are going to mostly be low volume scenarios, so in some cases it would be easier to just remote into the end users computer and configure the backups and be done with it.
May I ask you why to replace TimeMachine?
Because TIme Machines backups over the network are completely unreliable failing frequently and requesting end users to start over the backup sets from scratch frequently. The only way Time Machine works reliably by Apple's own admission is with directly connected external drives. Unfortunately its impossible to get end users to actually use external drives or manage this type of thing at scale. Not to mention the extra risk of data falling into the wrong hands by drives getting misplaced/mishandled. Then of course there's the limitation of Time Machine not being able to send backups offsite. Basically if Time Machine was a workable solution I wouldn't need another solution like what I had hoped Veeam might provide.
BCJ should be available for Mac backups if you send backups to a Veeam-backed repo
My use case is for either individual residential clients or for work from home people, in most cases I would be looking to do backups to a local NAS or directly to Cloud Connect. It would be very rare for me to have a use case where I would be backing up to a local VBR appliance.
This one has to be investigated by our support team. Please also keep in mind that if you experience any issues with setups that involve VBR then you should wait for GA release since VBR GA build will be different than the RTM that you probably got from you SE


I'm not using VBR, maybe I'll start a ticket with support, but seeing as my first and only attempt to use the product resulted in failed backups and with unmountable restore points, I'm feeling like this product is not ready for prime time, and my time would be better spent seeking alternative products.

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by PTide »

... in some cases it would be easier to just remote into the end users computer and configure the backups and be done with it.
Well, as an alternative I can suggest to use VAL-alike CLI (available for VAM) which accepts accepts .xml configs the same way as VAL does. That is, you can prepare a template which you could modify and use for different setups.
Because TIme Machines backups over the network are completely unreliable failing frequently and requesting end users to start over the backup sets from scratch frequently.
My point was that TimeMachine stores local snapshots which allow for BMR too which could be enough (because the system itslelf does not change frequently and the event when a full system restore is required is really rare and can be covered by the read-only OS partition).
My use case is for either individual residential clients or for work from home people, in most cases I would be looking to do backups to a local NAS or directly to Cloud Connect. It would be very rare for me to have a use case where I would be backing up to a local VBR appliance.
Ok, I see. So, it seems that you want to have a backup copy functionality in a standalone product, right?
maybe I'll start a ticket with support, but seeing as my first and only attempt to use the product resulted in failed backups and with unmountable restore points
Please do, if possible. Actually, you are the first one to report such issues, so I am very curious what could have gone wrong. Once you open a ticket please make sure to post your case ID so that we can keep track of the ticket.

Thanks!

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by iknowtech »

FYI, I just started a ticket with Veeam Support. 02076010

Also just noticed that my VIB incrementals are huge when the data being backed up isn't changing very much. I do have some large files that are probably getting small changes to them frequently, is it safe to assume this is not block level backups and that any change to a large file will result in the full file being backed up over and over again? Again seems to really go against the whole fundamental principles of what Veeam products are supposed to do in my opinion.

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by PTide »

is it safe to assume this is not block level backups and that any change to a large file will result in the full file being backed up over and over again
That's right, VAM os a file-level backup, and its change-tracking relies on a file modification date.

Thanks!

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by jkb »

I cannot install the MacOS Agent on my MacBook Pro. Running 11.2 and at the end of the installation I get a note that says;
The installation failed

The installer encountered an error that caused the installation to fail. Contact the software manufacturer for assistance.
Opening a ticket after this post.

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by PTide »

@jkb,

Did you install the agent before (Beta version, for instance)?

Thanks!

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by iknowtech »

So working with support we figured out the issue with me not being able to mount backups that were taken, there was an issue with my hosts file for some reason that affected localhost DNS resolution. But even after resolve that I still have a rash of errors being generated everyday during the backups.

It seems like it’s basically everything in my OneDrive folder that is causing the errors. I’m assuming it has something to do with the Files on Demand functionality, where the file names are present in Finder but they aren’t actually stored on the computer until you open them.

Also, I have VMware Fusion Virtual Machines that are in the /Users directory that are being backed up, resulting in huge daily incrementals, which are File Packages (.vmwarevm), that I’m assuming Veeam sees as multiple files and directories and not just a single file like it shows in Finder (Show Package Contents in Finder reveals the full directory and file structure of many files and directories). Ideally we could be back these VM's up at block level but doesn't sound like that is in the cards, so only option is to exclude the VMs entirely, and possibly backup the VM's separately through their own Agent. Doubling the cost to the client to deploy this to them, not ideal.

So both of these issues would be best and easiest to resolve by Excluding entire directories out of the /Users folder, and not just file extensions. Am I correct that directory level exclusion is currently not possible in the configuration profiles, and that only file extension based exclusion is an option? Something like a wildcard exclusion on directories that have either *OneDrive* or *.vmwarevm in the Directory name.

I'm also not seeing anyway to make edits to a Backup policy in VSPC to add in Exclusions after the fact. I can see this being a frequent issue where an Agent is deployed, and we don't know what issues like this are likely to pop up until the first backup, then we basically have to figure out how to create new one off profiles from scratch and redeploy them, which simply isn't scalable.

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by PTide »

It seems like it’s basically everything in my OneDrive folder that is causing the errors. I’m assuming it has something to do with the Files on Demand functionality, where the file names are present in Finder but they aren’t actually stored on the computer until you open them.
Might be true. Most likely it is. I think this one can be solved via usage of "custom selection" instead of "user profiles".
<...> I’m assuming Veeam sees as multiple files and directories and not just a single file like it shows in Finder
I am not sure that I understand how that could affects the size of an incremental backup. The agent either grabs the whole package as a single object (with all its content), or as a directory (with all its content). Where exactly do the .vmwarevm files reside? Is it /Users/<username>/VMware Fusion (or something like that)?
o both of these issues would be best and easiest to resolve by Excluding entire directories out of the /Users folder, and not just file extensions.
This can be done if you specify paths that you would like to back up using "custom selection" mode. Have you tried that already?
I'm also not seeing anyway to make edits to a Backup policy in VSPC to add in Exclusions after the fact. I can see this being a frequent issue where an Agent is deployed, and we don't know what issues like this are likely to pop up until the first backup, then we basically have to figure out how to create new one off profiles from scratch and redeploy them, which simply isn't scalable.
Since it is VSPC, let's ask @Vitaliy S.

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by Natalia Lupacheva »

Hi Jason,

speaking of VSPC, you can modify the existing or create your policies for mac.
You can define the folders to back up on "Files" step : specify the directories to back up or just add "/" directory to back the full machine.
You can also define include/exclude masks to filter the data you back up.
Please let us know if you've faced any issues modifying the existing policies for mac or creating your own.

Thanks!

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by iknowtech »

If the suggestion is to basically manually create individual includes for a bunch of different directories, rather that's just excluding one or two, that's a show stopper out of the gate, as every user is going to have different paths to their Home folders and it would be impossible to manage that at scale. If the limitation is going to be file level backup, we need to be able to define a single option either / or /Users, but then have something to account for the types of issues that are going to come up with OneDrive and I presume DropBox and other will have similar issues. The only scalable way I see to manage that is with an exclude at the Directory level with a Wildcard. ie any directory name that includes *OneDrive*. For the VMWare Fusion Package directories that would be accomplished with an exclude on any directory that ends in *.vmwarevm.

I had high hopes for this, but frankly the fact that this isn't block level backups like other Veeam products I'm accustomed to is a big let down, and these other limitations I'm finding simply will make this impossible to implement. I'll check it next year with 2.0 and see if this has matured to the point it would be usable. Thanks for your time to answer my questions.

Also, you can't "Edit" a policy in VCSP as you're suggesting because the Files step is missing in the Edit Function.

Image

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by Natalia Lupacheva »

Hi Jason,

As for editing the backup policy - you can select the folders to back up if you switch backup mode from "All users data" to "Selected files and folders":
Image
The new step - "Files" appears in this case:
Image

Also, speaking of the default mac policies in VSPC, we have two policies - "Users directories" and "Entire computer". They are configured with different modes ("All users data" and "Selected files and folders") to show you the options.

Thanks!

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by noahmehl »

Yes, there are a few things:

1. It’s a bit weird to install via an .sh script vs just a standard Mac Package
2. It was actually a little difficult to activate via command line. The help text for the utility actually doesn’t explain it well. I ran into two issues with this. The first is that the company name had a space in the name, and the second is that the password had special characters in it. Also, that you don’t *have* to add the password, it will prompt for it. This is an example of what I ran:

# sudo veeamconsoleconfig -g add veeam-cloud-connect-server.domain.com:6180 -t 'Company Internal\company-backups' --validate_cert

I would suggest updating the help text like this:

Example (will prompt for password): -g add <hostname>:6180 -t ‘Company Name\tenant name’ --validate_cert

As for the tenant explanation:

-t [ --tenant ] arg Updating connection settings: -t
<company\\tenant|subtenant> (<password>). NOTE: In case of
special characters used in a user password, please use
quotes ('<password>') when putting in data.

It’s really unclear how you add the password. The explanation has the password inside parentheses. I’m not really sure if the parentheses are require; which would be weird because most shells require them to be escaped. Maybe update to:

-t [ --tenant ] arg Updating connection settings:
-t ‘Company Name\tenant name' ‘P@ssw0rd’
NOTE: In case of special characters used in a user password
or company and/or tenant names, please use quotes '’ when
entering in data.

I'm still waiting on initial backups to complete, so we'll see.

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by Mildur » 1 person likes this post

You can send directly a feedback on the guide pages:

1. Mark the text
2. push CTRL+ENTER

After that, a menu will open for sending a mail to suggest a change in the guide :)

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by noahmehl »

@Mildur, are you referring to my comment? As I am describing the CLI output in the shell not the guide....

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by Mildur »

Oh no, sorry.
Of course, the command only works in the web guides.
I have misread your post. sorry :(

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by noahmehl »

So, I have my personal laptop (MacBook Pro) with about 370GB used locally. I'm trying to back up to the VSPC managed Cloud Connect server (with encryption). I cannot complete a single backup. Eventually it just times out, as I cannot just leave my laptop at my desk for 5 days straight. This isn't such a great solution, or there must be a way to increase the timeout to complete a single, or at least initial, backup?

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by noahmehl »

Alright, I think I found one issue. Basically, it's preferable to backup /System/Volume/Data for 10.15+, as it's an RW overlay on the RO system. This way, the APFS snapshot actually happens. I would suggest creating a default policy for OS X - Entire Machine - 10.15+ that defaults to: "/System/Volume/Data" instead of: "/"

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by Natalia Lupacheva »

Hello Noah,

Sorry for the late response.
Just in case - mac agent installation procedure is described here.
1) Well .sh helps you to install both management and backup agents without any additional actions. As Mac user, I would say it's usually easier and faster to install the apps with Terminal.
Did you face any issues working with .sh script?

2) Thanks a lot for your comments! Really appreciate it.
- as for company name containing spaces, will add the details to helpcenter for sure and will discuss how to show it in the agent help.
- speaking of the password, it's shown in the agent help with (round brackets) because it's an optional parameter, but will also check what we can do to make it more clear.
Will definitely add some details to helpcenter also.

Thank you!

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by noahmehl »

Natalia,

No, I had no issues running the initial .sh script install via CLI. I was more describing the fact that even though I downloaded the .sh and install from a VSPC source, I *still* had to connect back to the VSPC managed cloud connect server via veeamconsoleconfig. In which case, I think it would be better to just deliver the .pkg via the VSPC console instead.

As for the CLI reference, I think it's typical to use [] for optional CLI params, so in the case above:

sudo veeamconsoleconfig -g add <gateway:port> -t <company_name\\username> [password] --validate_cert <thumbprint>

Thanks!

~Noah

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by Natalia Lupacheva »

Hi Noah,

Thank you, noted!
Will update the guide soon. As for the agent's help, the changes can be provided only with the agent update.
If you have any additional comments - feel free to raise a discussion.

Thanks!

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by noahmehl »

Yes, my only other comment is that I am unable to backup a workstation directly to VSPC. When the initial backup is 300+ GB, it will not complete, nor is there any recourse to retry, etc. As a service provider, this is unusable as is. Am I missing a setting that allows this to work?

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by Natalia Lupacheva »

Hi Noah,

Could you please share some more details.
You've done the following:
- installed Backup and Management agent on the workstation;
- configured the management agent to connect to VSPC;
- applied the backup policy to this workstation;
- got some error as you say, "it will not complete".
Right?

Did you apply a standard policy or created the new one?
Do you back up entire machine?
Could you please share the error you get?

Thanks!

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by noahmehl »

Natalia,

1. I installed the Mac Agent from the generated .sh package from my VSPC v5 console - worked
2. I configured the Mac agent to connect to my VSPC connected cloud connect server via cli - worked
3. I created a backup policy that backs up: "/System/Volume/Data" as described above, and with encryption - worked
4. I applied the policy to my workstation - worked
5. I ran the backup, here's the log:

Code: Select all

noahmehl@XXXXXXXXX ~ % veeamconfig session log --id 63abbaee-b3fa-4075-a4b6-956399ef40c0 
2021-03-18 15:01:34 UTC [info] Job Reperio - Mac - Entire Computer_XXXXXXXXX started at 2021-03-18 15:01:34 UTC
2021-03-18 15:01:56 UTC [info] Preparing to backup
2021-03-18 15:02:24 UTC [info] Backup file encryption is enabled
2021-03-18 15:02:31 UTC [info] Creating volume snapshot
2021-03-18 15:02:48 UTC [info] Starting full backup to [XXXXXXX.XXXXX.XXX][XXXXX-backups\XXXXX-backups_XXXXXXXXX.local]XXXXX-backups_XXXXXXXXX.local_Repository
2021-03-18 15:03:02 UTC [info] Network traffic will be encrypted
2021-03-18 15:03:02 UTC [error] Backing up files /System/Volumes/Data
2021-03-18 21:31:25 UTC [warn] Failed to backup [/System/Volumes/Data/Users/XXXXXXXXX/Virtual Machines.localized/Ubuntu Desktop Live.vmwarevm/Virtual Disk-s002.vmdk]
2021-03-18 21:32:27 UTC [error] Failed to perform backup
2021-03-18 21:32:27 UTC [error] read: Operation timed out
2021-03-18 21:32:27 UTC [error] Processing finished with errors at 2021-03-18 21:32:27 UTC
I don't see any detail, or retries...

I will say that during the backup, an APFS snapshot was created, which I checked with: % tmutil listlocalsnapshots /

Also, the used space on "/System/Volumes/Data" is 363.01 GB.

Here's the configured job info:

Code: Select all

noahmehl@XXXXXXXXX ~ % veeamconfig job info --id 9a5db0c3-6cbd-43c3-b2b5-a1d639f7e990
Backup job:
   ID: {9a5db0c3-6cbd-43c3-b2b5-a1d639f7e990}
   Name: Reperio - Mac - Entire Computer_XXXXXXXXX
   Repository ID: {625d9014-bd96-4ce1-865e-89d282d52795}
   Repository name: [XXXXXXX.XXXXX.XXX]][XXXXX-backups\XXXXX-backups_XXXXXXXXX.local]XXXXX-backups_XXXXXXXXX.local_Repository
   Creation time: 2021-03-12 15:07:59
   Options:
      Compression: Lz4
      Max points: 7
      Block size: 256 KB
      Retry count: 3
      Retry Timeout: 600s
      Snapshot required
      Encryption: encryption is enabled
   Objects for backup:
      Include Directory: /System/Volumes/Data
   Schedule: 
      Every day
      At: 00:30

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by Natalia Lupacheva »

Noah,

Have you already opened a Support case?
Please share your case ID so we could check the issue.
It seems the logs analysis is required here.

Thanks!

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by noahmehl »

@Natalia Lupacheva

I PM'd you the case #.

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by noahmehl »

Also, for everyone else's information, Veeam does NOT offer phone support for the Mac Agent like they do for the Windows or Linux Agent. So, don't expect speedy assistance to your support requests for this product :(

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Re: Comments and Experiences with MacOS Agent 1.0

Post by clorenz »

Hi,

the installer "Veeam Agent for Mac-1.0.0.713.pkg" from February doesn't work for me.
I've tried it with a MacBook Pro with Catalina and a MacBook Air M1 with Big Sur.
On both the Installer reports success, but the program can't be started.

Any Hints?

Thanks, Carsten

Error is:
Failed to start Veeam Agent for Mac:
Failed to read root handler
Technical Details:
Failed to read root handler
--tr:Failed to create CSessionListWorker
--tr:in static QPointer<CSessionListWorker> CSessionListWorker::Create(const vmbplatform::model::IDbAccessorPtr &, QThread *) at ../../VeeamAgentForMacOs/ui/backup/sessions/SessionListWorker.cpp:85
--tr:Main thread has failed.
--tr:in int main(int, char **) at ../../VeeamAgentForMacOs/VeeamAgentForMacOs.cpp:168

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