Quantum DLT VS160 Tape Drive Issue

Posted on 2006-04-04
Last Modified: 2007-12-19
I have a Dell Poweredge 3800 server
Built in Quantum DLT VS160 Backup Tape Drive
DLTVS1 -160  80/160 GB Tapes

The backup software is TapeWare Version 7.00   Yosemite Technologies (Company)

Our server is only using 22 gb of space

Tape back up software is configured like this
Full back up
Force to appened
Overwrite tapes
Full verify

Daily backup

5 tapes 1 for each day

However I getting this error that the tape is full and unable to perform the back up (and I can't figure out why or how to force the backup when the software is set to overwrite the tape so regareless if its full it should overwrite)  

However how can it be full if its 80/160 and the drive only is full to 22 gb?

I get this says the tape is full, spits the tape out and reports this then  
      88 : No devices specified or all devices are now offline

Or it starts the backup to about 40% then spits the tape out and says tape is full

I took one of the tapes and I am doing a secure erase of the tape (which I really shouldn't but I need to see if this will work) i'm going to try running the backup on a completely blank tape

but any ideas of whats going on?
Question by:WestonGroup
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    I'm not that familiar with TapeWare so this is probably a dumb question but how can it be set to both append and overwrite? Perhaps it is not overwriting the tapes but appending to them, and if that is the case then the erased tape will not fill.

    Author Comment

    in the software backup setup there are 3 sections called

    Backup mode    =  Full

    Change mode   =  Force to append

    Write mode     =  overwrite all tapes

    the other change mode options are  :  skip and prompt
    Change mode works like this....if the tape drive scans for correct media and it doesn't find the correct media the change mode goes into effect and appends the backup to whatever media is in the device.
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    So much for that idea. I really don't know, none of the reasons I can think of make sense here so for what it is worth I'm just going to list what ever I can think of and maybe something will help guide you in the right direction.

    For some reason the tapes are not getting overwritten. Check the last format date for a tape to see if it matches up to the last backup. Do a scan on the tape to see just what is on the tape.
    Tapes were used in an older model drive and are not stuck with that lower capacity.
    There are softwrite errors, errors that are recovered from and so the job is can canceled but end up marking off blocks of tape as unusable.
    Streaming. In order to prevent the "shoe shine" effect of a drive doing start stop start stop as the drive waits for data the drive just pads the tape with empty space when data is not available. The shoe shine effect is very hard on drives and so is prevented.
    For some reason it is writting more data to tape than is on disk. Who knows why, hidden data, backing up data more than one, backing up other data.
    LVL 87

    Expert Comment

    Neither am i familiar with tapeware, but it probably uses grandfather, father, son schemes like other backup software too. This would mean that tapes need to be retained for a certain period of time until they can be erased and reused. You might have the possibility to see the media's properties inside tapeware somewhere, and there it should probably show details on when the tape can be erased, and when it was initialised, and also the amount of data already stored on it. Also be aware that the native capacity of the tape is 80 GB, whatever you can save to it exceeding that needs compression, and compression is completely dependant on the type of data you are backing up, so you will hardly ever be able to fill it to the advertised 160GB. In real life 100 GB to 120 GB is more realistic. This would mean that after about 5 to 6 backups of 22 GB the tape will be full. Also if the tape fills up during a backup job you'd have to insert a new tape, as it doesn't make sense to partially backup a system and then erase the tape and finish the backup (Once the tape is full it needs to be erased before it is usable again, you can't just erase single files like on a HD).

    Author Comment

    I understand but why would the tape be backing up 22gb, then another,  It is set to overwrite the data...
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    I don't know, it should not, but it is worth verifing if it is or is not happening. Thats why the recommendation to scan the tape to see just what is on the tape. Depending on if it is only 22gb or if it is 80+gb on a tape the problem is very different.
    LVL 87

    Expert Comment

    Also even if it is set for overwriting it might still only be overwritable after the correct date for that has arrived.

    Accepted Solution

    PAQed with points refunded (500)

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