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Quantum Super Loader 3 using Backup exec 12 and LTO 3 tapes cannot recycle tapes

Posted on 2009-05-11
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
I have a quantum superloader 3 tape library with one 8 tape magazine and using backup exec 12 to run our backups. I am able to run backups to brand new tapes as well as backup to disc without problems. I run into issues when I try to recycle old tape. My old tape is no older than 1 year and has been written only once.  I have tried to inventory and re-lable the tape. I have tried removing it from the media set and doing a quick and long erase. When the tape then begins being written to the backup ususally fails with either the drive needs to be cleaned or that the tape cannot be written to. The drive is cleaned on a regular basis and when I recieve the dirty drive error and clean it and try the backup again I get the same issue. Can I rely on the LTO 3 tape to be written to more than once? Does anyone have procedure that has worked for them to recycle tape? Thanks.
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Question by:rrmdesign
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by:zelron22
ID: 24357043
You know how kids that grow up in really clean houses have lots of allergies?  It's not quite the same thing, but LTO drives should NOT be cleaned regularly.  It damages the heads.  
http://cp-quantum.talismaonline.com/display/2/kb/article.aspx?aid=5862&n=1&docid=135741

It's likely that your tape drive's heads need to be replaced.  I've run into this before with DLT drives too.  People used to DAT drives pop cleaning tapes in one a week or once a month (I know I did) until their drives top working.  THEN someone tells them, Oh yeah, don't clean 'em unless they need it.
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by:rrmdesign
ID: 24357164
We only clean the drive when the system asks for us to clean them.  It isn't that frequent.  And when we first tried to recycle some tape, that is when it asked for a cleaning.
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by:honmapog
ID: 24358344
Was this tape written on the same drive? Although LTO3 tapes should be able to align properly on other drives, sometimes that does fail. Try reading/writing it on another LTO3 drive if you have one.

Other than that, where and how did you store the tape for the year it was idle. It should have been kept in its plastic box in a dust free area where there's no high humidity. I suppose you've done that, but just want to mention it.

Normally keeping LTO3 media for a year and then re-using it should not be a problem.
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by:rrmdesign
ID: 24358481
We were attempting to reuse some tape that was about 1 year old.  They were well stored and cared for .  They were used in the same drive.  So, we are stumped why it keeps failing to write to them.  
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by:honmapog
ID: 24358678
Strange indeed, but most likely that tape is now defective.
You could always try to call the tape drive vendor and check if they can see a problem in the logs of the drive. But probably it's a case of a defective tape.
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by:zelron22
ID: 24358683
When you say they were well stored, were they stored standing on edge or lying flat.  I don't think it would happen in a year, but storing tapes lying flat cuts their life expectancy by about half.  What happens is the "cone".  Just like if you roll up a newspaper and pull the center so you get a cone, that's what happens to tapes that lie flat.  The outer edges start to drop.
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by:zelron22
ID: 24358713
I've only had one time that I've run into a whole batch of bad tapes (which sucked, because you don't expect that when troubleshooting).  Have you tried retensioning the tapes or doing a long erase on one?
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by:rrmdesign
ID: 24359450
I don't think it is a bad batch of tapes as it wrote the first time no problem and we have this problem with every batch of tapes we try. I guess the first question to ask is, am I following the proper steps to reuse the tapes.

Insert the tapes, Inventory, move from media set to scratch media, quick or long erase, lable, run backup?

Thanks all.
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zelron22 earned 500 total points
ID: 24363687
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by:honmapog
ID: 24366926
BTW, the procedure you're using is correct.
I suppose you're running into this problem (cleaning led coming on) at the first stage - the inventory?
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by:rrmdesign
ID: 24368619
the cleaning led comes on sometimes at the first stage, sometimes after it starts to write to tape, but always when trying to recycle tape.

I have run the diags three times. The first time to a recycled tape, the second to a brand new tape, and the third time to that new tape a second time to see how it treats the now used tape.

The cleaning light came on and cleaned in between the first two tests. See attachment for the results.
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Author Closing Comment

by:rrmdesign
ID: 31580234
Thanks, The diaganostics helped. We ran the reports and after getting Quantum to veiw them they sent another drive. Now I will see if we can recycle these tapes. Thanks again.
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