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Backup Exec 11d - Job Queues Waiting for Appendable Tape

Posted on 2007-11-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
I'm using Bakup Exec 11d running on Windows Server 2003 with a Dell Powervault 132T robotic library.  One of my jobs has been hanging with a "Please insert overwritable media into the robotic library" message, even through I have appendable media in the drive.

Here's the setup:  I have an SQL and flat file job set up on a library partition with two tapes.  The SQL job completes as normal, using about 7GB of the 186GB capacity of the first tape, after which the flat file job starts and then fills up the rest of the first tape.  At that point the second tape kicks in, but only goes to about 4GB before the job stops and I get the insert overwritable media message.

I checked the second tape, and BE says that it's appendable to infinity and there's plenty of space left on it, so I'm not sure what's going on.  Any ideas?

Note:  since the SQL job starts first, under Device and Media it's set to overwrite.  The flat file job, meanwhile, is set to append media since it starts second.  If anybody has encountered this issue before, I'd sure be grateful for any suggestions.
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Question by:mgiller
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by:honmapog
ID: 20292104
That's just the way Backup Exec is coded.
When a backup spans to a second tape, Backup Exec cannot use an appendable tape. It needs an overwritable tape.

See http://seer.support.veritas.com/docs/192265.htm.
It has the following text:
Caution: If an append job fills a media, the job continues on another piece of overwritable media. Depending on your configuration, overwritable media is selected from scratch media or recyclable media. If the media in the drive is not overwritable, a message is displayed, which requests for a scratch media to be inserted.
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by:mgiller
ID: 20292224
I'm still a bit confused, as the second tape in that partition is completely overwritable when the flat file job begins.  Basically, here's how it goes:  The SQL job completes while still on the first tape, since it's only an 8GB job.  The flat file job then begins, which I assume appends the first tape until it gets filled up.  After that, shouldn't it use the overwritable tape 2 to complete the job?  It seems to write around 4GB to that tape, at which point it asks for another overwritable tape to be inserted.

Thanks for the reply!
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by:honmapog
ID: 20292408
If that second tape is overwritable, it should use it.

So you're saying that when the first tape is full with the SQL job and the beginning of the flat file job, the robot actually loads tape 2, writes 4GB to it and then asks for another tape?

Has this problem always been around - or was this working for some time. Maybe this second tape is defective. What is the soft and hard write error count on it?
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Author Comment

by:mgiller
ID: 20292535
It's definitely not a bad tape, as I rotate out 20 tapes every week (4 tapes per day over a 5 day work week) and this has happened across many tapes.  All the tapes are also brand new, and there are no errors reported on them. This actually started when those two backup jobs grew to the point where I had to span them across two tapes.  When the job was small enough to fit on a single tape, there were no problems.

But yes--SQL completes, the flat file fills the rest of tape 1 and then writes 4GB to tape two, and only after that does it prompt for another tape.  Baffling, ain't it?
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honmapog earned 500 total points
ID: 20292625
Strange alright. Try moving both tapes to the scratch pool before starting the backup to see if it makes any difference.
If that doesn't do anything, could you expand that partition with an extra slot as a test? To check what happens if 3 overwritable tapes are available.
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by:mgiller
ID: 20292642
I can give that a try.  I'll letcha know what happens.
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Author Comment

by:mgiller
ID: 20319737
Well, I moved those tapes to scratch--and the job completed successfully.  Go figure.  Even though the tapes show up as overwritable PRIOR to moving them to scratch, BE didn't want to overwrite them.  Hopefully this will reset the overwrite protection dates and I won't have any problems from here on in--but I won't know that for sure until the next rotation in 3 weeks.

I'll consider the matter closed for now, though.  Thanks for the suggestions!
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