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Dell LTO 3 external tape does not read media

Posted on 2014-09-07
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I configured a Dell LTO 3 external Powervault 110T on a workstation with Windows 2003r2 service pack2.  Also, configured is a SCSI Adaptec 29160.  The drivers are installed and can see the scsi and dell Ultrium in device manager.
I am using NT Backup to retrieve the media.  When restoring I can see the name of the tape but no media is present.  I select catalog and it starts to mount then it stops responding, saying tape is use.  Then the tape is ejected from the Dell powervault 110T.  I need to retrieve this media asap..  Thanks.
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Question by:high_sobo
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Author Comment

by:high_sobo
ID: 40309927
The exact error message is the library is unable to load media at this time because the drive is in use.  I uploaded two files with the errors.
ScreenShot2.rtf
ScreenShot1.rtf
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Expert Comment

by:SelfGovern
ID: 40309964
Can you upload a screenshot of how the library and drive show up in Device Manager?

I've seen something like this when Removable Storage Manager service 'grabs' a device and doesn't let the backup application access to it.  Check in Services and ensure that RSM is not running; stop it if you have to at least to see if that is the problem.

What application was used to write the tapes?
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Author Comment

by:high_sobo
ID: 40309993
Attached is the screenshot of how the library and drive show up in Device Manager.  NT backup was the application used to write the tapes.
ScreeShot-in-Device-Manager.rtf
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 40310021
Here is your user manual: ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_ser_stor_net/esuprt_powervault/powervault-110t-lto3_User%27s%20Guide_en-us.pdf

Do you have the drive terminated?
And, do you have another tape you can test the drive with?
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Author Comment

by:high_sobo
ID: 40310082
The drive is not terminated.  I tried another tape and still the same error message.
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 40310093
SCSI always needs a terminator!
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Author Comment

by:high_sobo
ID: 40310104
What's terminated is the used to end a SCSI bus on the back of the external dell powervault 110T.
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Author Comment

by:high_sobo
ID: 40310168
So yes it's terminated.
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 40310171
Huh?
So you do have a terminator plugged into the other connector on the back of the 110T?

If you do, you need to try a cleaning tape and hope it fixes the drive: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-1-2-3-4-UN353-01X024-1X024-LTO-Ultrium-Universal-Cleaning-Tape-Cartridge-/360759943074?pt=US_Computer_Tapes_Data_Cartridges&hash=item53fef7dfa2

The user manual I posted also lists the status indicators on the front of the drive and what they mean.
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Author Comment

by:high_sobo
ID: 40310237
Yes, I do have the terminator plugged into the other connector on the back of the 110T.  

I have tried cleaning the tap with the LTO-Ultrium Universal Cleaning Tape Cartridge and still can not retrieve the data.
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 40310294
1) Are the indicators on the drive reporting an error? (read the manual!)
2) What you need to do is to create a small backup on the spare tape and then restore it to a junk folder so we know the drive is working.
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Expert Comment

by:SelfGovern
ID: 40310352
Please use Device Manager (a few items up from the Storage Manager screen shot you posted), and give us a shot of that.   Please expand "medium changers" and "tape drives" if they are shown.

Which lights are on and/or blinking on the library?
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Author Comment

by:high_sobo
ID: 40310453
Attached is the screen shot of device manager with tape drive expanded.

The tape is inserted to the powervault 110T.  The only light appear are on the power button and the light next to the tape for ejection.  The lights are green.  The indicator light comes on when you power up the powervault 110T then the lights go off.
ScreenShot-Device-Manager2.rtf
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 40310554
From the users manual I posted:
Color or Condition of Status Light
Off The tape drive has no power or is powered off.
Green/Solid The tape drive is powered on and in an idle state.
Green/Flashing
One of the following applies:
l If the light flashes less than once per second, the tape drive is in sleep mode.
l If the light flashes less than once per second, the tape drive contains a cartridge during the power-on cycle. In this case, the
tape drive completes its Power-On Self-Test (POST) and slowly rewinds the tape (the process may take up to 10 minutes). The
light stops flashing and becomes solid when the tape drive completes the recovery and is ready for a read or write operation.
To eject the cartridge, press the eject button.
l If the light flashes once per second, the tape drive is reading from the tape, writing to the tape, rewinding the tape, or locating
data on the tape.
Amber/Solid
One of the following applies:
l The tape drive is performing a selected operation.
l The tape drive is displaying the drive error code log.
l The tape drive is in maintenance mode or is exiting maintenance mode.
Amber/Flashing
One of the following applies:
l If the light flashes less than once per second, the tape drive is updating firmware through the field microcode replacement
(FMR) tape, or the SCSI, Fibre Channel, or RS-422 interface, or the drive has exceeded the recommended temperature.
l If the light flashes less than once per second, the tape drive has detected an error and is performing a firmware recovery. It
resets automatically.
l If the light flashes less than once per second, the tape drive is requesting a cartridge be loaded, or there is a drive dump in
flash memory.
l If the light flashes once per second, an error occurred and the tape drive or media may require service. Note the code on the
single-character display, then go to "Descriptions and Corrective Actions" to determine the action that is required.
l If the light flashes once per second and a displays in the character display, the tape drive needs to be cleaned.

So, what is that light doing?
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Author Comment

by:high_sobo
ID: 40310575
There is no lights on the character display.
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 40310928
The status light is down by the eject button. (There's a picture of it in the manual (hint, hint))
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Author Comment

by:high_sobo
ID: 40312059
Like I mention before the there is nothing light up on the status.
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 40312111
Unless the unit is turned off, there is always something indicated by the status light which is down by the eject button, not on the numeric display.
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Author Comment

by:high_sobo
ID: 40320221
DavisMcCarn,

This thread pretty much sums up my problem:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Backup_Restore/Q_25641425.html

I backed up data on Server A using Tape Drive A - The tape drive is a Dell internal LTO 3.

Tape Drive A died.  So I purchased a refurbed Dell external LTO 3 with an Apdaptec 20160 SCSI adapter card, correct cable and terminator.  Used these components to build Server B using Tape Drive B.

Now my problem: When I insert the tape, it moved to NT Backup's pool and I see the name of the tape appear in NT Backup.  When I attempt to Catalog it so I can start a restore, drive ejects tape and asks for the same named tape to be loaded.

Further I have installed Backup Exec 12 & 2010 and attempted.  Received a block size error.  I adjusted Backup Exec's Tape Drive from 64k (default) to 32K, 16K & 8K - no luck same error.

SO I'm think at this point the tape may be corrupt - BUT - I've tried at least 15 other tapes - same results.

I tested the drive, I can create a backup and restore from it.  Also we have an older Dell server that is decommissioned that had an LTO 2 external drive running Windows 2000.  I hooked the tape drive up to this older server, installed the drive, and tried Cataloging ... same problem.  While hooked up to this older server, I tried some of my OLD LTO 2 tapes and believe it or not they work fine.

So not sure what is going one.  A Dell tech is coming in this weekend to see if he can fix / replace Tape Drive A.

I'm hoping the Tape Drive A will restore my tapes!

I will let you know how I make out.

Thank you
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Assisted Solution

by:SelfGovern
SelfGovern earned 250 total points
ID: 40320249
It's possible that the failed LTO-3 drive was drifting out of adjustment before it failed (or had a corner-case dirt problem) that allowed it to write tapes that are not now readable in an in-spec drive.  This is pretty rare, but I have seen what seem to be similar cases before.
Now, maybe the Dell tech comes in and works on it and all it was was a bad power supply... so much for my theory.   You do have a  puzzling case.  It does seem that a mis-match in block size is a possible cause, but it looks like you've tried the different possibilities.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Davis McCarn earned 250 total points
ID: 40320782
In that thread, the asker wound up sending the tape(s) to Ontrack who did manage to recover the data.  If the old drive had drifted before failing, that may well be the only option (yuck!).
Have you tried thoroughly cleaning the old drive and using it?
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Author Comment

by:high_sobo
ID: 40328751
DavisMcCarn & SelfGovern,
The Dell tech came in and was unsuccessful in his attempts to get me a working tape drive.  Ironically we were working with the software publisher on the project that I'm attempting to restore.  They have the data! At this point IF and only if I absolutely need any data back from tape I'll have to try a recovery place like Ontrack.  I would like to award you both some point for your time and trouble, so I am going to close this case.

Thank you both!
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 40328993
You're welcome!
Sorry it was a no go.
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