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BackupExec 12.5 - Tape being ejected as "full" well short of being full

Posted on 2012-08-13
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Last Modified: 2012-09-07
I am running BackupExec 12.5 on a Windows 2003 Standard server. It connects to various other 2003 and 2008 servers and does a full backup each weeknight.

One day last week, the software started recognizing the tapes as full well short of being full. The last successful backup had 313GB in the byte count. The backups are now stopping at 275GB or so and the software is asking for another tape.

My first inclination was to replace the tape drive. It's been giving signs that it was wearing out for a while (throwing random "data grade" errors on the tapes, locking up some nights, etc.). I ordered one online and NDA shipped it. Put it in over the weekend and re-tried the full backup. The first attempt made it to 300GB on the nose before it stopped. The software also reported a "voltage error" so I shut the server down and re-seated the power cable and SCSI cable and that error went away. When I re-tried the backup again, it stopped in exactly the same place as before (275GB or so).

The tape capacity is 200GB native / 400GB compressed. As noted, the last successful backup completed at 313GB. I've tried changing the compression option from "Software" to "Hardware (if available, otherwise software)" and it didn't help.

Any ideas?
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Question by:street9009
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by:xDUCKx
ID: 38287650
What LTO is this?

Have you checked your retention period for the media?  If you're attempting to add to a tape that the software hasn't put into safe to append then you'll get an "Out of space" or a "Retention period" error.
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by:xDUCKx
ID: 38287654
Breakdown of the native capacity of the LTO techs.  Compressed, just double the size of what the native is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_Tape-Open#Generations
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Author Comment

by:street9009
ID: 38287677
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16840117033

Those are the tapes we're using.

The drive is a Dell PowerVault 110T LTO-2 Tape Drive.

How do I check the retention period on the media?
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by:xDUCKx
ID: 38287687
LTO 2 = 200GB Native/400GB Compressed.

I'd say your backup is working you just need multiple tapes.  If you wanted to get larger capacity tapes (LTO4 or LTO5 for example) you'd need to buy a compatible Tape drive and new media.  Note:  Your existing media will work with the newer drives.  So you won't lose your backups.
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Author Comment

by:street9009
ID: 38287692
But that's just it, it's not working. It's stopping at 275GB and we should be able to get to 400GB compressed. The last completed backup was over 30GB larger than where it's failing now.
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Expert Comment

by:xDUCKx
ID: 38287716
Oh, sorry.  I thought you said 375GB.  I misread it.  

http://www.symantec.com/connect/forums/delete-media-overwrite-media-be-2012

Above has a nice screenshot of where the retention periods are.  

Have you tried doing a quick erase on one of the tapes and seeing if the full capacity of the tape is used?
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Author Comment

by:street9009
ID: 38287727
I tried to do an erase this morning but the option was greyed out in BackupExec. Maybe that's indicative of a problem too?
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Expert Comment

by:Steve
ID: 38287730
Have you tried running the backup to another medium if available ?

Also check the connectors on the tape drive to ensure nothing has come loose and replace the drivers
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Author Comment

by:street9009
ID: 38287982
Unfortunately I do not have another medium available. I did check the connectors when I replaced the drive. They're snug.
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xDUCKx earned 2000 total points
ID: 38289579
Unfortunately I do not have another medium available. I did check the connectors when I replaced the drive. They're snug

Backup to Disk is another medium.  You can setup a folder on the local disk to store the backups.
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Author Comment

by:street9009
ID: 38289588
We have a requirement to take the backup off-site. I need to figure out the problem with the tape drive. It should be working properly.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:sacshimpi
ID: 38375495
Hi street9009,

Basically this is happen because of, some values are not set properly.


Please provide the below details:

- Total Data size
- Overwrite protection period and append period. [media set properties]
- Device/Media properties [set default values]
- Backup job  properties.


Regards,
Sachin
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Author Closing Comment

by:street9009
ID: 38375943
We never did figure this one out. The server that had the tape drive (old and new) installed in it crashed hard and would not boot. When we removed the new tape drive and re-installed the old, it came back up and hasn't given us trouble since. But we used this incident as justification to get a new backup appliance from Barracuda. It's installed and is working fine. We're still using the tapes as "backup" to the backups but they're no longer mission critical.

I'm awarding the points to the most involved expert for this question even though there was no resolution.
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