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DPM tapes expired

Posted on 2009-07-07
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We are using DPM 2007 and placed 4 brand new LTO-4 tapes in our Qualstar library and 3 out of the 4 tapes says "EXPIRED". The previous week it worked and we could recover from the tapes but this week it says expried and we cannot recover because it does not show a tape backup was done.
All tapes last week said offsite ready and this week there is no green checkbox.

The tape that was NOT expired had all the servers backed up except the main file server. The other 3 tapes says expired and it is the data from the main file server.

All protection groups are set to run at Sunday 1 am. The setting is to have 1 recovery point every week for the last 4 weeks. The retention range is 4 weeks. Number of backup copies is 1.
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Question by:mercado1459
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by:SelfGovern
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Are you using bar code labels or formatting the tapes with the same label/name that had been used  before?  If you're using the same label or name for the tape, that could be it.  In which case, the solution would be to use the 'recycle' command or perhaps to format the media.
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by:mercado1459
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Are you using bar code labels or formatting the tapes with the same label/name that had been used  before?

No and No. As noted above, we are using NEW LTO-4 tapes from IBM out of the box.
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by:SelfGovern
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What's the exact model number of the tape drive?
Did you inventory the library and format all tapes before attempting a backup?
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by:mercado1459
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What's the exact model number of the tape drive?
QUALSTAR RLS-8204

Did you inventory the library and format all tapes before attempting a backup?
Yes, we did a full inventory and since they were new they were immediatley available to be written to. We did the same last week with another set of new tapes and it worked okay. Same brand of new LTO-4 tapes.

One thing we did find out is that we can restore from one tape that had several server protection groups in it but the 3 tapes that would not let us recover from them (expired) were all from one file server. Last week that same file server was okay to be restored from tape.
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by:grv
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Is the main file server a member of the same protection group as the other servers that were on the tape that is still unexpired?

The reason I ask is that "expired" in this context means that DPM has determined that all the recovery points on the tape are older than the specified retention period for the protection group.  That would explain why you could recover from the tapes last week, but not this week.

If you right click on one of the tapes when mounted in a drive in DPM, and choose "view tape contents", it should show you the date of each recovery point and also expiration.  This info may help you to understand what happened.  
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by:mercado1459
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Is the main file server a member of the same protection group as the other servers that were on the tape that is still unexpired? No, the main file server is part of its own protection group and is expired on 3 tapes.

The one tape that we can view tape contents of says that all protection groups (EXCEPT main file server - main file server on the other three tapes) on 8/1/2009 at 10pm.

The other three tapes that are expired allow you to select view tape contents but it says DPM needs to recatalog the selected tape before it can display its contents. You say yes to this and nothing happens. I restarted both DPM server and tape library with no effect.

The retention period for the main file server is 25 days with the following recovery points 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 10:00 PM Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat.

The long term retention for tape on this file server is every week for 4 weeks with 1 backup copy. Backup time is every week Sunday 1 am.

By the way, I checked other file servers (its own protection group and on the tape that is NOT expired) and they also have the same: 25 days with the following recovery points 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 10:00 PM Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat as the main file server.

Let me know if I was not clear.
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by:grv
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That's clear enough, but I can usually view the contents of expired tapes without re cataloging.  If you go to the Jobs tab and look at tape jobs running back a ways (you can create and save a Tape Jobs filter, which I find helpful), do you see successful tape jobs against the three tapes that are expired?  The tape ID shows at the bottom of the details pane when you select a completed job.  If so, are the latest successful jobs within the retention period for long term on the PG?  Maybe jobs stopped running at some point for some reason, and the tapes really have old data and so expired.

Assuming you are only using tape for long term protection, the short term protection info you provided looks fine and is not especially relevant to this issue except that you are certainly creating recovery points on disk each day that can be written to tape.
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by:mercado1459
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Yeah, we tried viewing the contents without re-cataloging and it does not allow us only on the non-expired tapes.

I created a filter for the main file server using tape backup and the last 30 days. The attachment shows the failed job and last 3 successful jobs.

See attachment. Let me know if you need more.

Main-File-Server-Filter-30days.jpg
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by:grv
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Do the expired tape have a labels when you look at them in the DPM GUI, and are they the labels you see when you look at those successful jobs in the details pane?

Short of those successful jobs having gone onto some other (unexpected) media, I can't think why they would be expired if the retention is 4 weeks and you've had a successful job more recently than that.  DPM tends to grab media differently that people expect with libraries - maybe your file server backups are not on the media you think they are?
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by:mercado1459
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Labels on the GUI and details pane look similar.

I pasted below what is on the details pane. Maybe the error below listed after the word descripton can help?

Description:      Failed to perform the operation since the tape free tape is not available in Tape Library Qualstar RLS-8204-12 Tape Library (ID 24050)

Protection group:      <Main-File-Server> Shares
Library:      Qualstar RLS-8204-12 Tape Library
Tape Label (Barcode):      <Main-File-Server> Shares-LT-1Weeks-Copy0-00000014 (None)
<Main-File-Server> Shares-LT-1Weeks-Copy0-00000016 (None)
<Main-File-Server> Shares-LT-1Weeks-Copy0-00000015 (None)


We just pulled the tapes in question out and are going to run the next full backup this weekend and adding  more tapes just in case. We are marking tapes as free.
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by:grv
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So the recent failure refers to the tapes you had that were unexpired last week, but expired this week (14 15 and 16).  

The most recent success - did it use these same tapes (14 15 and 16) or other tapes?
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by:mercado1459
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The most recent success - did it use these same tapes (14 15 and 16) or other tapes?
The most recent success used tapes listed below. There were not 14,15 and 16. The previous good backups (in total) for the main file server had numbers ranging from 0 up to 13.

<main file server> Shares-LT-1Weeks-Copy0-00000011 (None)
<main file server> Shares-LT-1Weeks-Copy0-00000013 (None)
<main file server> Shares-LT-1Weeks-Copy0-00000012 (None)
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by:grv
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And these tapes - 11, 12 and 13 - they're expired too?  So far if I'm understanding, 14, 15 and 16 are, but I'd expect that.  11, 12, and 13 ought to still be available to you for restores (unexpired).
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by:mercado1459
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This is what I am seeing using filter for completed and failed tape backups for the main file server:

17, 18, 19 - Completed - Started 7/12 - Expires 8/8
17, 18 - Failed - Started 7/5
11, 12, 13 - Completed - Started 6/28

We ended having to write over the bad tapes last week (low on tapes) which should be tape 17, 18.

I guess we have to wait to see if it happens again or unless anyone knows what happenned.
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grv earned 450 total points
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It looks to me like there simply weren't enough tapes in the library to satisfy the retention requirements of the PG's involved.  We usually run at least one full backup's worth of tapes extra in the rotation to avoid this situation.  Depending on when the catalog pruning job runs, you may even end up with a situation where all the RP's on a tape have expired, but the pruning job hasn't freed the tape yet.
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by:mercado1459
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Hi grv, based on the space issue what is your experience with using the tape compression option on DPM? And if so, what has been the compression ratio?
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by:SelfGovern
SelfGovern earned 50 total points
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Compression ratio will depend entirely on what kind of data you've got.

You can download HP's Library and Tape Tools (free download, go to http://www.hp.com/go/tape , see the link to it under "Value add software") and check the actual compressibility of your data.  Not a quick task (compression is very CPU-intensive), but at least you'll know.

But most tape drives have compression turned on by default.  It's almost always right to use HW compression on the tape drive, rather than SW compression on the backup server -- when the tape drive does it, there's no performance hit, no downside.
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by:grv
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http://www.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/en-us/default.aspx?dg=microsoft.public.dataprotectionmanager&tid=f41afa93-ee7a-4d38-bbe1-40db40ed8ca9&cat=&lang=&cr=&sloc=&m=1&p=1

dpm will use hardware compression if tape drive has it available when you choose that option.  As the previous poster indicated, ymmv.  sql data gets great compression, file data less so.
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by:mercado1459
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Grv: In regards to the pruning job you noted earlier, is that what runs every morning at 9 am by default? (Dpm automated daily inventory)

If not, do you have a DPM power shell command to see what day/time that pruning jobs runs or other way to find out the schedule?
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by:grv
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Here's the powershell command.  I do believe the default is 9 am.

Get-MaintenanceJobStartTime -DPMServerName yourservername -MaintenanceJob catalogpruning
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by:mercado1459
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Thanks grv for sending the command. I agree with what you believe the problem is that "simply weren't enough tapes in the library to satisfy the retention requirements of the PG's involved" We will test with more LTO-4 tapes this weekend and by Monday the space issue should be resolved.
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by:mercado1459
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grv, we had a clean backup so the expired tapes are because DPM needed another tape which we provided this week.
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by:grv
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Thanks!
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