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Veritas 10/Sony SDX700

Posted on 2006-05-17
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
In January, I installed a Sony SDX700 tape drive in our Windows 2000 Advanced Server (replacing a old larger tape backup that worked fine).  We are using Veritas Version 10 and I have two backup jobs set - one for Mo, Tu, Wed, and Thurs - these are just incremental backups and on Friday night, I run a full backup.  I not only backup that server but also an Windows 2003 server - this has a remote license.  We are using genuine Sony AIT-3 tapes - 260GB compressed.  

On almost a weekly basis, I get the error:  Error reading/writing data from/to the media.  According to Symantec, this can mean a hundred and one things but here is what I have tried:  changing tapes (worked last time but now I have 5 "bad"? tapes); updating drivers; cleaning drive every week; erasing tape; many others.  The odd thing is that it first started out with Wednesday but all other days worked; after I put in a new tape; that finally corrected itself in time? - now it has started on Monday's backup; I thought it was fixed after the 2nd new tape I put in because the backup was working but now it has come back again - Monday's backup doesnt work but all the others do.  The last time I talked to Symantec, they had nothing else to try other than suggesting I run Sony tape drivers instead of Veritas drivers but I have heard that causes issues - it is writing soft errors to the tape but when I run the diagnostics on the tape drive from Sony, it says it is fine (for whats that worth) - I hate to change the drivers when only one day is the problem.

Has anyone run into this?  Thanks.
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Question by:Daren Anderson, MSIS
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by:dovidmichel
ID: 16699886
Soft write errors happen when the drive tries to write data and fails. The drive then advances the tape to the next block and retries. This will continue until either the write is successful and in which case it each failed attempt is a soft write error, or until it reaches a set threshold in which case it becomes a hard media or UDE Unrecoverable Data Error.

Rather than Symantic check with Sony support to see if the drive needs service.
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 16704872
This same problem has cropped up before with BE10 and Sony drives.  The problem seems to be a failure to eihter reinitialize the drive, or erase the tape.  As I understand it, the BE software leaves the status of the drive in an "indeterminate" state after a write access.  So if you popped in a tape to backup, the BE software gets from the drive the status of the PREVIOUS tape, not the current one.  The only solution I know of is to set each tape JOB to erase the tape before anything else happens.  That doesnt mean pre-erase the tape, it means set the JOB to do a tape erasure at the start of the JOB.  Of course the defect is really the BE software, but it is so buggy, I doubt even Symantec can fix it, certainly veritas never could get it cleaned of problems.
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by:Daren Anderson, MSIS
ID: 16710623
When you talk about setting the JOB to do the tape erase - how would I go about this?  I am assuming we would use something in the pre-process section since the only choice I have in options is to re-tension the tape before a backup.  Thanks.
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 16712120
No not that at all.  When you go in to create a job -- say backup windows system --

Backup -- C:\windows\  -- all siles, all directories

Append, overwrite etc are the choices -- there on the same or related screen you will see a checkbox -- erase tape before each backup -- that is what you check.

It is a nuisance, because you can only make one backup per tape -- but the point is, to get around BExec not initalizing the tape to read the new contents just before the backup job, this is what you have to do.  At least TRY it, see if that solves the problem.

The other way is to shut down the Backup Exec process and restart it each time you run a job, but that is more of an annoyance.  The software is not reinitializing the tape to reread the contents JUST before the backup starts, so you have to force it someway.  Maybe -- reread or refresh tape contents will solve it.
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by:Daren Anderson, MSIS
ID: 16712244
I dont have the option to erase tapes - on the screen, I only have:  Overwrite Media; Append to media, overwrite if no appendable media is available; OR Append to media, terminate job if no appendable media is available - I have chosen the second one.  I have looked in all the screens and cannot find about erasing the tape.  I can do it manually but nothing automatic.  Thanks.
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 16712385
OK then they have changed the options, it used to be clearly spelled out.  Are you sure it is not on another screen, like System properties (that extend over all jobs)?  It should be somewhere.  However, if not, choose OPTION 3 -- overwrite if no appendable media is available -- that will do essentially the same thing as erase tape before running job.  Give that a try see if it solves problem -- but of course, make sure it is a tape where you can lose the existing data on it.

Also try shutting down the BE program, and restarting just before the job.  Also try to do a refresh tape catalog just before the job.  I realize you cant do this in production mode, but you are TESTING here to see what will force this stubborn software to see/read the tape correctly before the job.  Once you know how to force a correct refresh, you can go from there.  Try them all...  
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scrathcyboy earned 2000 total points
ID: 16712405
sorry, I misread the options how you listed them, you are choosing the most logical option.  Then you are left with only option 1 -- overwrite media -- that will ignore the current tape contents.  It is wasteful, but might solve it -- but I would also try the other ideas I listed above too.
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