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How to Remove Phantom Tape from Library

Posted on 2015-02-17
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Last Modified: 2015-03-04
Hi All!

I am not having much luck finding a solution to this. I have Netbackup 7.5 running with an HP MSL6000 tape library. According to netbackup, the library has a tape in slot 20 that is not actually there. When I change the tapes out and inventory, it still shows up. I have rebooted the server and the library itself. No change.

I believe the problem is with netbackup, since the graphical indicator on the library does not show the tape. I even tried putting a real tape in the supposed phantom tape spot and netbackup showed the real tape in the next slot!

Finding the actual tape that corresponds to the phantom tape is not an option at the moment. So I am hoping there is a way to manually fix this without compromising my ability to recover data from that actual tape if I actually need it. Everything in the Natbackup documentation talks about phantom drives, not phantom tapes.

Thanks!
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Question by:Brian B
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:SelfGovern
ID: 40616312
I'm wondering if you can delete the library from Netbackup and then re-discover it.  In backup applications I'm more familiar with, this would be a painless process; I'm not sure about NB, though.

I'd also look to see if there is a command (probably command line) to check the integrity of Netbackup's databases.  Perhaps some corruption has snuck in, and that is preventing the proper inventory status.  This may be a blessing in disguise, if so; if there's corruption causing this error, there may be other errors which have not yet manifested themselves... and you have the opportunity to catch them before they lead to a failed restore or other problems.

Good luck!
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Author Comment

by:Brian B
ID: 40616868
That's a good suggestion. For the reference of anyone else reading this, specific instructions on how to check DB consistency is here: http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH126758

However the database reported as "alive and well". Hopefully some others might have suggestions.
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Assisted Solution

by:SelfGovern
SelfGovern earned 250 total points
ID: 40617371
Did you delete and re-discover the library in Netbackup?

Does NB show the correct number of slots in the library?

Can you move the tape with NB?   What happens when you try?

Can you manually move it to a new location ("Vault 1", or something like that, outside the library)?

I'm not even going to suggest you gen up a new tape with the offending tape's barcode, as that might cause a bit more database corruption than you have now (which is none; any more than that would not be a good thing).
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Assisted Solution

by:Gerald Connolly
Gerald Connolly earned 250 total points
ID: 40617732
Have you checked to see what the library and NB both think they know about cleaning tapes, aka reserved slots

If NB reports a cart in slot 20 as being somewhere else implies some kind of mismatch between the library and NB! Is the library firmware up to date, is NB up to date?

Is the library configured correctly?
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Author Comment

by:Brian B
ID: 40619480
Good idea about moving it. I never thought of that. The move appear to work until I asked Netbackup for an inventory of the robot. Then it still said slot 21 (This is a 24-slot tape library).

It has been working fine for years, so I don't think anything to do with configuration would be a problem.

I moved the tape to "standalone". That took it out of the view. If ran an inventory preview and it is trying to put the tape back in slot 21. So I cancelled that. At least the software doesn't think there is anything there at the moment. So less risk of causing a backup error from the software looking for something that isn't there.

Next week when I am back at that site, I am going to try and put that physical tape in and see if that works.
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Expert Comment

by:SelfGovern
ID: 40619710
For what it's worth, if you have a 24-slot HP library, you probably have the MSL 2024 with LTO tape drives (this is a 2U, or about 3.5", high library).
Or if you (like Netbackup) have miscounted and it's a 26-slot library, it's probably an MSL 5026 with SDLT tape drives.  This is a 5U, approx. 8", high library.

Now, it's possible that Netbackup thinks it's one, when it's really the other, and this  confusion might be the root cause of your problem.   Please, when you can, take a moment to verify exactly which library it is, and which library Netbackup thinks it is.  Perhaps even have someone on-site take a photo of the unit and send it to you to compare with what Netbackup's GUI shows it's connecting to.

One other suggestion, just in case it's a library error (some weird kind of bad code internally, or error that's causing it to mis-report what it is/has/etc., you might consider downloading HP's free Library and Tape Tools, and running its library diagnostics.  Download link is here, in the upperish-right area of the screen.

Another debugging step that might or might do anything is to put a different, barcode labelled tape in this slot 21, and then have Netbackup try to do a restore off of it (restore a file it thinks is on the tape to a new location, you don't want to overwrite anything you might actually want).   Then see what happens.  Note: If sparks shoot out of either the Netbackup server or the tape library, please turn them off as soon as you notice.

So my suggestions for actions are:
1) Verify which model library you have, and that Netbackup sees it as what it is, and that the library and Netbackup agree on how many slots are physically present.
2) Download and run HP's free LIbrary and Tape Tools (link above) and run the library diagnostics.  If it calls for a tape, make sure it's a scratch tape and safe to destructively overwrite (destructive to data, not to the tape cartridge itself).
3) Even if Netbackup sees the library correctly, if the problem persists after 1) and 2) (and they don't suggest any problems or solutions), then delete the library from Netbackup and then (preferably after stopping and restarting all Netbackup services) add it back in through autodiscovery if possible, making sure that the library is correctly identified (model, geometry, tape drive configuration, etc.).
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Author Comment

by:Brian B
ID: 40625722
Thanks for the further info.
1. It is definitely an MSL6000 with two LTO4 drives.

2. I just doubt the library itself is the problem since the tape library display indicates correctly that there is no tape in that slot.

As for the rest of the steps, I will try when I am onsite in case something goes wrong.
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Author Comment

by:Brian B
ID: 40630942
Update: I removed and re-added the library. Didn't realize I also had to readd the tape drives until a backup job failed with status code 2001.

Anyway, there is still no difference. The weird part about this is that I intended to find the physical tape that is showing as a ghost and put that in. Problem is I can't find that tape. Every other tape in the set is there. It is really becoming a ghost....

I removed the actual cartridge that contained the ghost tape. Ran a new inventory and the ghost is gone. It is back in the correct place in the volume group with the other members of the tape set.

So that is the workaround for now. Still doesn't solve the problem.
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Expert Comment

by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 40636930
So you took the tape out and the ghost has gone?

Have you now put it back? In the same slot or a different one?

If you put a different tape in that slot does it appear in the wrong slot, or is the ghost just related to one cartridge
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Author Comment

by:Brian B
ID: 40639526
Hi Gerald,

I took out the tape _cartridge_. In other words the thing that holds 15 tapes. Then the phantom tape went away. If I put the cartridge back in, the phantom tape comes back.

As I said earlier, if I put a tape in slot 20 where the ghost is located, the physical tape shows up as slot 21 in Netbackup.
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Expert Comment

by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 40640581
Brian, you mean the magazine.

So if it's got 15 slots, it sounds like you have a MSL6030, it really sounds like either a firmware issue, or a magazine registration issue
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Accepted Solution

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Brian B earned 0 total points
ID: 40644968
Well here is something interesting... With a flashlight I looked into the back of the library. With the magazines removed and the picker out of the way, there was the missing tape in the drive!

But how to get it out of there when the software and control panel are both reporting there is no tape? Somebody else who is familiar with this unit looked at the display and said certain choices were missing from the menu screen. So we disconnected everything including the power and let it sit to reset itself. Hooked it all back up and the proper menus appeared. Thus giving me the ability to move the tape to the mail slot!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Brian B
ID: 40644976
Thanks for the tips. All of these steps most likely helped to solve the problem.
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Expert Comment

by:SelfGovern
ID: 40645082
That the tape was in the drive is interesting.   Thank you for posting that information.
You probably could have removed the cartridge from the drive with the Library and Tape Tools features -- sometimes there are good reasons to not power down a library (such as ongoing backup jobs).
There are also manual unload procedures -- but glad you've solved it.

I would verify that the firmware is up-to-date (either through the GUI or Library and Tape Tools).  And do make sure that Netbackup sees it as a 30-slot library.
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