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All LTO-4/LTO-6 Backup tapes being recognized as cleaning tapes in Backup Exec

Posted on 2014-04-04
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We just installed a new HP MSL4048 Tape Library with 2 HP Ultrium 6-SCSI Tape drives. We are using a mixture of LT0-4 and LTO-6 backup tapes. Our backup server recognizes the Tape Library (Medium Changer) and the 2 Tape drives. Our backup server uses Symantec Backup Exec 2012 and for some reasono it's recognizing the LTO-4 and LTO-6 tapes as cleaning tapes. I have done the following trouble shooting steps so far:

1. Power down and powered up both the backup server and the Tape Library.
2. Cannot successfully run a backup job because all the backup tapes are being read as cleaning tapes.
3. Check the settings and properties in Symantec Backup Exec 2012 software.

Any ideas why this is happening?
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Question by:jslaught
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by:TapeDude
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LTO6 drives can't write to LTO4 tapes. Have you definitely tried writing to an LTO6 tape?
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by:jslaught
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1. We have documentation from HP that you can use LTO4 tapes in LTO6 drives. This is the reason why we purchased a new MSL4048 Tape Library to be able to use both LTO4 and LTO6 tapes.
2.  Symantec Backup Exec recognizes both the LTO4 and LTO6 tapes in the slots... they  are just being read as cleaning tapes and not data.
3. Did not have success writing to a LTO6 tape due to the fact that it is being read as a cleaning tape.
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by:TapeDude
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Generally, LTO drives can read & write their current and one previous generation (in this case, LTO6 & LTO5 tapes), but only read the previous generation before that (in this case LTO4), and can't read any generation previous to that. But if you've tried writing to an actual LTO6 and are having this problem, I agree that's not the principle issue here :-)

Are you using Symantec's own drivers for the drives in the library?
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by:jslaught
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I don't believe we are using Symantec's own drivers for the drives. I just know that when we hooked up the new MSL4048 Tape Library and turned it on, Backup Exec recognized the library and the two LTO-6 drives, device manager recognized the medium changer and the 2 tape drives which all have the default window drivers. How can I tell if we are using the Symantec drivers? Maybe that's apart of the problem then. I was also looking on HP's website to see if there are any updated drivers for our new tape library (HP StoreEver MSL4048 2 LTO-6 Ultrium 6250 FC Tape Library).
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by:rindi
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It's a long time I used tape libraries, but I remember that the backup utility had options where you could assign which tape slot(s) would be for the cleaning tape(s). To currently it just looks as if all the slots have been assigned to be for cleaning tapes. So check your symantec stuff for such functions, and assign the correct slot for your cleaning tape, and the others for normal tapes.
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by:TapeDude
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++ for rindi's comments.

If you sort out the slots, that may fix the issue. But you should still install Symantec's drivers. Normally, there are two levels of drivers - drivers for the library, and drivers for the tape drives. You can initiate Symantec's driver install by running TAPEINST.EXE (instructions here)

http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=HOWTO73431
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by:SelfGovern
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LTO-6 drives *cannot* write to LTO-4 tapes.

If you have cleaning tape labels on the tapes, they'll be seen as cleaning tapes, even if they are 'normal' tapes.   What are a couple of the tape bar code labels (all characters, please) that you're having trouble with?

Have you done an inventory of the library, so that BE sees all the barcode labels?

This is unlikely to be a driver issue, but it won't do any harm to load Symantec drivers.

If you manually move a tape into a drive, does it perform a cleaning cycle?

After the above questions are answered, you might want load HP's free Library and Tape Tools and run the diagnostics.   http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/ltt/index.html
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jslaught earned 0 total points
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1. I explored installing the following driver (Drivers, Software and Firmware for HP StoreEver Ultrium 6250 Tape Drives) on the backup server (windows Server 2008 R2):

https://h20566.www2.hp.com/portal/site/hpsc/template.PAGE/public/psi/swdDetails/?spf_p.tpst=swdMain&spf_p.prp_swdMain=wsrp-navigationalState=idx=%7cswItem=MTX_04322e6817aa433887b790e7a8%7citemLocale=%7cmode=%7caction=driverDocument&javax.portlet.begCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken&javax.portlet.endCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken

2. Rebooted the backup server
3. Exported all the LTO4 tapes from the tape library except the 2 LTO6 tapes I already had in the tape library plus the 1 cleaning tape. I imported more LTO6 tapes before doing any backups
4. Did a tape library scan and then a Inventory
5. Symantec Backup Exec 2012 finally recognized the LTO6 tapes as "normal tapes" and they were in the scratch pool which is what we wanted.
6. Let Symantec Backup Exec run our 3 weekly scheduled backups over the weekend.
7. Checked backups this morning and all scheduled backups ran successfully.
8. Our new LTO6 MSL4048 tape library has a blank drive slot in the back of it for another tape drive if desired. Our plan on handling the excess of blank LTO4 tapes we have is to possibly install one of our LTO4 tape drives in that slot to utilize our LTO4 tapes. Hopefully that works.

Thanks to all of the expert comments!
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by:SelfGovern
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Glad you got it sorted out.

It may be a great idea to re-use your LTO-4 drive.  Depending on how you set up your backup jobs (how many use LTO-4 vs. LTO-6), you might be able to use hardware partitioning (which is built in to the MSL library and free) to create one partition (24 slots) for LTO-6 only, and one partition for LTO-4 only.  This will make it less likely to have an error where you try to put an LTO-6 tape into an LTO-4 drive, or try to use an LTO-6 drive to write to an LTO-4 tape (both will fail).  However -- partitioning divides the library as close to even by magazine, so if you need 36 LTO-6 slots and only 12 LTO-4, it won't help.

But -- you still should create tape "pools" in Backup Exec, where (at a minimum) all your LTO-4 tapes are in one pool, and all your LTO-6 tapes are in a second pool.  Then you tell jobs that need the LTO-6 tapes to draw from the LTO-6 pool.  This way, BE will know not to try to pull an LTO-4 tape for a job directed to write to an LTO-6 drive.

Or, you can (logically) relegate your LTO-4 drive to be the reader of all previously-written LTO-4 tapes, using it for restores only, but no new writes.

Side note: If you need to encrypt your data, be sure to take a look at the HP MSL Encryption Kit, an inexpensive and secure way to manage encryption keys for these libraries.
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by:jslaught
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@SelfGovern -- thanks for you response and ideas on the hardware partioning and tape pools. That will be my next challenge. As far as your side note, we were already using the HP MSL Encryption Kit for our older MSL 4048 Tape Library and LTO4 tape drives. Is it possible to use the MSL LTO4 Encryption Kit in our new MSL4048 Tape Library with the LTO6 drives? If not then we may have to purchase a new MSL LTO6 encryption kit.
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by:SelfGovern
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If you've decommisioned the other library, then you can certainly move the Encryption Kit over -- in fact, that's what I'd recommend, because then you'd have access to the encryption keys for the tapes that had been created in the other library.

Don't forget *critical* best practice to bring the second key server token in-house for long enough to update its (backup) keys *every time* you create a new key (you might have selected the option to create a new key every n weeks, or you might do it manually -- just back them up!)

It's also possible to export the key store to encrypted media that can be stored in a safe or offsite -- you know this is an important option, just in case both of the Encryption Kit key server tokens are destroyed or lost.
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Author Closing Comment

by:jslaught
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Trial and error troubleshooting plus taking some of the experts comments allowed me to find the  resolution to my problem.
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