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Old 04-16-2020, 04:38 PM   #1
TechGeek
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Exclamation Are My Tapes Ruined?

Hello all, I have an HP Ultrium 448 LTO2 tape drive.

I inserted a brand new tape and started a Drive Self-Assessment test using the HPE Library and Tape Tools.

It got to 'Erasing...', then spat the tape out with a tape error. Trying to reload the same tape results in the drive immediately spitting it out again without trying to unspool it onto the takeup reel.

I tried this again with a 2nd tape, now it doesn't work. The drive refuses to accept only these 2 tapes, all other tapes load fine.

A) Are my tapes ruined?
B) If not, how can I fix them?
C) If they are ruined, what caused it?

Those of you coming to comment how I shouldn't use a tape format from 2003, go away. I've already got everything together, I don't need you throwing your $0.02 in here.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-16-2020, 05:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

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Originally Posted by TechGeek View Post
Trying to reload the same tape results in the drive immediately spitting it out again
Reminds me of an old skool Mac, LOL!

The pre-OSX 1990s Macs will spit the floppy disk out.
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Old 04-16-2020, 06:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

Is this the first time you've used the tape drive ?
Have you run the Drive Self-Assessment test with a tape that does load ?
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Old 04-16-2020, 06:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

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Is this the first time you've used the tape drive ?
Have you run the Drive Self-Assessment test with a tape that does load ?
Trying to run the Drive Self-Assessment Test requires that a tape be loaded.
What happens is that when the test is executed with a working tape loaded up, it tries to erase the tape and immediately spits the tape out while trying to erase.

Trying to load the tape into any other drive results in the drive spitting the tape out with a tape error.
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Old 04-16-2020, 07:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

The log file will tell you. I can have a look at it for you if you like.
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Old 04-16-2020, 08:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

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The log file will tell you. I can have a look at it for you if you like.
https://pastebin.com/7t1UTx11
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Old 04-17-2020, 03:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

It looks like a HBA issue, do you have the latest drivers and firmware ?
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Old 04-17-2020, 06:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

Whatever Linux 4.15.0-96-generic ships with for the LSI LSI22320SLE.

All other tapes load fine and the drive seems to be healthy (copied a file to tape and read it back, compared original and copy, both are identical byte-for-byte)
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Old 04-17-2020, 05:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

BTW, is the Write protect set to on on the cartridge?
http://manuals.ts.fujitsu.com/file/8...scsi-ba-en.pdf
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Old 04-18-2020, 12:14 AM   #10
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

You may simply have damaged media. I abandoned high density tape because it was too easy for the cartridges to "stop working" -- despite, what I thought, was very gentle handling of them (by me).
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Old 04-18-2020, 06:51 PM   #11
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

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You may simply have damaged media. I abandoned high density tape because it was too easy for the cartridges to "stop working" -- despite, what I thought, was very gentle handling of them (by me).
That reminds me of some floppy disks, they go bad out-of-the-blue, IIRC!

More likely with early-2000s' floppy disks and more likely with ones manufactured very close to 2000. (The 3 1/2 inch'ers of course)
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Old 04-19-2020, 10:26 AM   #12
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

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Originally Posted by Curious.George View Post
You may simply have damaged media. I abandoned high density tape because it was too easy for the cartridges to "stop working" -- despite, what I thought, was very gentle handling of them (by me).
Working fine before I ran the assessment test. Dead afterwards. All other tapes work fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by budm View Post
BTW, is the Write protect set to on on the cartridge?
http://manuals.ts.fujitsu.com/file/8...scsi-ba-en.pdf
WP is off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJARRRPCGP View Post
That reminds me of some floppy disks, they go bad out-of-the-blue, IIRC!

More likely with early-2000s' floppy disks and more likely with ones manufactured very close to 2000. (The 3 1/2 inch'ers of course)
Interesting. Maybe tapes that don't like being erased by this drive?
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Old 04-20-2020, 06:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

These tape drives are finiky. Are you using this in linux or windows? I don't remember the commands offhand, I'll have to go to my business to look them up for you, but each tape would give me grief before I ran a certain set of commands.

If you like tapes, you can pick up tape libraries pretty cheap. If you have access to HP firmware, you can update them to more recent drives too. I think I'm running lto4, but I might be on lto2, I can't remember. Either way, I only have half my library filled and it's more than enough for me.
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Old 04-20-2020, 08:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

Linux. Can't get ahold of any firmware.
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Old 04-22-2020, 11:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

Yeah, you need the command. I'll get it for you when I'm at my shop again. Took me forever to figure it out, and haven't used it since I loaded the library. Pretty sure I made myself a short cheat sheet because I do it so infrequently.
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Old 04-23-2020, 08:41 AM   #16
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

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Yeah, you need the command. I'll get it for you when I'm at my shop again. Took me forever to figure it out, and haven't used it since I loaded the library. Pretty sure I made myself a short cheat sheet because I do it so infrequently.
Thanks.
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Old 04-29-2020, 08:53 AM   #17
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

I'm using bacula, but I believe mt is part of a system package, "st-mt". Check "how-to-delete-tapes" for the steps to delete a tape using mt. I have also attached my notes for using bacula. Some of the commands don't apply to you, because I have a tape library. Overall, bacula is some work to install, not really bad though, and once it's set up, it just works. I haven't had to change anything for years. My notes apply to version 9.0.8 of bacula, though they tend not to change the commands much between versions.
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File Type: txt how-to-delete-all-tapes.txt (1,018 Bytes, 4 views)
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Old 04-29-2020, 04:59 PM   #18
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

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I'm using bacula, but I believe mt is part of a system package, "st-mt".
Historically, mt(9) was a utility for manipulating tape transports. Back-in-the-day, a FORMATTER would typically support four TRANSPORTS. A CONTROLLER might support two FORMATTERS. Transport was motors and read/write/erase heads. Formatter would handle the actual data and tape protocols (e.g., IRGs, file marks). Controller would be the interface to the hosting computer.

With mt(9), you could rewind, space forward, space back, write file marks, etc. using command line arguments to mt. This was necessary because tapes (SASDs) are different beasts than disks and require other maintenance/usage actions in order to be used properly.

Quote:
Overall, bacula is some work to install, not really bad though, and once it's set up, it just works. I haven't had to change anything for years. My notes apply to version 9.0.8 of bacula, though they tend not to change the commands much between versions.
That's encouraging (though I no longer run tape). I had used some early releases of bacula and spent a lot of time chasing down and fixing bugs.

[I also recall AMANDA (?) being similarly buggy. As a result, most of my tape usage was behind mt and cpio/tar.]
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Old 04-29-2020, 09:02 PM   #19
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Default Re: Are My Tapes Ruined?

Bacula has definitely matured then. It's simple and solid, though can be very complex if you want. The hardest part for me was getting it to work with the tape library, but that's mostly because the whole tape library, and how it worked was new to me. Once I bought some labels, printed some barcodes, everything went much smoother. The tape library does NOT like tapes without barcodes.
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Old 04-30-2020, 02:07 PM   #20
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Bacula has definitely matured then. It's simple and solid, though can be very complex if you want. The hardest part for me was getting it to work with the tape library, but that's mostly because the whole tape library, and how it worked was new to me. Once I bought some labels, printed some barcodes, everything went much smoother. The tape library does NOT like tapes without barcodes.
I never used tape for unattended backup. Instead, I'd image some particular volume onto a preselected tape. So, the library was just a way to make picking that tape, easier. (use the front panel to load the tape)

Because I had so many images to track, the changer itself wasn't big enough to hold all of the tapes -- so, I'd have to empty it to install a new set of tapes.

I didn't see this as an inconvenience as I'd originally started my career with 9-track tape -- which is a royal PITA to use, store and maintain (you have to periodically "retension" the tapes to avoid print-through).

What soured me towards tape was just the hassle of RELIABLY recovering data from them. It seemed like there was always something that got in the way of quickly and reliably retrieving the objects that I wanted.

I rescued several (old) SCSI (50pin) disk shelfs at one point -- 7 drives to a shelf. The drives were packaged in these neat little plastic boxes -- like "modules". So, I discarded all but two of the shelf backplanes (always keep a spare!) and piled the drive "modules" on the closet shelf with a label on the front explaining what each contained.

Instead of putting tape cartridges into a transport -- and dicking with it -- I'd just slap one or more "disk modules" into a shelf, tethered to any machine with a SCSI HBA. As my storage needs increased, I replaced the drives with larger capacity drives (I had a fixed number of the plastic "modules").

This idea has persisted -- though I now use SATA/SAS drives with "sleds" as they take much less space than those old plastic "modules" (e.g., I can get 15 sleds on a shelf instead of the 7, originally). And, much higher capacity drives (TB+ instead of 4/9/18/36GB SCSI)

Perversely, I've now been KEEPING the shelfs as a convenient place to store the drive sleds -- with the drives mounted, of course! So, I can now access ~105 drives simultaneously (though the noise is deafening!). Stacking drives-in-sleds in the closet always had me leary that the pile would spill onto the floor in an OhNoSecond...

And, instead of trying to partition files into related groups (music on this disk, datasheets on that disk, clipart on another, etc.), I just store things wherever it is convenient and maintain a database of what's where -- similar to the file catalog you'd associate with each tape backup.

The only downside is that I use UFS/FFS for my disk format -- which makes it incompatible with Windows (so, I have to access the drives from a UN*X box). [Windows has problems with case sensitivity so ReadMe and README can't coexist within Windows Explorer] But, I found a tool that lets me access them from under windows but I'm not sure I trust it to UPDATE their contents (read-only is easier to verify correctness).
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