External Tape Drive error

This is a silly question, however I want to make sure my troubleshooting logic is sound. I have a HP Proliant ML 570 Server with an external HP Dat 40 tape drive. I am receiving the following errors:

[me@linuxbox]~>tar -tvf /dev/st1
tar: /dev/st1: Cannot read: Input/output error
tar: At beginning of tape, quitting now
tar: Error is not recoverable: exiting now

I am running RH ES 4.3. I have tried to clean the tape drive, reboot the server to clear the SCSI Bus. The permissions for the drive are correct. I believe the tape drive is just a dud and needs to be replaced. I have also tried to use the mt -f /dev/st1 retension, rewoffl, and other commands to get it to work. Is there something else I am missing or am I correct with my logic?
Who is Participating?
tiggrdaveConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Did you replace the tape drives with like units or a new type of unit?  If a new type of tape drive have you performed any type of driver or system update between your last use of the original drives and when you noticed the failures? I realize that you have solved your immediate problem, I just hate not know ing exactly what is wrong in this type of circumstance.

What results do you receive when you run
mt -f /dev/st1 status      

This will tell you if the drive is being recognized and able to report.

jd_mcgillAuthor Commented:
Hello again,

I now have two servers with the same issue. Here is the output of the tape status command for both servers:

[root@linuxbox]/>mt -f /dev/st1 status
SCSI 2 tape drive:
File number=-1, block number=-1, partition=0.
Tape block size 0 bytes. Density code 0x0 (default).
Soft error count since last status=0
General status bits on (4050000):

[root@linuxbox2]/>mt -f /dev/st1 status
SCSI 2 tape drive:
File number=0, block number=0, partition=0.
Tape block size 0 bytes. Density code 0x24 (DDS-2).
Soft error count since last status=0
General status bits on (41010000):

Please keep in mind, both of these tape drives are reporting the same error I reported earlier today.

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jd_mcgillAuthor Commented:
Just to let anyone know.. I have already replaced the external tape drives this morning and my backups are working again. However, I just want to know if I could have done something different than having to replace them. If no one else comments to this question, TiggrDave will get all the points.
Duncan RoeConnect With a Mentor Software DeveloperCommented:
Your first mt -f /dev/st1 status showed no tape in the drive. That iswhat DR_OPEN measn (shor for Door Open, from historic times when reel to reel tape decks had doors (and vacuum chambers, and ...). Also file & block number being negative indicates it doesn't know the tape position (if it thought a tape was loaded, which it doesn't). Try again with a tape definitely in,
make sure it's recognised.

Your second mt -f /dev/st1 status shows a tape in the drive. But its density code is only DDS-2 - is that the kind of tape it really was? Mine shows DDS-3 for a DDS-3 tape, DDS (61000 bpi) for an old one, DDS-2 when appropriate (tape scrounged from work).
Oops I see new tape drives fixed it
jd_mcgillAuthor Commented:
Hey Guys,

Sorry for the delay with this reply. I wanted to make sure I get these points out to you and also answer your last questions.

TiggrDave: I didn't do any new system diags or new drivers from the time of the Tape Failures to the time I replaced the drives. The drives were refurbished HP Super Dat 40 drives. They came from our maintenance vendor. I wish they were brand new.  I understand what you mean, but I had to get this resolved as soon as possible.

Duncan Roe: You are absolutely correct the first tape drive status was for a system that didn't have a tape in it, but with one in there the same issue happened. The tapes we use are in fact DDS-2 tapes. Also the tapes are brand new (Right out of the package). I just don't understand how two drives could go bad in less than 12 hours from one another. However, hardware is prone to break.

Here is the point breakdown:
TiggrDave: 350
Duncan Roe:150

Hey, just the fact you guys communicated was enough for me.

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