Recommended Replacement for Failing Seagate DDS4 Tape Drive

Posted on 2004-10-15
Last Modified: 2011-10-03
I've got a 3 year old Dell Poweredge 2500 server. The OS is now W2K3 Server, with W2K Server before that. It came with a Seagate DDS4 tape drive (Scorpion STD2401LW). I use Backup Exec 9.1 for a daily grandfather-father-son backup. I've got about 16 Gigs of data, 15 of that being the Exchange server.

Over the two years that I've managed the server, about half a dozen times the tape drive has  not been recognized by the OS or by Backup Exec. I've had to delete the drive from the system and then let the system redetect the drive and reinstall the drivers.

Last week, the tape drive was no longer recognized. So I deleted it, and the system does not detect it any more.

I'm getting tired about this constant problem with this drive, especially now that I can't seem to get it back. And of course this last problem happened a month after the warrenty ended.

I'm looking for recommendations on what I should replace the tape drive with. I will award points to all useful recommendations, especially if they point to a review that will give me more insight. (I've Googled all over the place and can't seem to find anything relevant to my quest...)

Should I just get another drive just like it? Or was this model a lemon?
Should I upgrade to a newer generation tape drive that can still read my DDS-4 tapes?
Or is it worth abandoning the old tapes to go with a new technology?
And can I keep this at a price that won’t cause the company owner to miss the payment on his Mercedes? :-)
Question by:TerrellITC
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Accepted Solution

rwweyers earned 250 total points
ID: 12331051
Please take the DDS 4 drive and shoot it!  Now that i ahve that off my chest I would recommend anything but DDS 4 it is Known for failure... I am a Dell Certified Tech and my HP cert as well. I repalce these drive constantly, sometimes so often that the people on site actually know my name.  Also Call Dell they might be willing to talk. The Drives themselves are problematic as they burn out the electronics and the tapes jam real easy.
 I recommend LTO 2 series and an internal or external can be purchsed from DELL.   It is called a PV110T

Author Comment

ID: 12336068
I don't have a gun, but how about if I use a sledge hammer on the DDS4 drive a couple of times?

Would a setup like this be what you recommend?
The unity looks like a LTO 1 series.

Is there a quality and reliablity difference between LTO 1 and LTO 2? Or is it just a capacity difference?

Expert Comment

ID: 12337574
LTO2 has been more perfected and has less issues I would prefer it becasue it is rev2.

Author Comment

ID: 12360732
Thanks for the advice. I think that LTO is the way to go and the Dell PV110T library a great solution, as often the tapes don't get changed each day.

I've ordered a unit and should be getting it next week.

Expert Comment

ID: 23129948
We, too, have had a hgh failure rate of the Dell DDS-4 Seagate drives.  The problem we have to deal with, though, does not admit of a solution involving LTO or any other non-DDS solution.  We have to read older generations of DAT/DDS tape in two different contexts:  

First, to install our system we must be able to read backup tapes made on a legacy mainframe equipped with DDS-1 or DDS-2, and

second, some customers have an ongoing need to read historical tapes, also DDS-1 or DDS-2.  

When we first selected the Dell DDS-4 for our product based on the Dell PowerEdge, we were pleased by the Dell Seagate DDS-4's extreme backward compatibility (DDS-1 through DDS-3).  Now that we have seen many of these drives fail, we have a real dilemma.  I don't believe DDS-1, 2 or 3 drives are manufactured any longer, and our experience with used drives has been uniformly awful.  Even the option of fitting a tested DDS-3 or DAT72 drive to the legacy systems is not so simple, as it depends on installing the latest SCSI microcode for the legacy SCSI controller.

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