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Windows Backup Exec "device not ready" error during the job.

Posted on 2006-11-21
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
We have a Backup Exec 8.0 server backing up 4 jobs per night to a DDS4 tape drive.  Over the last week the jobs have all started and then get partway done and stop and fail with "device is not ready" as the error in the log.  I have cleaned the tape drive several times, rebooted the server, and the tape drive does not appear to be the problem since the job will fail with that error, and then the next job scheduled later will start normally until it fails with the error after backing up some of the data.  I found a "device not ready" article on veritas.com but it only deals with the job never starting, any ideas why it would keep doing it during the job, yet start the next job normally?  The jobs are all spaced out so that they do not run into each other.

Thanks.
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Question by:sim2k_support
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by:Zephirus79
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Sorry you are having problems.  


I can see a few possibilites.    The thing that sticks out the most is permissions.   Do you have the permission to run the backup?   Make sure the job is programmed with the admin username and password.  

Second, would be if the tape is full.   There is a check box that appends old backups onto the new and you have to tell it to replace the old backups if that is what you wish to do (most replace the old).   If you ran out of space, it would give you a device not ready because that seems to be the generic "oh crap we have a problem" message.  

Finally, I could only relate it to software.   Try doing the same job using normal NT backup and see if it runs.   If it does, then you know for sure.  


Good Luck!
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by:sim2k_support
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I believe the password is ok or the job would not start at all, they are starting, they just don't finish.  The first job is set to overwrite and the rest are set to append first, then overwrite if necessary.  I have changed the tape, rebooted the tape drive and the server so I will see what happens tonight.

Thanks.
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crawfordits earned 250 total points
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It appears as if you are losing your communication with your tape drive.  Try reseating the SCSI adapter and cable.
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by:sim2k_support
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Will do, it got farther than before last night, but is still giving the same error.
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by:IngoF
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I think you got an hardware problem somewhere in scsi.
I had these errors for a time then i rewired the scsi system and changed the terminator and it worked.
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by:SpyderGST1
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Sounds like your tape devices are dropping during the backup. If you are your scsi to fiber your tape device could fall off the fabric. Once this hickup happens the backup software will respond with tape device not ready. The minute you see this error try to mount a tape into the device. It will likely fail. I can assist furtherif this turns out to be the problem. I have seen this problem several times at different companies.
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by:sim2k_support
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Thanks, I am going to try a different tape drive tonight for the jobs that have not been working, and I have switched 2 other jobs over to the one that has been a problem to see if it does the same thing.  Will see what happens, it could be a failing drive as it is several years old.
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by:sim2k_support
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Same thing happened with different jobs around the same time into the job with the same error.  Would replacing the SCSI card be the next option or is it something else?

Thanks.
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by:SpyderGST1
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I need more info in order to provide appropriate advice. Is this a direct attached server to tape device scsi or is there a fiber to scsi bridge or any other bridge or router between the tape device and the server?

I understand your last comment to mean that the same devices failed with different backup jobs running to them, right? Please look at the exact time of the failure for the last several days/nights if possible. If not possible start to track the failure times.  There be one or more then one situation based on the exact configuration you are using.

If the event occurs at the same time then it is likely that an external event is causing the drive to drop. Do you have montoring tools on the server or, device scanning schedule. A scsi reset could be happening which can be caused for different reasons. If the backup is happening over the network there could be a dns hickup or network event causing the drive to drop. It all really depends on how the backup is configured.

If this is just a direct attached scsi tape device to the server then this will be much easier to resolve.
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by:sim2k_support
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Yes the tape drive is plugged right into the computer that has a scsi card in it.  Yesterday I went into the backup exec services and set each service to restart if failed for all 3 times.  The jobs ran all the way to the end last night, not sure if that fixed it, or if it was luck, or if some of the tapes are good and others are bad.  It seems like a connection issue with the drive.  There are multiple jobs running each night to that drive and all was well until about a week ago.  The weird thing is, one job will fail with the error, and then the next one will start up as scheduled and then do the same thing, so if it losing connection it is not for long.  I had to do a restore from a tape in that drive yesterday and it did not frop during that job.  The error usually occurs less than 10 minutes into each job, but it did not happen last night.  
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by:SpyderGST1
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Ok. Good.
You problem is likely to happen again.

Its not likley to be your scsi card. If it were your wouldn't get anything. It could be the drive. I have seen situations where data does write to a drive then fails. In some of those case we replaced the drives and that resolved the problem.

Eleimate the possibility of the tape drive. If you have more then one tape device available for the backup then run the same backup to a different tape device.

Eliminate the possibility of bad media. Note which tape failed and force a backup to it on a different drive if possible and see if it fails. Test a few tapes if you have more then one with had failed. If you tapes are old it could be a problem.

If you or someone else can be around for the failure or if you can duplicate try to unmount and remount the tape immediately. This will tell you if you can communicate with the drive at the time of the failure.

Check you schedule. Make sure there is no scheduled activity during the backup such as a virus scan, scandisk, defrag, or someone hitting the server from the network with a monitoring tool like Tiviloi. This is not likley to be the problem but I have seen these types of events cause serious issues with backups.
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by:sim2k_support
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Since putting in a different SCSI cable from the tape drive to the pc, the error has gone away and the jobs have run.

Thanks!
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by:SpyderGST1
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cool. De[pending you the type of scsi cable you have, are there any bent pins on the connector?
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